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PowerPoint FAQ: Five Common Slide Design Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask

You’ve probably read many articles about creating a good PowerPoint presentation. You may even have viewed a couple of them, either live or online. Maybe even  experienced using slides to present at work. In spite of what you know, it’s still possible that you have questions about designing a memorable and impressive PowerPoint. You just don’t ask them. Either you don’t know who to ask or you’d rather find the answer for yourself.  But asking questions is good. You’ll be surprised by what you’d learn if you seek the answers to your PowerPoint questions.

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Before your turn to present another PowerPoint comes up, whether for your colleagues or clients, here are five common questions about presentation design for you to consider. A number of these may be things that you’ve been meaning to ask for quite some time. That’s okay. You may also want to view this PowerPoint FAQ as some sort of technical review.

Let’s get started:

How many slides should my presentation have?

The number of slides that you can feature would depend on how much visual aid you need to support your topic. Many professional presenters swear by the 10/20/30 PowerPoint rule by venture capitalist and author Guy Kawasaki. It refers to using 10 slides within a 20-minute presentation, featuring fonts no smaller than 30 pt. This rule is especially useful if you’re pitching an idea to venture capitalists. With this rule, you categorize your slides as follows:

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call-to-action

Should I include audio-visual elements to my presentation?

Yes, but you need to proceed with caution. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, you have to consider some technical matters such as playback problems. To keep the audio, video, and animation of your presentation from breaking up, save the corresponding files locally or to the USB drive you’re going to use.

How about slide transitions? Is it advisable to use them?

You may use slide transitions as long as you incorporate them carefully. Your transitions should reinforce the visual metaphor you’re trying to achieve or at least create a smooth flow between slides. Avoid using too many fancy transitions. Otherwise, your presentation will look amateurish and ridiculous.

What images should I include in my slides?

As with any other PowerPoint design element, the images you use should support your topic. Therefore, your presentation’s imagery would depend on your subject matter. Here’s one hint, though: People tend to connect with other people. So, as much as possible, add human elements such as faces, eyes, hands, etc. in your slides. Just make sure that the images are of high resolution and look professional, not some cheesy clip art that you Googled at the last minute.

Is there any presentation design trend that I should be aware about? Something to inform my own design?

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular trend since, like what we’ve already mentioned, there are other factors that come into play. For one, some design trends may not be applicable to your specific topic. But you may want to refer to this list for some ideas.

These questions may not be all-encompassing but it should help you get some ideas the next time you create a presentation, either on your own or with the help of a professional.

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9 PowerPoint Questions to Help You Design the Best Slides

Creating a PowerPoint presentation begins with planning. You won’t be able to make an impact on any audience if your slides look sloppy. According to Dr. John Medina, thanks to our powerful sense of sight, visuals play an important role in engaging an audience. To make sure you achieve the outcome you’re hoping for, you’ll need to design a PowerPoint deck that speaks volumes about your content.

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If you feel like you’ve been in a staring contest with a blank slide for far too long, take a step back and try asking yourself these 9 PowerPoint questions:

1. What do I really want to say?

A lot of people make the mistake of starting their PowerPoint presentations right away, even before they begin structuring the ideas they want to deliver. The problem with this is that they easily get overwhelmed trying to organize their thoughts. They’ll soon end up with a PowerPoint deck that looks rushed and messy.

Your PowerPoint deck needs to follow a logical order to give weight to your key points and arguments. You need to plan everything you want to say first. Always start by brainstorming. Outline all your ideas and work on a presentation storyboard.

2. What does the audience want to hear?

While sorting out your ideas, you should also consider the point of view of the audience. Since you’re trying to reach out to them, try to take into account what they’re expecting from you.

For example, if you’re addressing senior executives within your company, make sure your presentation is concise and precise. The design of your PowerPoint deck should also suit their professional background.

3. How long should my PowerPoint presentation be?

The length of your PowerPoint deck depends on how much content you have.

It’s important that you don’t bore the audience with over fifty slides, so be discerning with what you should and shouldn’t include in your deck. To make sure your deck doesn’t bloat to an unbelievable number of slides, minimize text and make use of images instead.

4. What type of visuals should I include?

After your content has been prepared, you can begin creating a PowerPoint deck. Focus on including plenty of visual elements to engage and entice the audience.

Avoid using the default PowerPoint themes and make your design unique and interesting. Come up with your own color schemes and make use of high-quality pictures and illustrations.

5. Are charts and graphs necessary for my presentation?

Depending on the type of data you have, charts and graphs are crucial to your presentation. It’s always important to keep your PowerPoint deck simple and discernible.

If you have data to present, include only the ones that are most crucial to supporting your arguments. It won’t help anyone if you have an entire table of numbers.

6. Should I play media files?

Considering everyone’s short attention spans, playing a quick video can help re-engage your audience after a short period of serious discussion.

Keep in mind that videos and other media files can be quite distracting. If you’re planning to show your audience video clips, make sure it doesn’t last for more than five to seven minutes.

7. Should I use bullet points?

Bullet points are useful for listing things down, but don’t format all of your text this way. Use it to enumerate certain things in short phrases. Don’t list entire sentences or paragraphs.

8. What about animations and transitions?

Animations and transitions can add a bit of novelty to your PowerPoint presentations, especially if you can think of a creative way to use them.

With a bit of imagination, you can come up with something that will entertain the audience. But as always, it’s better to use as little of these effects as possible.

9. What else can I do to make sure my slides look their best?

The outcome of your slides will depend on what you choose to do. If you’re willing to explore your creativity, you can come up with slides that perfectly echo the core of your message.

It may seem easier to stick to your old PowerPoint habits, but if you take the time to let your imagination run wild, you’ll be rewarded with more audience engagement and interest.

Check our portfolio to get some ideas.

If you’re still running low on inspiration, contact us to work with a professional PowerPoint designer.

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Reference

Vision.” Brain Rules. Accessed September 10, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Horia Varlan via flickr.com

Your Frustrating PowerPoint Design Questions, Answered

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.

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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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Reference:

“What Is Death by PowerPoint?.” WhatIs.com. Accessed August 08, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Evil Erin via Flickr