PowerPoint is one of the most powerful tools you can use today. It is more than a slide or presentation software. Microsoft has stated that there are billions of installations. Even now, millions are using it to explain a variety of things in classrooms and business centers. If you have used it, or perhaps aren’t getting the response you want from them, you’ll want to look the following tips.
Create An Outline First
Animators know this all too well. They create story boards, or serial comics that detail the stories that they are creating. To ensure that your work gets better overall, you will want to create an outline first. Create an outline of the information that you want to share, and then use drawings and indicators to where you want to place slides. Creating an outline, or a script will help you become a better presenter.
Don’t Make Slides Too Full
Your slides should not be fully packed. Do not pack too much information, images, videos, or animations into 1 slide. If you have a lot of information to share or present, make sure that you do not pack it into a single slide. It’s better to have more slides overall than to try and shove too much information into single areas. If you must, plan on speaking more and using PowerPoint to showcase themes, rather than literal information that you’re trying to share.
Avoid Large Blocks of Text
People throw in too much text in presentations. It’s the problem that has been addressed by many professionals, and even Microsoft has commented on it. While you can add information to slides, do not use large paragraphs. People that are looking at your presentation should not have to read a book or a large amount of writing. Your audience will grow bored fast, especially if you are reading the text out loud as part of your presentation. Avoid large blocks of text, simple as that.
Choose Your Font Carefully
Do not utilize decorative fonts, or overthink the way that you place text. While you don’t want to use large blocks of writing, you also don’t want to use font styles that are hard to read. It’s beast to use simplified, traditional text. Do not use comic sans, and don’t use papyrus. Instead, look at some of the classic solutions such as Arial, or Helvetica, which are easy to read on small screens as well as larger screens.
Use Lighter Backgrounds
If you want to appear more professional, stay away from using dark backgrounds and light text. Instead, choose the inverse. Use lighter backgrounds and darker text. Now, if you are working on a template that is used by the business you’re at, then you can always change things slightly, including the text. Make sure that your text is readable, using lighter backgrounds with dark font text will work well. Always think of the audience in the back of the room, as they may not see your text if it’s too small or uses the wrong colors.
Never Center Align
As you’re building your presentation, you will be tempted to center align text. Do not go this route. In graphic design school there is an adage that states, “center alignment is best for tombstones”. While that may not be 100% true in every case, center alignment is harder to read for people than the standards of left and right alignment. Keep things flush left, and you’ll find that it’s easier to manage layouts, and easy to follow.
Choose Your Images Wisely
Do not use too many images, and don’t use images more than words. There has to be a balance to your graphics and images. If you overuse images or artwork, you will be missing the point of presentations in PowerPoint. You want to have bullet points, some text, and an image to anchor things. Too many images, and not enough text is a bad thing, but also too much text is bad. Balance is key, and choosing the right images is also important.
Avoid Jokes or Silly Animations
There are animation elements, transitional settings, audio cues and much more. Don’t use them in professional settings. If you’re going to make a mistake, go with something a bit more serious than silly. Unless your audience is in grade school, you want to avoid joking or being silly with how you present your media. The audience that you have is going to dictate how you present your information, so keep that in mind.
Do It Again (Make Two Presentations)
One of the best things that you can do to make your PowerPoint presentations stand out is to do them twice. Build your presentation once, and then do it again in a completely different manner. Once you have two of them done with similar information, test them both out separately. That will help you understand which is best. By working on this twice, you will see where you’ve made a mistake, and what works well.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to practice. Make presentations for mundane things, and try to work on your speeches. The more you work with PowerPoint the better you’ll get with it. There’s a lot of tutorials, and information online to help you with this, so don’t just rest on your basic styles and information. There’s a lot to explore, and if you put in a little extra effort, you’ll master it for just about any presentation you may need to create.