The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
You have an important meeting coming up and you know a PowerPoint presentation will be the way to go. Whether it is a board room meeting of investors or a virtual meeting of team members, you need a presentation that highlights the significance of what you are telling them.
Those who have never designed a presentation before may just think the word means template for the intro or maybe the slides. Design is so much more than that. It is all visual and audio put together with data and presented by you that makes up a complete PowerPoint presentation design.
Good design involves a few components. Here are six tips that will get you started.
Unless you’re dealing with experts in a field, you should try to convey information in a way such that even a child could understand the message. That goes for both the data and the visual elements of your presentation. Keep your slides “landscape” or horizontal. That is the PowerPoint standard and keeping them the same orientation will help speed up your overall workflow.
Just like you must outline your talking points, you also need to outline your presentation. Your presentation must carry out a visual theme that matches what you are telling your audience. That means branding, colors, data, and graphics.
This is where you must think a bit more creatively, as an artist. You wouldn’t want to put up something that doesn’t visually complement what you are saying. You also don’t want to put up something that is visually unattractive such as a pixelated image.
Visual themes could include implementing logos or branding on every slide in some way, even in subtle reoccurring shapes or colors.
People new to this type of presentation tend to want to include too much information which can be overwhelming for an audience. That means you need to limit things like bullet points, animation, and transitions.
You really only need two or three colors that include one primary and two accent colors. The colors should coordinate with either your branding or the overall theme. For instance, if you are talking about vegetables, your colors should be green, yellow, and tan as they match the colors of those objects, especially once you start adding images.
If you do enough presentations, it advisable to maintain a slide library. Then, you won’t have to redesign slides or graphic elements for every presentation. This is particularly helpful if these are monthly, semi-annual or annual presentations. With a slide library, you can easily compare to past reports or simply change the numbers and data with some color changes and graphic changes to update your slides.
There are so many ways to make for an exciting presentation and multi-media is one of those. Ways to do that are with video, animation, 3-D slides, and audio. An interesting mix will keep your audience engaged.
The one caution is not to overuse these elements. You don’t have to use it just because it’s there and it’s cool.
One tool that could help with design templates, slides, and inserting video is a PowerPoint add-in. These add-ins can do a world of good by providing well-thought-out designs with high-quality images and a nice balance between slides and objects on your slides. It can also be used to speed up tasks you do repetitively and help you use multi-media effectively.
Presentations aren’t meant to let run while you sit down and watch with the audience. Nor are they meant to be your teleprompter where you read what is being projected.
Presentations are meant to complement your speech. The visuals are to add data to elements while you give an overview. It is meant to provide additional substance and credibility to what you are saying.
Learning to use various elements to create a memorable presentation may take a little time, but it is well worth it. It is good to know the basics of PowerPoint design, even if you hire someone else to do it. Knowing the styles, elements, and how to use them will build your confidence in presenting your information in a branded way.