A common pitfall when making a PowerPoint presentation is the urge to share EVERYTHING you want to cover in your training. The way we typically do this is by copying the material from our training manual or notes straight onto the slides. Then, we pick a design template, arrange your text in bullet points, and add a title slide. Finally, we save the presentation and it’ll serve us for many years to come. Here are two creative and one technical tip to improve your PowerPoint slides.
1. Less is More
If your slides are filled to the brim with text, you will intimidate your audience. Truth is, that you, the speaker, might be just as intimidated! As a result, you may simply start repeating what’s written on the slide. This doesn’t create engagement. When you have a lot of text on a slide, think about how you can transform your message into a story and simply show a picture that fills the slide. Be sure the graphic you choose is high-quality. Avoid using Clip Art and stick figures, your audience has seen those a million times before. If you are sharing a list of key points you want to elaborate on, dedicate a whole slide to each point. This will prevent your viewers from reading ahead and blanking out on what you are saying to support the information on your slide.
2. Limit Animations
Subtlety and consistency are key here. If you want your presentation to look professional, a simple fade or wipe animation will be all you need. Avoid the fly and swirl animations that scream for attention and are simply distracting your viewer from your content. If you opt to add transitions between your slides, choose one for the entire presentation for the same reason.
3. Aspect Ratio
These days, virtually all monitors and projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio. The aspect ratio of a screen describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height, not how big or small the screen is. Before the 21st century, the common aspect ratio used to be 4:3. If you are still using this ratio today it screams to the viewers: “I haven’t updated this PowerPoint in many years”. Unless the equipment you use in your business is still using a 4:3 aspect ratio, this simple trick changes the aspect ratio of your PowerPoints to 16:9:
Open the PowerPoint you want to convert. Click on Design in the menu ribbon. Find the Slide Size option and switch it to 16:9.
Next, you will be presented with two options about how you want your existing content to behave.
Maximize scales up your content up to fill the extra width the 16:9 ratio has over the 4:3 ratio. This option could result in your content not fitting on the slide and may need more manual tweaking. Ensure Fit scales down your content. This could make your content appear smaller but ensures all content fits on your slide. In both cases, you should check all your slides to make sure they look professional after the conversion.
Remember, you are the speaker. The PowerPoint slides are merely there to support what you are teaching. Don’t let the PowerPoint derail or complicate your presentation!
Go get your geek on,