Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular tools for creating presentations. However, creating an effective PowerPoint presentation can be daunting, especially if you are new to the software. In this tutorial, we will explore some tips and tricks to help you create engaging and impactful presentations in PowerPoint.
PowerPoint Presentation Tips
Microsoft PowerPoint has plenty of features to help users create effective presentations. Here are some tips to help you leverage the software’s power to best convey your message to your audience, including:
- Using simple fonts
- Using the right font size
- Using high quality Images
- Choosing great visuals over text
- Simple table designs
- Choose colors wisely
- Avoid complex transitions
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Keep PowerPoint Presentations Concise
Could PowerPoint present all of your information for you? Sure, but instead of letting PowerPoint do all the work, you should view it as a tool to help supplement your story.
When creating PowerPoint slides, the less text, the better, and white space is your friend. Too much text on a slide makes your audience read versus listen. It distracts attention away from you, the speaker. And worst of all, excess slide text makes your presentation dull.
A great way to infuse sufficient text into your slides without overwhelming your audience’s eyes is to use short bullet points that summarize what you are about to say. This makes the information easier to digest and keeps the focus where it belongs: On you. Some go even further and suggest that you should avoid complete sentences altogether unless you are quoting someone.
If you want something more specific to follow when determining how much content to put on each slide, follow the 6×6 rule. It limits you to six bullet points per slide with six words per bullet. On the more extreme end, some say you should limit the content to six words per slide, although that may be difficult to achieve.
In short, do not let your slides dominate the presentation. And avoid the common mistake of simply re-reading your slides as well. They should serve as your guide and not as a script or teleprompter.
Keep It Consistent
Rather than trying to incorporate every color, font, chart, etc., available in PowerPoint into your presentation, aim for consistency. All your slides should have a similar look and feel that creates cohesion and an air of professionalism throughout your presentation. Doing so reflects well on you as the presenter and makes it easier for your audience to follow and absorb your content.
Choose A Simple Font
Avoid the temptation of picking a creative font to spruce up your slides. If your computer does not have the creative font you desire installed, it will replace it with a random one. A classic font, such as Calibri, Helvetica, or Verdana is a much better choice since it is likely available on all devices. More importantly, some fancier fonts are hard to read and could frustrate your audience as they try to decipher what is on-screen.
Do you have to stick with only one font in your PowerPoint presentation? No, but any more than three could be pushing it. And, if you choose the three-font max, for example, ensure that each font plays a particular role in your presentation. Use the first font for your headers, the second for your sub-headers, and the third for your body text to keep it cohesive, organized, and easy to follow and digest.
Another point to remember when dealing with font style is to not over-style the text. While using italics and bold can help you emphasize certain parts of your presentation, overdoing it can be distracting.
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Pick A Proper Font Size
Your font style is not the only thing that matters, as you also need to pick the proper size to get your point across. You do not want a font that is too big and dominates your slides. You also do not want a font that is too small to read. Some suggest using a minimum of 20pt font for headers and 18pt for body text. Others say a 30pt font should be the minimum, as it allows everyone to see it and limits you to how much text you put on a slide, forcing you to craft more concise and impactful messages.
A good rule to follow when picking font size or designing slides overall is to create your presentations for the back of the room. In other words, can the person sitting in the last row see everything fine? If not, adjust until they can.
Use High-Quality Images
You may have superb and informative text on your slides, but if your images do not match in terms of quality, you may lose points with your audience. Instead of choosing the first result you see on Google Images, make sure your pictures match the text and the message you are trying to convey. The higher-quality images you use, the better.
Beyond ensuring your images are of high quality, here are some other characteristics they should have to strengthen your PowerPoint presentation visually, including being supportive of content, inspiring readers to read more, and being more “human” relatable:
- Supportive: The images should support your content and prove your point further without being so overbearing that they distract the audience.
- Inspirational: Your presentation’s images should inspire the audience to want to learn more or ask questions about what you are presenting. Inspiring engagement is the goal here.
- Realistic and human: You can win over your audience by connecting with them on a human level. Pick images for your .ppt presentation that convey realism and feelings of humanity to achieve this goal. Your basic stock photos will typically fail to connect with your viewers, so picking the right images may take some time and a bit of effort until you find the right fit.
Opt For Visuals Versus Text in Your Presentations
Using visuals to convey your message is an easy way to avoid putting too much text on your slides and overwhelming your audience. PowerPoint has many graphs that can convert complex, sometimes dull data into eye-catching and easy-to-digest information. Another reason to use visuals is that studies show people tend to remember pictures better than words after brief exposure.
“Less Is More” When Designing Tables in PowerPoint
Tables can help you relay data in an organized manner. Unfortunately, many make the common mistake of crowding their tables in PowerPoint with unnecessary borders, colors, and outlines. Keep your tables minimalist, and they will relay your desired information without confusing your audience.
Avoid Complex Transitions Between PowerPoint Slides
Does it seem like your PowerPoint presentation is dull? Avoid the temptation of adding life to it by using diverse transitions as you go from slide to slide. A standard fade effect is all you need for an effective PowerPoint presentation. Anything more than that, and you could distract your audience or come across as unprofessional. As with other elements of your PowerPoint presentation, aim for cohesion and uniformity with your transitions. Once you find one that works, stick with it.
Do Not Overdo PowerPoint Slides With Colors
If you are doing a presentation for a particular brand, use its primary and secondary colors. If the color choice is entirely up to you, avoid extremely bright colors that can cause fatigue or seem tacky.
You can stick to a simple combination of light and dark colors, using light text on a dark background or vice versa to create a contrast that makes for easy reading.