Designing an effective PowerPoint presentation begins with an effective framework. You should never just open PowerPoint and start making slides. To assist you with your next presentation, adopt our framework for effective PowerPoint design.

Establishing the purpose of your presentation


What is anything without purpose? This harks back to our article on The Five W’s of Effective Presentation Preparation. To work out the purpose of your presentation, ask yourself what you want your audience to take away from it. Is there an action you want them to take? An idea you want them to adopt? After you establish that, it’s simply a matter of working out what you need to say in order to achieve that.


Plan the structure of your content


This process varies from presenter to presenter. For instance, some people like to plan their slides on sticky notes. This lets them rearrange their slides on the wall. Other presentation designers prefer to sketch out slides as a series of squares on a single piece of paper. This allows them to write notes around the slide structure. Whatever planning process you pick, make sure you do plan. Never jump into the program until after you have planned your content up to a solid starting point.



Place your presentation into PowerPoint


The trick here is just to place the rough content you have into PowerPoint. Don’t worry about making it look polished or presentable. Instead, focus on how your information flows over your slides. See if it works when every slide isn’t laid out in front of you.



Plan your design


Now that you have sorted out the content of your presentation, you need to plan its design. That sounds like a big task, but it’s actually quite simple! You simply have to break your design down into its most important elements:


Theme – Your ‘theme’ should be one word that captures the essence of your message. It should guide your entire design process. Is your message fun? Professional? Establish that at the beginning of this process.

Colours – Once you’ve established your theme, establish your colour palette. This is an effective, on-brand combination of several colours to guide the visual branding of your presentation.

Design assets – These include logos, images, templates and other assets which will have to form a part of your PowerPoint.

Data visualisation – Don’t just throw your data into your PowerPoint. Ask yourself how you can make it interesting! Consider graphs, charts, timelines, and other combinations to keep your design interesting. Make sure it aligns with the rest of your design!



Apply your design


Go through your presentation slide by slide, applying your design principles to the information therein. As you go through, don’t be afraid to experiment. On top of that, you should always take advantage of opportunities to condense your slides.



Practice your presentation


As you practice your presentation, ask the following 3 questions:


  1. Does it flow well? – Try and get someone unconnected to the design to see it, and see if they understand what you are trying to say
  2. Can it be seen from the back? – Your design might look amazing up close, but it can be lost from afar.
  3. Does it come in under time? – Make sure to speak slowly, and leave plenty of time for questions.


We hope you’ve found this framework useful. If you want to access more expertise for your next presentation, speak to our expert designers today.

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