An effective presentation deck simplifies collected data to inform and entertain an audience. Contrary to popular belief, bare and uninspired decks won’t make your ideas stand out.
Your audiences are people too, and that means that like the rest of us, their attention spans have made a drastic drop in the past few years. Keep them interested with slides that bring your ideas to life.
In order to be called a PowerPoint expert, you need to experience translating ideas into effective visual, statistical, and textual content.
Here are three ways to turn your ideas into effective slide designs:
Why Use Paragraphs When You Can Use Sentences?
Long paragraphs clutter a slide. This is a common symptom of a presenter pressed for time, unable to sort out his thoughts or a lazy presenter who intended to read off of his slides.
We’ve previously discussed the importance of having perceived credibility. By minimizing text, you’ll give the impression of taking your presentations seriously and knowing what you’re doing.
Set clear objectives from the beginning, then retain the minimal amount of words that can still meet these goals.
Translate Numbers into Narratives
Numbers have the power to inform or to distract. A set of slides with many numbers are tiring to understand and are boring to look at. It would be wise not to test your listeners’ patience with a numerical overload.
Instead of throwing numbers and statistics around, give them meaningful connections that tell a story. Ensure that this story relates properly to your presentation’s message and purpose, or else your flow will get stilted.
Pure numerical data is useless without the relationships and connections that a story can bring. As with text, cut back those numbers and do yourself a big favor.
When Possible, Show Don’t Tell
Pictures can tell a thousand words. You should let them. They’re effective at portraying narratives in shorthand.
Given that most people learn visually, images are helpful tools that can both teach and amuse. They offer a break for the eyes when an arresting image is used. In addition, they complement your message or your deck’s theme.
They also illustrate or demonstrate concepts that can take more than two sentences in written form, making your presentation more streamlined and interesting. Don’t forget to explain it in person when you’re on stage.
Letting your ideas run wild can make fully engaging presentations, but overdoing it can divert attention and cause confusion.
Short and concise sentences, descriptive and narrative representation of numbers, and generous use of images are just three of the most important ways to get your message across. Always take a step back and practice restraint to best translate your ideas to your slides.
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“Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2015.
“How Long Should a Paragraph Be?” About.com Education. Accessed June 29, 2015.