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Information Retention: Remembering PowerPoint Presentations

Given the amount of information you cram into your presentation, getting people to remember all of it is a feat in itself.

This is why people have different ways of presenting. Some like to build an emotional bond with their audience while others provide hard data and analytics. There are those who cut right to the chase and those who take a linear, logical approach.

However, it doesn’t matter which type of presenter you are if the audience doesn’t remember anything about it. You have to give them something that will stick for as long as they will keep remembering your brand.

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If you’re going to hire presentation specialists, expect to receive a deck that is nothing short of impressive, making it easier for your audience to remember the information you’re feeding them.

Retention Rates

People retain information in various ways and while there isn’t a manual on what works best for everyone, adults retain approximately 10% of what they see; 30%–40% of what they see and hear; and 90% of what they see, hear, and experience—this, according to the National Highway Institute’s “Principle of Adult Learning & Instructional Systems Design.”

The way your audience retains information is vital in presentation design because the more effective and engaging it is, the more people will remember it at the end of the week.

It’s rather worrying that if you’re eyeing for a favorable business decision and you end up giving a mediocre presentation. This could result in investors having already forgotten what you’ve said a week later, and likely that your information won’t be considered when they need to reach a decision.

The phrase, “Content is King,” may be overused, but it stays true, even for presentations. You have to make sure that they remember a catchy headline, powerful quote, or striking image.

So, how exactly can you make your presentation more memorable?

Visual Impact

Instead of using bullet points, use images that resonate with the audience. This inspires them to act, making it easier for them to retain information for much longer.

Visuals shouldn’t distract the audience, but rather, reel them in and help them become engaged in the discussion.

Print Collateral

Brochures, flipbooks, executive summaries—if you want to provide more information without taking much of your audience’s time, have handouts ready by the end of your presentation. That, or you can provide downloadable versions of your PowerPoint so they can look over it and check if they’ve missed anything. These provide notable facts and figures essential for business decisions that might have to be made in the future.

Stop filling your slides with fluff and instead, make your message clear and concise. Have your key points ready and focus on what you want to get across. Apart from sharing what you know with the audience, be prepared for whatever they might throw your way at the end of the presentation.

Apart from having a professionally designed PowerPoint presentation, you have to make sure that it contains memorable features that will leave a lasting impression on your audience. If you want to make sure that it’s effective and engaging, rehearse and apply whatever feedback you receive from peers.

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References:

“Principle of Adult Learning & Instructional Systems Design.” National Highway Institute. November 14, 2012. www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/downloads/freebies/172/PR%20Pre-course%20Reading%20Assignment.pdf

Olenski, Steve. “Why Content Will Always Be King.” Forbes. June 21, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2017/06/21/why-content-will-always-always-king/#5f40150deb37

Typography, Is It Really Important?

The font you use for your deck is part of presentation design. If your content is mostly text—facts and other relevant information, you should be mindful of which ones you use.

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Good fonts might go unnoticed in an awe-inducing presentation. If you make a bad choice, there is nothing that could hide it—not the colors, not the images.

If you get your presentation customized by a PowerPoint expert, take note of how they make everything come together, even when there are two to three different fonts in the deck.

What is Typography?

To get technicalities out of the way: typography is a type of visual art. It refers to the creation and arrangement of written words. This encompasses all aspects of the text, from font to readability.

In presentation decks, typography is not only used to convey ideas, but to also set the mood and evoke emotion from the audience.

So, you might be asking why it matters—the answer is simple: it retains reader attention. As a writer, designer, and presenter, your audience’s attention is the best gift you can ever receive. Earning their trust and engaging them at the first slide are as valuable as maintaining this until the end.

Here are a few things to remember if you’re applying typography to your presentation:

  • Match the typeface to the brand’s message
  • Avoid clashing colors or backgrounds
  • This is meant to engage and not distract

Fonts and Information Retention

Designers always take these two functions into consideration. Look at it this way: while they would purchase a fancy display font for the header, using the same font for the article below it would be difficult to read through.

This all depends on the designer and how they’re going to incorporate intricate fonts into the presentation as these are helpful when it comes to retaining information—it doesn’t matter if it’s about art, history, or science. In fact, in a study published in Cognition, an academic journal, psychologists from Princeton and Indiana University conducted an experiment where they had 28 men and women read about three species of aliens.

Half of the participants that read in easy-to-read font (Arial, black, 16 pt) answered correctly 72.8% of the time while those who reviewed the material in hard-to-read font (Comic Sans MS or Bodoni MT, lighter shade, 12 pt) got it right 86.5%.

Apart from the layout, design, and content of your custom PowerPoint presentation, typography is one of the aspects that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. While everyone is attentive about the substance of your pitch, your audience will still look at how you present your words on the screen.

If you want to create a presentation, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to right place. With SlideGenius, we help you get the word out by creating professionally designed decks. Feel free to browse our portfolio and see what we’ve done in the past!

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References:

Donahue, Elisabeth. “Font focus: Making ideas harder to read may make them easier to retain.” Princeton University. October 28, 2010. www.princeton.edu/news/2010/10/28/font-focus-making-ideas-harder-read-may-make-them-easier-retain

Carey, Benedict. “Come On, I Thought I Knew That!” The New York Times. April 18, 2011. www.nytimes.com/2011/04/19/health/19mind.html