There are so many elements that go into PowerPoint design and delivery, which can make compiling PowerPoint tips a scattershot activity that spans across writing, design, and public speaking. Listed below are some of our favourite tips for writing, designing, and delivering a great PowerPoint presentation.
Tell Them a Story
The ability to convey and understand stories is the critical reason human beings have survived this long. Storytelling helps us understand even the most abstract ideas while ensuring what we say connects with those hearing it. Narratives help audiences empathise with content since stories are how we perceive and process the world around us.
Facts and figures aren’t memorable without context, which is why information becomes more impactful through stories. No audience want to see a presenter get up there and cite different facts, figures, and data – organising this information into a cohesive narrative will ensure the audience is more engaged, understands more clearly, and remembers what was presented.
Creating a compelling narrative comes from understanding your audience. Ask yourself why they’re attending your presentation, why they should trust or believe you, and what action you’re trying to drive them towards? It can be helpful sharing some of your personal experiences, especially if you’ve been in a similar situation as your audience – sitting in a presentation, seeking information or guidance from the presenter. Narratives build empathy, so write and design a story that connects.
Ask and Answer Questions
PowerPoint presentations are generally made up of various statements, which can become boring after a while, leading your audience to distraction. So why not ask a question?
Asking questions breaks up your presentation’s rhythm and earmarks your previous statement as important enough to delve deeper with the audience. Since most presentations are passive stories, asking an audience a question makes your presentation an active journey where audiences are forced to contemplate what’s being said, getting them directly involved in the content.
If you’ve asked enough questions and gotten your audience to engage with you through their answers (even if only in their head), then it’ll be much easier for them to pose questions to you later, which is a great way to understand any content gaps your presentation may have, what key areas the audience are most engage with, and further break up the monotony of your ongoing statements.
Use PowerPoint Slide Arrangement and Layout
Visual hierarchy dictates how visual elements are arranged, generally in order of importance, to help audiences understand the essential information while subconsciously guiding them through the content. Use visual hierarchy to determine the structure of each slide and the arrangement of your PowerPoint presentation.
Contrast is the most useful design technique for highlighting specific elements and utilising visual hierarchy. By implementing differences in size, shape, shade, texture, colour, or proximity, audiences are intuitively led to focus their attention on those contrasting elements. Inversely, slides with little contrast will seem dull and potentially confusing for audiences. Use contrast sparingly to help highlight certain visual elements. Don’t try to emphasise too many things on one slide, otherwise nothing will seem highlighted.
Based on how visual hierarchy works, you can apply this knowledge to create effective PowerPoint slide layouts. By sticking to one important idea per slide, you won’t inundate your audience with too much information, ensuring what is said is more memorable and impactful.
For example, if you have a few consecutive slides on the same topic, arrange to add some visual weight to the conclusion slide to help your audience pay attention, such as increasing the font size, using deeper contrasts, or adding a new image.
Aligning visual elements well helps establish visual hierarchy and ensures your PowerPoint design looks tidy and professional. As you move object in PowerPoint, alignment guides and spacing guides will appear as dashed orange lines and arrows around the objects to help you align them.
Aligning helps you build designs without the need for grids and guides. Creating alignment on your master slide will ensure an object is always placed in the right place every time you create or add a new slide to your presentation. If you’re trying to align text – use the advanced paragraph settings to customise the look of your written text far beyond simple text colour and font settings.
Consistency Builds Quality
Consistent design across your PowerPoint slides ensures people won’t start picking out faults, thereby paying more attention to you design choices rather than the content. At that point, you’ve lost the audience’s actual attention and constantly playing catchup.
Consistency demonstrates order and professionalism, but this doesn’t mean maintaining the same layout or structure for each slide. Even if you use a variety of 2-column and 3-column designs alongside image and chart slides, they can still look consistent with the same colours, fonts, and backgrounds. PowerPoint’s slide master can be a useful resource for ensuring consistency across colours, fonts, and layouts.
Save Time with PowerPoint Templates
PowerPoint was created to make presentation design easier, which means there is no shame in using free templates and stock imagery in your own designs. A little repurposing, editing, and customisation can go a long way in PowerPoint, so don’t be afraid to use ready-made resources for your creations, so long as you make enough amendments and touch-ups to make it your own. Also, keep a library of free images, old PowerPoint presentations, templates, and other design resources to save yourself time and sanity.
It can be overwhelming to build your presentation from scratch. Fortunately, we’ve put together some PowerPoint presentation templates to help speed up your design process and ensure your slides are consistently aligned and arranged. PowerPoint templates are a quick and easy way to create professional looking presentations without any design experience. You can edit all of the text easily, as well as change the colours, fonts, and images.