How to Create Better PowerPoint Presentations
Despite all of the incredible new technologies that are available for businesses, PowerPoint is still the industry standard when it comes to making a point. Knowledge of the ins and outs of the PowerPoint system will never become irrelevant; your next move should be directed toward making your presentation better. Here are a few tips that everyone can take home regardless of the audience to which you present.
Keep your slides simple
You can make a PowerPoint presentation as long as you want (but as a general rule, try to keep it brief), so spread the love among your slides! There is no need to overload a single slide with so much information that you find yourself scrolling. Depending on the projection medium, an overloaded slide can be awkward and visually unappealing. Keep the bullet points to a minimum, and try not to make your viewer scroll.
Some of the best marketers and corporate salespeople in the world, including Microsoft employees, have tried to implement a six-word-per-slide rule. This may be a bit of overkill, but you get the point.
There is a reason they call them “talking points”
You can keep your slides brief if you remember that YOU are the real presentation, not your slides. The information on the slides should accentuate what you are saying. Details should come out of your mouth, not off of the slides.
At the same time, you must be sure that the information on the slides can stand alone if you are not around for the presentation. Many interested parties will request a copy of the presentation after the meeting, so make sure that slides contain the main components of your information.
Invest in professional images
Do not use low-quality images that you find for free on the Internet. Invest in a Shutterstock account or other service that offers high-resolution pictures intended specifically for business presentations.
For the most part, your use of imagery should be kept to a minimum. The fewer images you use, the more effective your presentation will be when you do include them.
Stay away from cheesy transitions
Most of PowerPoint’s features have remained up to date save one: The built in transitions are so ubiquitous as to be completely taboo.
Make your font size large
If you make your font size at least 30 point, you will need fewer words in your PowerPoint presentation. If you use fewer words, you can focus your ideas more expediently. If your ideas are more focused, you will be able to sell your point more successfully. You will find it easier to make an efficient sales pitch if you keep your font around 30 point.
Make judicious use of add-ins
Perhaps the most important update in PowerPoint is the inclusion of add-ins. One particularly useful add-in is ShapeChef, which allows you to organize often-used PowerPoint assets (shapes, graphics, charts, etc.) into categories for easy reuse. Keeping your assets organized and searchable can save you a lot of time.
ShapeChef can also help you acquire graphics for a presentation. From within the tool, you can download high-quality shape collections such as computer network icons (see screenshot above), hand-drawn arrows, and stick-figure graphics.
Emphasize information judiciously
Do not use bold fonts, italicize everything, or include pictures for minor details. Only the most important points should be highlighted; everything else can fade into the background. If you follow the tips above, nothing will be lost in the shuffle. Trust me.
Baco Villa is a web developer and IT manager working for a large Spanish cable TV company. He holds two master’s of science degrees in computer science and engineering, and has more than ten years of experience in developing software and web applications.