Many professionals still rely on Microsoft PowerPoint to develop comprehensive presentations, digital slide decks, and other work-related content. More commonly referred to as slide deck or just PowerPoint, it should come as no surprise that the tool is still widely used by professionals in nearly every industry.
PowerPoint was originally developed for commercial use. Robert Gaskins was responsible for designing the app that set the world back in time in 1987. Its initial goal was to help companies facilitate visual demonstrations of company-wide meetings and events.
Now, you can make a PowerPoint presentation for just about anything. Schools, churches, and non-profit organizations are some examples of organizations that use PowerPoint in their daily operations. Young children who have computer classes are now being taught how to use PowerPoint as well, as they will likely need to use these skills later in their academic lives.
For some workers, PowerPoint is the bane of their existence. Working with the application is fairly simple and easy to use, but it is still relatively common for people to make PowerPoint mistakes that can negatively affect their brand image or reputation.
Let’s discuss eight key factors to consider when working with PowerPoint to improve your slide sets so that you can engage your audience and earn a round of applause at the end of your presentation.
1. Transfer one message per slide.
The goal of your presentation is to make it easier for the audience to understand the message or messages you are trying to convey. Each slide should be an opportunity to share one message that is unique and clear to your audience.
When you present more than one topic on each slide, your audience may become confused and will be too busy processing the information to understand what you, the speaker, is trying to say. It negatively affects the focus of your audience because it diverts their attention to what is on the screen.
In addition, only one slide is large enough to fit a picture or a handful of sentences. Make sure you don’t overwhelm your colleagues with too many slides or messages within 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 participate in the messages you convey.
Using bulleted lists will do the trick. Use short bulleted lists to highlight important talking points rather than including paragraphs of text or a handful of images.
Since you have to rely on your memory during the presentation, you don’t want to get caught up in reading your PowerPoint. It comes as 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 an image (or PowerPoint slide, in this case) into nine equal parts.
This rule can be applied to more than just images or videos, but you should use it to help draw your audience’s attention to the important pieces of information on your slide.
Many educated graphic designers know the rule of thirds, so outsourcing your presentation work to freelance translators using Fiverr, for example, can be a worthwhile investment.
Read: The Best Outsourcing Services (If You Haven’t Already
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 green or yellow neon background. It’s too much for your eyes to handle, and it’s not visually appealing at all. You’ll be more likely to catch your audience’s attention if you stick to your primary primary colors.
Certain colors evoke different feelings in humans. For example, the color red may make us feel angry, passionate, loved, or powerful. Other colors like green or blue are known to have a calming effect. Understanding the psychology of color can help you determine the emotions you want your audience to feel.
It should go without saying that it is important to choose a light or dark color for the background of your slide deck and match the text color accordingly. If you’re using a black background, you obviously won’t be using black text to write your main talking points.
Use common sense when choosing your color combinations, and remember: Outsourcing your graphic design work is a possible solution if you need someone else to help with your PowerPoint projects.
5. Clarify data through graphic elements.
Many professionals who give 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 a painter can help with this if you really want to take it to the next level.
Whether you use a bar graph or a line graph, presenting the data in a visual way will make it easier for your audience to understand. This can be especially useful for professionals in the accounting and finance industry, which rely heavily on specific data and other important numbers.
You can also consider using maps as a means of conveying information. For example, maps can be an ideal way to show key sales metrics and which regions of the world your company is doing well in.
6. Use symmetrical fonts.
While experimenting with fonts can be fun while preparing your PowerPoint, be sure to stick to one font throughout your presentation. To reiterate, your goal should be to make your presentation easier to see for members of your audience.
Choosing the right font can make or break your presentation – while fonts can add a sense of style and personality to your slides, be sure to keep the font consistent across all your slides. Viewers should be able to read the text and important information without any problem.
Keep in mind that freelance designers can do so much with just one font, but it is suggested that you stick to a maximum of two font styles. You could consider hiring someone from Fiverr to help you decide which type of font is right for you.
7. Go easy on the effects and transitions.
PowerPoint has many effects and transitions that you can incorporate into a presentation. They can certainly make your presentation more fun, but this may not be suitable for all types of meetings. If you have to use them, make sure to keep them consistent and accurate, as they won’t take out the main points of your presentation.
Plus, it makes your presentation seem longer when your audience has to wait for images or text to scroll in or fade out. The actual content in the presentation must be compelling enough that the use of fancy effects or transitions is no longer necessary.
Leave Animation Effects to the Professionals – If you want to use advanced transitions, Fiverr can help you find a freelance designer who is experienced in the field.
8. Resize and crop images.
When using stock photos or company photos, you may not think about resizing or cropping them. However, resizing and cropping can make images more compelling. Images are usually more effective after they have undergone some minor adjustments.
You should also feel free to work with and recolor your images as you see fit. This can help you have a more professional and consistent look across your slides, which can impress your audience.
Outsourcing may be your best option because graphic designers have more experience with recoloring and constantly using software like Photoshop.
Keep all of these tips in mind as you work on creating an attractive and professional-looking PowerPoint presentation. Slide decks are an important part of any business, and many industries use them to present information to colleagues and clients.
Survive and thrive using PowerPoint
If you are a professional working in a business environment, you must have a basic knowledge about PowerPoint and what makes a presentation worth listening to.
If you are not a professional, there are plenty of resources available online to help you make your presentations shine. Consider Microsoft Sway, for example – its features can help you create stunning presentations in minutes.
Better yet, hire your project to someone with the experience to create a polished look, and leave your time to do the things you’re good at.
Keep these tips handy so you can thrive with PowerPoint. Your presentations will grab your audience’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the group.