Powerpoint presentation ideas: How to create engaging slides
1. Begin by planning your structure
By this we mean with good old fashioned pen and paper. Before you start to create a PowerPoint presentation, define the objective of the presentation – what do you want your audience to know, understand, feel or do at the end of it? Then you need to determine where your audience is starting from in terms of their knowledge, attitudes and relationship with you. This gives you your start and end points and allows you to plan how you will take the audience from one to the other. Map out the main ideas, supporting data and where visuals will add value.
2. Keep your slides clean and simple
As we’ve mentioned above, slides should support the speaker and enhance the presentation, not distract the audience. Make sure they are not too busy by keeping them uncomplicated and free from unnecessary additions such as graphics or text boxes. Slides should have plenty of white space – the less clutter you have on your slide, the more powerful the visual message will be.
3. Colours and fonts
When choosing a font, ensure that it is one that can be read from the back of the room you are presenting in; point sizes 24-32 are the minimum values but you could use a larger point size if the screen and room are particularly large. You should use the same font set throughout your presentation, preferably a san-serif style, and don’t use more than two complementary fonts (for example Arial and Arial Bold).
The use of colour can enhance your presentation by increasing and improving the retention of information. There are a few basic principles to follow.
Cool colours (blues, greens) work best as backgrounds as they appear to recede away from us. Warm colours (reds, oranges) work best for foreground objects (such as text) as they make things look as if they are coming towards us. If presenting in a dark venue, a dark background with white or light text will work well, however if it is a light venue a white background with black or dark text will be more effective.
You may wish to consider if any of your guests suffer from colour blindness. Common forms of colour blindness are red/green and blue/yellow and therefore these combinations are not recommended.
4. Bullet points and text
Whilst bullet points have their place, a slide filled with text, which you simply repeat, will not engage your audience. You should present a presentation, not read it. If you do wish to use bullet points, try to limit them to 4-5 on a slide. However some of the best slides might not have any text at all which brings us nicely on to tip five.
5. Using visuals
Pictures, graphs and media clips are all great for helping you design a visual presentation. They can be a great way to make a slide more interesting and engage your audience without necessarily needing any words.
A representative photograph can be used in the place of text, with your narrative to support it. People focused images in particular help the audience to connect on a more emotional level. Graphs can be used to illustrate numeric data and are more engaging than tables. Media clips such as audio or video can be useful to bring the views of other people in to your presentation; they change the pace of a presentation and increase audience interest.
6. Avoid gimmicks
Avoid the use of gimmicks such as sounds and complicated transitions between slides or if you do wish to use them keep them to a minimum. It is also advisable to keep them simple – for example a simple ‘appear on click’ for bullet points is far better than having them ‘fly’ in.
7. Ending the presentation
Your presentation should always end with a call to action – what do you want the audience to do next to use the information you have given them?
8. Check the flow
The slide sorter is a useful view of your presentation as it allows you to see the logical flow of your presentation. It can also flag up slides that look busy and which may benefit from breaking up in to two slides for example.
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