Tips For PowerPoint Presentations
PowerPoints have cemented themselves as one of the best ways to convey a presentation’s information, but making them effective isn’t always as easy as it may seem. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when creating a PowerPoint presentation and that can make it harder for your audience to absorb what you’re telling them. That’s why we’ve put together these five tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your PowerPoint.
1. Only Write Out Your Key Points
When designing your slides, it can be really easy to overload them with every point you’re going to make. Too many words on a slide can distract your audience from the rest of your presentation, and shrinking the text to have it all fit can make them difficult to read from further away.
Instead, only write out the major points that you want people to walk away with. This makes your slides fast and easy to read, allowing your audience to read them quickly and focus their attention back on you and your presentation.
2. Consolidate Slides When Possible
You only have so much time for your presentation, so you don’t want to spend too much of it clicking through a sea of slides. Keeping it to only one or two slides per topic is a good general rule unless a particular topic takes up a large portion of your presentation or requires a lot of graphics. If a particular topic only ends up having one key point to write out, then it’s worth seeing if it can be consolidated into one of the slides either before it or after it.
3. Only Use Graphics When Necessary
In the same vein of keeping your slides simple, using too many graphics and pictures can have the same effect as too much text. Charts and graphs can be a helpful visualization, especially when you’re dealing with a lot of numerical data, but too many of them on a slide can be distracting and make any accompanying text on the slide difficult to read.
If a section of your presentation is heavily dependent on data, figures, or overall trends, it can be helpful to have a slide that consists only of the relevant charts, graphs, or plots. Just be mindful that some graphics may need a bit of text to help put them in context with the rest of your presentation, so making sure that the accompanying text isn’t overshadowed by the graphic will be important.
4. Keep Colors Readable
Having a PowerPoint that’s just a white background with black text can make your presentation look incomplete, so having a background and/or text color can help it look more polished. The key aspect for color in PowerPoints is to make sure that the slides’ text is still legible no matter what. Background and text colors should be different enough that they don’t blend together, but not so different that they end up clashing. Brighter colored text can become difficult to read very easily, so an easy rule of thumb is to go with a lighter background that black or dark grey text shows up well on.
5. Use Animations Only When Appropriate
Animations and slide transitions are a great way to liven up a PowerPoint presentation, but if they clash with the overall tone or subject matter of your presentation or event, they can come across as jarring or unprofessional. Knowing your audience is important for knowing when this is appropriate; a star wipe would be a fun addition to the company holiday party slideshow but too casual for an annual shareholder meeting.
If the time and place are appropriate for animations and transitions, then the key is making them clean and not have them overstay their welcome. Having a particular image fly in from one side of the screen is fun and dynamic, but if it comes in too slow you’re losing time from the presentation to spend waiting for an animation to finish. Likewise, if everything on the slide is animated, text, graphics, headers, etc., then they lose a lot of their punch and can become too much in a hurry.
So there you have it, five tips to help make the most out of your PowerPoint presentation. Of course you should always be sure to tailor your presentation to the event you’re presenting at, but these tips are a good rule of thumb that are applicable for nearly every situation.