Five Ways to Improve PowerPoint Presentations

Created: Tuesday, February 20, 2018, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:45 am

Millions of presentations are created, and you may have seen at least hundreds of presentations in your lifetime. Yet, how many of them do you remember a few days or weeks after you have seen them?

You may see the occasional, amazing slide that you remember, but for most of us who are not PowerPoint designers, the bad slides are similar to what a Google Images search for the same term shows up, as you can see in Figure 1, below.

Google Bad Slides
Figure 1: A search for ‘bad slides’ on Google Images

In so many ways, the results in Google Images is representative of what’s bad in the world of PowerPoint design. You see slides that are:

  • Uninspiring, because they look so similar to millions of other slides.
  • Text-heavy, because so many presenters use slides as a teleprompter, and they actually read out from slides to their audiences.
  • Color-ineffective, because color choices are plainly wrong. Notice the slides in the search results that don’t have a white background–and you will have trouble reading any text on those slides.
  • Busy and detailed, because too much is happening within a relatively smaller area.

In this post, we will look at five easy guidelines that you can implement today within your slides so that you can end up with better-looking PowerPoint presentations.

1. Reduce Slide Content

First of all, many people seem to think of PowerPoint slides as an extension of Word documents! Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem with such presentations may stem from the fact that your boss may hand over a Word document, and expect you to create a presentation from the document, and may also expect that you will faithfully reproduce all content within the Word document in your slides!

This is not as difficult as it sounds. That’s because your slides need not have the entire content pasted from the Word document. You will have to be inventive, and make your content concise enough to make sense, and yet be small enough in length to justify its presence in a PowerPoint slide.

Many times, you can also look for help from custom PowerPoint presentation writers, who may help you create a professional outline for your slides.

Related Link: PowerPoint is not Word or Excel

2. Balance Between Text and Visuals

Yes, text-heavy slides don’t work too well, because too much text is never interesting. Worse, it looks monotonous, as you can see in Figure 2, below.

Text Alone
Figure 2: Text alone, can be monotonous

The other extreme is a presentation that is composed mainly of pictures, and contains pictures just because someone heard the adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ This is similar to the slide you can see in Figure 3, below.

Picture Alone
Figure 3: Pictures alone, can look lost

The balanced approach us to use amazing pictures accompanied by intelligent one-liner titles or brain-tickling captions, as shown in Figure 4, below.

Text and Pictures
Figure 4: A balanced approach works best, with both text and pictures

So what does that mean? It means that some text is still needed to increase the curiosity of your audience. Therefore, always try to maintain the right balance between text and visuals.

3. Split Content Between Multiple Slides

There are times when you really have too much content on a slide, and cannot remove any part because all content is essential. In such scenarios, explore dividing your slide content between two or more slides.

4. Use Colors Better

Many slides can just be improved with judicious use of color, and yet this is perhaps the area people overlook the most!

Look at Figure 6, below that shows the improper use of colors. Note that all colors are highly saturated.

Improper Use of Colors
Figure 6: Improper use of colors

Compare with the less saturated colors in the slide you see in Figure 7, below.

Effective Use of Colors
Figure 7: Proper use of colors

5. Think From the Audience’s Point of View

We saved the best tip for the end. You may use all the best tips to create the most amazing slides ever, but if these slides were not created for your audience, then they are useless! What does this mean? Many presenters use PowerPoint slides to display content that they want to show, rather than creating content that the audience wants to see.

Before you even start to create your slides, think about your audience. In fact, imagine yourself as a part of that audience and think about what you want to see on the slides? This approach will help you create much better slides, that have a soul, and also a message that the audience is ready to accept.

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