Creating Powerful PowerPoints
By Willy A Renandya
I have seen great Powerpoints but also dreadful ones. Sadly, at least in my case, the latter far outnumber the former.
I have seen slides that are cluttered and disorganized, making it almost impossible for the audience to get the main points of the presentation. Indeed, the slides often serve to disrupt rather than boost the flow of the talk.
Why do people create bad PowerPoints? Well there are many reasons, some of which are listed below:
- They treat powerpoints as presentation notes, i.e., to help them with their presentation. Some actually read the whole text on the slides.
- They have little awareness of the needs of the audience.
- They have little awareness of the principles that govern human perception and comprehension of verbal, audio and visual information.
How do we build powerful powerpoints? Here are some tips.
- Use keywords or phrases rather than sentences. Long sentences (or worse, a whole paragraph) are hard to read and they take up too your audience’ attentional resources.
- Use a bigger font size. How big is big? The bigger, the better. This is particularly important in a virtual presentation.
- Present one or two ideas per slide (3 is max). Use more slides than contain fewer points rather than fewer slides that contain too many points.
- Use high resolution images to get your points across. Unsplash is a great source of non-copyright images. Do note that you need to select images that capture the essence of your key point. Avoid using images for decorative purposes.
- Use the same slide format/design throughout your whole PowerPoints. It is tempting to let the design feature of 365 PowerPoint to generate appealing designs; but this can be distracting.
- Use a dark background and white font colour, or vice versa. If you are a colour person, make sure that you choose background colour that nicely contrast with the font colour (e.g., dark blue background with white or yellow font colour).
- Watch the TED talk below by David Phillips, an expert on powerpoints. His tips are sensible and practical.
In summary, your slides should be appealing to the eyes and brains of the audience, allowing them to get the most out of your presentation.