Did you know that more than 250 million computers worldwide contain the PowerPoint program? Despite the wide prevalence of this software, however, many of us have little knowledge when it comes to PowerPoint tips for successful presentations.
Have you ever created a presentation with too much text? Or too many animations? Have you used PowerPoint slides as your presentation notes rather than a visual aid to enhance your audience’s experience?
Let’s face it. We’ve all been guilty of these errors at some point in our educational or work careers, and it isn’t even our fault!
We’ve never received the clear guidance needed to do better. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Here are nine PowerPoint tips and tricks that’ll take your presentations from pathetic to powerful in no time.
- Follow the 5/5/5 Rule
Have you ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation that felt overwhelming? Perhaps there was so much information cluttered on each slide that you didn’t know where to start? Instead of cramming tons of information on each slide, follow the 5/5/5 Rule.
What’s the 5/5/5 Rule? No more than five text-heavy slides consecutively, five lines of text per slide, and five words per line. By following this simple rule, you won’t deluge your audience in unnecessary text.
- Don’t Read From Slides
This mistake is one of our biggest pet peeves! Do not place the text of your speech in PowerPoint slides and then read directly from it.
Why? Because there’s no faster way to make your audience zone out. It can also make listeners feel as though you’re pandering to them. After all, they can read for themselves.
Instead of typing out your entire presentation in PowerPoint, reserve this tech supplement for visuals, main ideas, and keywords. In other words, include only the text which you wish to showcase. Reserve slides for talking points, remembering that less is more.
Many presenters use PowerPoint as a crutch when they feel uncomfortable about public presentations, but don’t give into this temptation. Instead, engage your audience through your words and delivery.
- Select Colors Carefully
Make sure that the font, colors, and sizes that you choose are easy to read. They should also look pleasant to the eye. Keep it simple with large fonts and theme colors that facilitate reading. We don’t need any fancy special effects here, but we do need legibility.
Remember to keep text large so that people in the back of the room can read it. Also, consider whether you’ll present with the lights on or off, which could impact your choice of color and font.
When in doubt, follow this basic rule of thumb. Dark text on a light background always works from a visibility standpoint.
- Don’t Neglect Your Audience
Know your audience, and create PowerPoint slides catering to them. For example, don’t include silly animations more appropriate for a high school classroom when you’re engaging with a room full of seasoned business professionals.
While humor can lighten up a presentation, be careful how you use it. Avoid offensive or rude jokes or images. Customize each presentation to your audience, their expectations, and their taste.
- Watch Out for Those Animations
Have you ever sat through a presentation inundated by animations? If so, you know what we’re talking about. Paragraphs and bullet points disappearing and reappearing, lines of text and even paragraphs skittering across the slide, bouncing sentences and quotes.
Too many animations can turn into a mess very quickly. They can cheapen the quality of your presentation and even frustrate your audience. If your audience wants the text to hold still so they can read it, you’ve got too many animations.
- Where Animations Make Sense
Sure, animations can look nifty. But use them sparingly to drive home points and punctuate ideas. Now, this tip doesn’t mean you should avoid them altogether, but you need to use care with how and when you include them.
What are some animations we recommend? Having bullet points appear as you address each of these ideas. It will keep your audience engaged and listening.
But you don’t need words shooting around each slide in a haphazard way. Not only does this look kitschy, but it’s hard to read.
- Think Visual
We’ve talked about where and when text proves appropriate. We’ve also talked about how much to include. But truth be told, PowerPoint is ultimately a visual medium.
Think about it this way. The text of your presentation represents the pages of a book that you’re conveying to your audience. The visual images on your slides are the illustrations of that book.
Quit using slides as a crutch to help you remember elements of your speech. That’s what notes are for. Instead, create highly visual slides that enhance the listener’s experience and illustrate your points through graphical images.
And to make your life easier as you sort through images to use? Here’s how to copy text from image for streamlined slide creation.
- “Brand” Those Slides
Branding remains vital to everything that companies do, and this proves no less true when it comes to PowerPoint presentations. When audiences see your presentations, they should immediately understand which brand they belong to.
How do you infuse your slides with branding? By using your brand’s font, unique style, and colors. Make sure your slides always reflect your brand’s personality.
- Craft a Quality Layout
Now that you understand the rules for creating powerful PowerPoints, make your life easier by designing a high-quality layout that you can duplicate. This layout represents your signature style and will make your presentations recognizable to others.
That means designing a layout that incorporates the 5/5/5 Rule, your company’s branding, and fonts and colors that are readable. Use transitions and animations sparingly, and create a feel that’s unique to your brand.
The nine PowerPoint tips above may look simple, but that doesn’t make their impact any less potent. Start using them today to create superior presentations. Before you know it, you’ll have a signature style that’s easy to replicate but always makes you look like a pro.
Are you interested in more ways to promote your brand? Browse our blog now for interactive ways to grab the attention of your colleagues and customers.