Presenting to an audience using PowerPoint can be a great way to deliver your message and leave a strong impression. However, during your development you can easily take a wrong turn, which will leave you with an unprofessional slide show that adds no credibility. The reality is PowerPoint is a form of design software, that when utilized to it’s full potential, can add conviction to your message. Here are some tips that will be valuable when creating your next show:
1. Know Your Display Build your presentation based on the specs of how it will display in the end (i.e. laptop, projector, monitor, etc.). This simple step is often overlooked! The quality and time you spend creating your presentation can all be jeopardized without this control.
2. Define Your Slides Your audience will need assistance getting through all your content and the best way to do this is by breaking it up into a structure, based on slide type. Determine the types (i.e. cover, back, section cover, content slide, image slide, etc.) and then design these slides accordingly to their objective. Stay consistent to an overall “look & feel”.
3. Take Advantage of Masters and Slide Layouts These valuable tools will not only help keep your formatting consistent but more importantly, save you time. Familiarize yourself with them by playing around with the provided PowerPoint templates. Understand how they are built and then break away and customize a one-of-kind look by adding your own graphics into PowerPoint.
4. Stick to Using Arial Font Because you don’t have control over what fonts are installed on the many computers out there, avoid over thinking your choice of a style. Choose based on simplicity (easy to read), variation within the font style (i.e. bold, italic, etc.) and system commonality especially for cross-platform computers…I suggest picking Arial.
5. Eliminate the “White Box” Surrounding Images Get more design freedom and bring your layouts to life by deleting the white background box that encompasses imported JPG images. Having clipped images will allow you to layer them over other graphics and give you a more customized, professional look. Do so by either choosing “Transparent Color” (select white color with your cursor) or for a more accurate result, delete the white background within Photoshop. Save the file as a PNG format to display the eliminated background.
6. Add Effects to your Photos Adding photos can be a great way to add pizzazz to your presentation, however too many placed photos can start looking like a boring photo album. Try stylizing your images by using “Format Picture” or “Effects” within PowerPoint. Another alternative is to manipulate them in Photoshop but either way, your photos will now contain a new level of excitement.
7. Add Subtle Motions Enhance your message with subtle Custom Animation or Slide Transitions by choosing movements that will add emotion affects to your content or images. Always minimize to avoid too many distractions and don’t pick motions based on subjectivity.
8. “Copying & Pasting” CAUTION: this undertaking can screw up your copy formatting quickly! If you can’t get around doing it then be sure to look for the “Paste Options” icon that will pop up on the bottom right side of the item you have pasted. It will provide you with drop down choices to select from that will control your formatting after you have pasted. Choose “Keep Text Only” as it seems to work the best from the icon choices.
9. Add Credibility In order to connect with your viewers it’s important you establish believability. Add some testimonials, project samples, videos, historical facts, PR or written articles to motivate and excite your audience.
10. Establish A Presentation Theme for Future Thinking ahead and having a standard presentation “look & feel” already developed will retain consistency, eliminate formatting nuances and save you time when having to create presentations for more than one opportunity. Follow these easy steps for producing your theme:
Build your presentation to your liking
Save As > PowerPoint Template > (name your file)
Import an existing theme by selecting Format > Slide Theme > From File > (choose your file within My Templates folder)
Select Slide Layouts and start utilizing your template
11. Leave Copies Behind Realize your presentation is an educational component of your information. Be sure to print copies and leave it behind to promote yourself, as you never know whose eyes will review it. If you can’t print out the presentation then at least email a PDF, send it as a movie file or post online and distribute the link for download.
12. Bonus Tip If you want to learn the basics of PowerPoint or ever just need a refresher course I recommend checking out www.lynda.com. It’s a great resource to study remotely and is extremely affordable.