The (not so subtle) art of the PowerPoint presentation

by Admin on February 22, 2012

I recently sat through a webinar sponsored by a prominent publication that included the heads of marketing for several large companies. The overall presentation content was great. The PowerPoint slides? Not so much.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a renowned art designer to create a professional and visually interesting presentation that, most importantly, is effective at communicating your message. In an age where everything is done digitally and displayed through a projector or handheld device, software such as PowerPoint can be a great tool for creating presentations.

It’s knowing how to most effectively use PowerPoint that truly separates the good presentations from the bad. The needs of each presentation depend on specific content, but following a few universal guidelines will certainly help:

1)    Slides should support a presentation. The biggest mistake presenters make is looking at a set of slides as the most important aspect of a presentation. They are important, but make no mistake, slides should play nothing more than a supporting role. A set of slides can never replace the power of verbal communication, explanation and direction—and slides shouldn’t be expected to.

2)    Keep content to a minimum. Reading a PowerPoint slide verbatim is the easiest way to lose an audience. If the audience can read the entire presentation, then they’re going to read the presentation and not listen to you. Highlight the main points with a few bullets and a few words. Connect the dots for the audience verbally.

3)    Do not use Clip Art or distracting animations. Higher quality graphics will make your presentation look more professional. If your company does not have a library of high-quality images, check out some of the free stock image websites for available images.

4)    Do not use light text on dark backgrounds. Your audience will be rubbing their eyes after your presentation.

5)    Make sure your slides are presented in a logical order. Reviewing your presentation to make sure the content flows seamlessly is important in creating an effective presentation.

6)    Use tips, examples and suggestions from outside sources. There are many helpful resources that provide helpful presentation information. I suggest TechRepublic, DesignShack or Presentation Advisors.

It’s not a perfect science, but with a little bit of self-education anyone can make a polished, effective presentation. And if you still need help, that’s why we’re here.

Jesse Hall, Account Executive – BtB Marketing Communications

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