Love it or hate it, as professional communicators, many of us regularly use PowerPoint as a resource and presentation tool in the workplace. PowerPoint is a great program, not only for presenters to assist in recalling major talking points, but for audiences as well. The addition of visuals to support listening is an unbeatable combination for creating an impactful and memorable presentation. A great amount of research supports this tactic as visual cues are found to help audiences retrieve and remember content. In fact, 90% of information communicated to the brain is visual (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco). The power of PowerPoint is undeniable and to help you better engage with your audiences we compiled a few best-in-class pointers and tips:
- Animation is for emphasis, not a requirement. Let me assure you, every line of text does not need to swivel or bounce. Use animation sparingly and use it for emphasis. It is great to really capture your audience’s attention, but if used on every character of the slide, it will quickly lose its relevance.
- Have you heard of the eyedropper? And no, I’m not talking about science class! This is seriously one of the best tools in PowerPoint. Under the Format section for font colors or shape colors, the eyedropper can be found at the bottom of the dropdown list and will perfectly match your color to any existing color. This is a great opportunity to carry your brand theme throughout every element of your presentation. See below:
- Be the boss of your slides. I have to admit, it took me a few years before I fully embraced the Slide Master. The Slide Master allows you to save time by properly formatting your slides, ensuring consistency with fonts and colors all at once. You can focus now on the content of the presentation rather than the formatting. For easy instructions on creating a custom design, click here!
- Consider a different crop. When working photos into a constrained area, rather than reduce the overall size, consider cropping the photo. This allows you to focus your audience on certain areas of the photo. Larger, full bleed pictures make a statement on your slides, especially when projecting in a large room.
- Lose the white box. Did you ever find a perfect picture, but are frustrated with the white box around it? Under Color, chose Set Transparent Color to add transparency to the background of your photo and allow for a more natural and professional appearance on your slides.
- ATD – Attention to Details! Proof your slides. If you are not working within a Slide Master, be sure to spend some QA time with your slides. Ensure your fonts are the same and sizing is consistent throughout the presentation. This helps readers focus on your content rather than the size 72 title on page 3 and the size 28 title on page 4. Inconsistency reduces overall credibility for the presenter.
- What am I looking at? Be sure to title each slide. This helps not only ensure consistency throughout the presentation but allows the audience to follow along. Titles should add context to each slide. Titles should be short, concise and to the point. For example, “Our sales rose 7% last year.” And, be consistent throughout with the use of initial caps!
Hopefully these tips provided some new fodder to make your next presentation a success! If you only take away one piece of information from this blog, please let it be this: PowerPoint presentations are meant to serve as an aid for your presentation, they are not meant to contain all your presentation content.
Katie Johnson is new to agency life, having invested most of her career to date in corporate communications for major brands including Mars and Campbells. Her passion is creating zealous brand ambassadors of employees using strong internal communications to educate and inspire. One of Katie’s super powers is – you guessed it – PowerPoint.