Many professionals still rely on Microsoft PowerPoint to develop comprehensive presentations, digital slides, and other work-related content. More commonly known as Slideshow or simply PowerPoint, it should come as no surprise that the tool is still widely used by professionals in almost every industry.
PowerPoint was originally developed for business use. Robert Gaskins was responsible for designing the app that took the world by storm in 1987. Its original goal was to help companies facilitate visual demonstrations for company-wide meetings and events. .
Now you can make a PowerPoint presentation for just about anything. Schools, churches, and non-profit organizations are a few examples of organizations that use PowerPoint in their day-to-day operations. Young children taking computer classes are now learning to use PowerPoint as well, as they will likely need to use these skills later in their college careers.
For some workers, PowerPoint is the bane of their existence. Working with the application is quite easy and user-friendly, but it’s still relatively common for people to make PowerPoint mistakes that might damage their brand image or reputation.
Let’s discuss eight key factors you need to consider when working with PowerPoint to improve your slide decks so you can engage your audience and earn a round of applause at the end of your presentation.
1. Convey one message per slide.
The goal of your presentation is to make it easy for your audience to understand the message or messages you are trying to convey. Each slide should be an opportunity to share a unique and clear message with your audience.
When you present more than one topic per slide, your audience may become confused and will be too busy processing the information to understand what you, the speaker, are trying to say. This has a negative impact on the attention of your audience because it diverts their attention to what’s on the screen.
Also, a slide is just big enough to hold an image or a handful of sentences. Make sure you don’t overwhelm your colleagues with too many slides or messages in the slides. Keep it short and simple.
2. Keep bulleted lists concise.
Any graphic designer will tell you that less is usually more. In many cases, especially with PowerPoint presentations, audiences don’t want to spend time reading – they want to actively listen and engage with the messages you’re delivering.
Using bulleted lists will do just that. Use short and bulleted lists to highlight important talking points rather than including paragraphs of text or a handful of photos.
Because you have to rely on your memory during a presentation, you don’t want to get lost reading your own PowerPoint. It looks unprofessional to your audience.
3. Apply the rule of thirds.
Often used in photography or video production, the rule of thirds is a tool you should use to your advantage. The rule of thirds is a type of off-center composition that divides a photo (or PowerPoint slide, in this case) into nine equal parts.
This rule can apply to more than just photos or videos, but you should use it to help draw your audience’s attention to critical pieces of information on your slide.
Many educated graphic designers know the rule of thirds, so outsource your presentation work to freelancers using Fiverrfor example, could be a profitable investment.
Read: Main services to outsource (if you are not already doing so)
4. Use contrasting colors.
If you’ve ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation, which you probably have, the last thing you want to see is a neon green or yellow background. It’s too much for your eyes to handle, and it’s not visually appealing at all. You’ll have a much better chance of capturing your audience’s attention if you stick to using basic primary colors.
Certain colors evoke different emotions in humans. For example, red can make us feel anger, passion, love, or power. Other colors like green or blue are known to have a calming effect. Understanding color psychology can help you decide what emotions you want your audience to feel.
It goes without saying that choosing a light or dark color for your slideshow background and matching the color of your text accordingly is essential. If you use a black background, you clearly won’t be using black text to write your main talking points.
Use common sense when choosing your color combinations and remember: outsource graphic design work is a possible solution if you need someone else to help you with PowerPoint projects.
5. Illustrate the data with graphic elements.
Many professionals who make comprehensive presentations know that it can be difficult to include important data. However, using data to illustrate an idea can take your presentation to the next level. Hiring an illustrator can help you if you really want to take it to the next level.
Whether you’re using a bar chart or a line chart, displaying data visually will make it easier for your audience to understand. This could be especially useful for professionals in the accounting and finance industry, who rely heavily on hard data and other important numbers.
You can also consider using maps as a way to convey information. For example, maps can be a perfect way to illustrate the main sales indicators and in which parts of the world your business is performing.
6. Use consistent fonts.
While experimenting with fonts can be fun while you prepare your PowerPoint, be sure to stick with one font throughout your presentation. To reiterate, your goal should be to make your presentation easier for your audience members to view.
The choice of the appropriate font could make or break your presentation – although fonts can add style and personality to your slides, make sure your font remains consistent across all of your slides. Viewers should be able to read your text and important information without issue.
Keep in mind that freelance designers can do a lot with just one font, but it’s a good idea to stick to a maximum of two font styles. You can consider hire someone from Fiverr to help you decide which types of fonts will be most appropriate.
7. Go easy on effects and transitions.
PowerPoint has many effects and transitions that you can incorporate into a presentation. They can certainly make your presentation more entertaining, but it may not be suitable for all types of meetings. If you must use them, make sure to keep them consistent and subtlebecause they will not detract from the key points of the presentation.
Plus, it makes your presentation longer when your audience has to wait for photos or text to come in or fade away. The actual content of your presentation should be compelling enough that it becomes unnecessary to use cool effects or transitions.
Leave motion effects to the pros – if you want to use advanced transitions, Fiverr can help find a freelance designer who knows this area well.
8. Resize and crop photos.
When using stock footage or corporate photos, you may not think of resizing or cropping them. However, resizing and cropping can make images more appealing. Pictures are generally more effective after undergoing some minor modifications.
You should also feel free to work with coloring your photos and recolor as you see fit. This can help you achieve a more professional and consistent look on your slides, which will likely impress your audience.
Outsourcing may be your best option because graphic designers have more experience recoloring and consistently using programs like Photoshop.
Keep all of these tips in mind as you work to create a compelling, professional-looking PowerPoint presentation. Slides are an important part of any business, and many industries use them to present information to colleagues and clients.
Survive and Thrive with PowerPoint
If you’re a professional working in a professional environment, you need to have some fundamental knowledge of PowerPoint and what makes a presentation worth listening to.
If you’re not a professional, there are plenty of online resources readily available to help you make your presentations shine. Take into account Microsoft Sway app, for example – its features can help you create stunning presentations in minutes.
Even better, rent your project to someone who has the expertise to create a polished look, leaving your time free to do the things you are good at.
Keep these tips handy so you can thrive using PowerPoint. Your presentations will capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the presentation.