PowerPoint is a commonly used tool in the corporate world, and like all other elements of a company’s brand, the humble PowerPoint presentation shouldn’t get overlooked. Used correctly, it is just as important as your corporate website or business card and can be a very powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
So, here are my tips on how to create a great PowerPoint presentation every time.
1. Use a template
This sounds simple, right? Well you would be surprised how many businesses do not have a standardised PowerPoint template, and as a result every employee instantly becomes a graphic designer. Without a template you will end up with different typefaces, colours, logo placement… need I say more? This dilutes the strength of your brand, and above all it just looks messy and unprofessional.
The use of a PowerPoint template will help ensure continuity and consistency with every presentation that’s created within your business, regardless who creates it.
2. Your audience can read!
This seems pretty obvious, but I am always surprised how many presenters will stand in front of an audience and read word for word exactly what is written on their slides. This normally happens because the presenter is not comfortable talking in front of an audience, so they take refuge in the lengthy paragraphs of their presentation.
Unfortunately this does two things. It makes for a very boring and annoying presentation, and secondly, it creates very chaotic and content heavy slides. Each slide should have a maximum of six bullet points on it. Noticed I said “bullet points” and not “paragraphs”? To accompany the bullet points you should use an image that is relevant to the topic you are speaking about.
The bullet points are on the slides for your benefit just as much as they are there for the audience. They keep your presentation on track and help jog your memory about what you should be saying. The key to speaking from bullet points is to know your topic. If you don’t know your topic, it will become very obvious, very quickly!
3. A pictures says a thousand words
Wherever possible, try to use images instead of heavy amounts of text. This will keep your audience engaged, and will lift the appearance of your presentation. That said, there are some fundamental rules for using images in your presentations.
- Never (and I mean NEVER) distort the aspect ratio of your images. If the images need to be scaled, always scale them proportionately.
- Never use low resolution images. It’s very difficult to give a professional and polished feel to a presentation if your images are pixelated and of low quality. Instead, you would be better off placing several smaller, sharp images on the slide rather than one large pixelated photo or diagram.
- Use relevant images. You need to be very careful about what imagery you use to help convey the point you are talking about. Try and steer clear of cliche and kitsch images, and look for images that compliment your topic.
4. Be consistent with all design elements
Your template should help you out a lot in this area, but it’s still worth noting that you should be consistent right throughout your presentation. That means if you are using 18pt Helvetica on the first couple of slides, there is no need to switch to 24pt Times New Roman for the remaining slides. Typography styles and other design elements should be consistent all the way through your presentation. Failure to maintain consistency will look unprofessional and can be damaging to your brand.
5. Help your audience out
Once again, this sounds really straight forward, but often gets overlooked. If you have a word, or a key bullet point you want your audience to remember, then you need to make it really easy for them to do exactly that! Simply highlight that section of text in bold or use an accent colour. It’s very simple, but visually it makes a huge difference.
Do you have any more PowerPoint presentation tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!