PowerPoint has become a staple in corporate settings. Technology has given us the ability to visualize and share our ideas with colleagues, clients and partners, but experts still lament an epidemic that’s taking over most boardrooms: death by PowerPoint.
You’ve probably read a lot of tips regarding this PowerPoint snafu. But the more articles you read, the more confusing it gets. Some would point out that you should only keep your presentation to a maximum of ten slides. Others might say you should get rid of all the text in your PowerPoint design.
So many conflicting ideas open up the way to important PowerPoint design questions. Fortunately, we’re here to sort them out for you.
How many slides should my presentation have?
The number of slides in your PowerPoint deck depends on the topic you’re going to discuss. A sales pitch comes from a completely different context than a seminar.
In order to answer this question, scribble your ideas on paper before putting them on your slides. Identify your key points and arrange them in a logical manner to create a rough outline. From there, you can gauge just how many concepts you’ll be discussing. It’s important to keep your number of slides minimal, but also enough to cover all the main points in your presentation.
Should I include audio-visual elements to my presentation?
Similar to the previous PowerPoint question, the answer to this query depends on the topic you’re presenting. Audio-visual elements such as videos are great for audience engagement, especially if you have demos you’d like to present. However, these can also easily derail your discussion. Audio-visuals can be distracting if you add them just for the sake of aesthetics.
You have to make sure every element in your slides contribute to moving your message forward.
One exception to this answer is an online pitch. Unlike live presentations, you won’t be around to expound the slides you upload to the Internet. To solve that problem, add voice overs that will guide your audience as they go through each slide.You can also add music to make your deck more interactive.
How about slide transitions? Is it advisable to use them?
Slide transitions have an interesting dimension to your presentation’s visuals if used carefully. Transitions should reinforce the visual metaphor you’re trying to achieve. It should also create a smooth flow between slides. Don’t use too many transitions and complicated animations. Otherwise, your presentation will look amateurish and ridiculous.
Keep your transitions consistent by using only one to two for the entire presentation.
What images should I include in my slides?
As with anything else in your slides, the images you include should be in line with your topic. The imagery in your slides would depend on your subject matter and the key points you’d like to illustrate. But here’s a useful hint: People tend to connect with other people. If you can, make use of pictures with real people in slides.
However, don’t go for stock photos that look stiff and staged. Make sure the pictures you use tell a story that contributes to your overall presentation.
Is there any PowerPoint design trend that I should be aware about?
Trends, whether in presentation design or anything else, change over time. We’ve compiled this list from the previous year’s trends for some fresh ideas.
There you have it. Hopefully, this answers some of your burning questions on PowerPoint design. Use these tips for the next time you create a presentation, either on your own or with the help of a professional.
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“What Is Death by PowerPoint?.” WhatIs.com. Accessed August 08, 2014.
Featured Image: Evil Erin via Flickr