While it’s true we’ve helped clients create some of the most successful PowerPoint presentations they’ve ever used for the last 20 years, it’s only been recently that we’ve seen a huge upturn in the amount of PowerPoint presentation work coming our way. The rebounding economy seems to be helping everyone get back to normal business routines, and that means we’ll all be either giving or viewing more PowerPoint presentations in the coming months. So we thought we’d put together a quick list of general Do’s and Don’ts to make your presentations really stand out from your competition.
1) Know your audience (CEO, VP, Director, etc.). Each can require a different type and amount of information.
2) Use a professionally-designed template to really set your brand apart
3) Keep it simple. Use minimal content on each slide to get your point across
4) Maintain a cohesive train of thought and message flow
5) Establish the problem early and then move on to how you solve it
6) Use visuals like charts and graphics only if it enhances the message
7) Use color and animation carefully (Only to enhance a specific point)
8) Use section divider slides to break up content into memorable chunks
9) Setup master slide styles for more efficient use throughout your presentation
10) End with a summary slide of your key points and final benefits
1) Don’t use a generic template that’s been seen thousands of times
2) Don’t use “Random” for any type of transition or animation element (It’s an assault on the eyes when trying to get a point across. Pick something subtle and stick with it)
3) Don’t use slide transitions between body slides (Transitions from main slide types is alright if used tastefully)
4) Don’t use unnecessary text animations or sound effects (They can distract from your point)
5) Don’t use generic clipart unless you’re speaking to third graders (We’ve all seen enough hands holding a bag of money or shaking hands to last a lifetime! The same goes for logos with white boxes around them.)
6) Don’t use more than 5-7 bullet lines on a slide depending on your font size
7) Don’t use crazy fonts that no one else will have on their system (Stick to standard fonts to avoid substitutions when sending to recipients)
8) Don’t use more than 20-25 slides per deck (This can vary, but decks with more than 50 slides will tend to send your audience to zombieland)
9) Don’t read off of each slide. (Your audience could do that themselves and wouldn’t need you standing up there for it.)
10) Stick to a consistent color theme for all fonts and elements used throughout. This is not the time for creative expression with the full spectrum of RGB color values.
Remember, the point of any presentation, whether it’s PowerPoint, Keynote, SlideShare, giant flip charts or any other method of presenting, is to convey a message. Follow the principals above and always ask yourself, “Does this text, graphic or animation I’m about to add to this slide help or hurt the overall message?”. The presentation should walk through a logical flow of information and get to a persuasive point quickly. Know clearly what you want to say before you start building your presentation and it will flow better.
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What other tips have you used to make you’re presentations better?