We have all heard the term “death by PowerPoint”. Chances are, you have been a victim yourself while sitting through what the presenter thought was so cool it had icicles on it. They were totally oblivious to the fact they had lost their audience after the second slide.

Simplicity is the key.

PowerPoint’s reputation is due to the poor way in which it is used. Don’t let its reputation put you off. It can be used as an effective tool to enhance what you are trying to say. Here are a few tips to help you design a ‘sit up and pay attention’ presentation, and have your audience coming back for more!

  • Think of PowerPoint as the illustrations to the story you are telling.
  • Know your purpose. Write a script, or at least an outline before you start working on your slides.
  • Do not be afraid of white space on your slides. Too much clutter detracts from what is important.
  • One of the deadliest sins in PowerPoint is huge chunks of text. You want your audience to focus on you, because you are telling the story. Stick to dot points with a no more than six or seven words.
  • Your dot point should be a teaser for what you are about to say.
  • Keep the audience’s interest by showing one dot point at a time. Talk about the next dot point before it comes onto the screen.
  • Use well-chosen images to illustrate your point. A picture is worth a 1000 words and in PowerPoint that’s priceless!
  • Don’t use clip art. It’s been around for years; we have seen them ad nauseam! You can download good quality images quite cheaply. Just check on the licencing requirements before you use them.
  • Simplify your data. Experiment with the different type of charts which best conveys what is essential. Don’t add extra elements unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use a sans serif typeface. They are easier to read on a screen, look good at large sizes and are very legible. Try Helvetica, Franklin Gothic or Gill Sans.
  • Don’t mix typefaces. Two should be the maximum and should complement one another. Changing size and weight of one typeface can work just as well.
  • Make sure the font you use is large enough to be read by the person who is sitting at the back.
  • Never, ever use Comic Sans unless you don’t want to be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, Microsoft put a heap of rather needless (dare I say, tasteless) effects into its program. Many presenters think they must use them. Don’t be one of them. Don’t use whooshing sounds or transitions that change direction every second. If your first transition moves from left to right so should they all. Don’t be the cause of vertigo.

These are a few of the essential tips on how to make a presentation work. Want to be sure of your presentation success? Let me design it for you. Click here.