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5 Audience PowerPoint Pet Peeves You Need to Avoid

Do you feel like your audience is zoning out on you in the middle of your PowerPoint slides?

Your deck might not be sitting well with your listeners. Most people identify as visual learners, and are therefore more inclined to watch out for engaging visuals, rather than walls of text and droning explanations. Unfortunately, this is what most presenters are guilty of when they bore people to death.

If you fall into this habit often, it’s time to re-evaluate your presentation choices. Find out what audience’s top five PowerPoint pet peeves are and how to avoid them:

1. Talking to Your Slides

Today’s audiences crave authenticity and personal connections with their speakers. The first thing that tunes them out of a presentation is a presenter who mumbles or reads from the slides.

Eye contact is essential in establishing rapport with others. It makes you appear more trustworthy and credible, and less nervous and uncertain of your points. While you may want to get all the points right by reading them straight from the screen, the audience might write off your presence as irrelevant if you’re just going to reiterate your entire deck.

Step away from your slides and project confidence with your voice. Deliver clearly and loudly as you directly address the audience.

Make use of vocal warm-ups to ease your tension and improve your breathing. This will help alleviate your anxiety and sound more sincere in your pitch.

2. Too Much Information

People’s brains aren’t wired to take in information in bulk, as suggested by InfoEngineering’s article. Give them a landslide of data, images, and text, and they’ll be less likely to retain anything you mentioned. Since people’s short term memories constantly make way for new information coming in, all the backlog gets deleted once their minds are full.

Applying this on a presentational level, leaving too many slides can also overwhelm your audience. Only include keywords on your deck, not full blocks of text. This improves people’s recall and compresses your points into neat, palatable takeaways.

Leave enough room for you to explain things verbally, to further support your connection with your listeners.

Raw data can be difficult to process, and often too heavy to understand on its own. Instead of giving the numbers as is, try putting a creative spin to them. Craft a narrative around your material to lighten up the weight of stark statistics.

3. It’s Unreadable

This third point has plenty to do with your deck’s design and layout.

Tom Osborne of Viget suggests that poor contrast is one of the culprits of difficult readability, particularly in text. Contrast is essential in highlighting a specific object you want to stand out on your slide. Elements that aren’t well-contrasted tend to be too light, and might not be seen clearly for some viewers.

Maximize the element of contrast in your PowerPoint. For example, dark hues tend to stand out more in lighter backgrounds. Use light colored text against a dark background, and vice versa.

At the same time, good contrast might still lead to unreadable decks, due to eccentric font size and style choices. Ensure that the words on your slides are visible all the way to the back by selecting an apt combination – this often means a standard sans serif (like Arial or Helvetica) for the heading, and a standard serif (like Times New Roman or Garamond) for the body.

In terms of font size, business guru Guy Kawasaki suggests fonts no smaller than 30-points. This definitely ensures their visibility for all types of audience members.

4. Blocking the View

It’s important for your audience to see what’s on the slides. After all, your PowerPoint is a supplement to your presentation. It’s an aid, which means it should reflect all the salient points you want to deliver. That said, blocking the view would be counterintuitive to having this presentation prop to leverage your speech.

However, some presenters do tend to walk in front of their projectors or screens, obstructing people’s view. The audience members shouldn’t be straining their necks to get a view of your presentation.

To prevent yourself from obstructing your audience’s view, stand beside the projected screen, and be mindful of your blocking on stage. You’ve got a visually engaging deck that’s worth looking at, so let people rest their gaze on your slides.

5. Random Design Choices

Aesthetics matter in catching the audience’s eye, but there should be a balance between your form and your content. In fact, WritingCommons recommends using your design choices to enhance your core message, even in the subtlest of ways.

Don’t put in images that you can’t directly link to your current pitch. Leave out distracting animations and transitions if they won’t contribute to your main points. A balance between digestible simplicity and strategically placed design can make a powerful impression on your viewers from start to finish.

To know what’s worth putting in and leaving out in your deck, keep an outlined list of your key points.

Since your PowerPoint is supposed to supplement these points, only choose designs that correspond directly to them.

Conclusion

Appealing to your presentation audience means more than just giving them your message directly. Make sure that they’re paying attention to every word by crafting a deck that complements your pitch.

Leave your slides on the screen, and talk sincerely to your listeners. Establishing a strong emotional and physical connection with them will make you appear like a more credible speaker worth listening to.

Practice using your voice to project confidence and sincerity that will convince your audience. Check your deck’s readability by choosing colors that contrast and highlight each other. Aside from this, select the right font sizes and types that ensure maximum readability for all audiences, and in all venues.

Mind where you stand so you don’t block people’s view of your visual aid. Avoid unnecessary deck designs by putting in only the most important keywords you need to expound on, and choose the appropriate slide element to support it.

If you need help with your presentation design choices, contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

“Color Contrast for Better Readability.” Viget Blogs. Accessed December 16, 2015. https://viget.com/inspire/color-contrast
“The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. 2005. Accessed December 16, 2015. http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
“Your PowerPoint Presentation: Developing an Effective Design.” Your PowerPoint Presentation: Developing an Effective Design. Accessed December 16, 2015. http://writingcommons.org/index.php/open-text/genres/public-speaking/delivering-the-speech/1031-your-powerpoint-presentation-developing-an-effective-design

 

Featured Image: “40+216 Face” by bark on flickr.com

2 Easy Ways to Avoid Missing Fonts in PowerPoint 2013

Launching a presentation that fails to display your font choices can be disappointing. Not only can this scenario be completely avoided with a few simple checks, but it’s also a waste of time invested in picking a set of fonts that match your pitch.

The problem happens when the fonts you used are unavailable on the computer you’re using for your presentation. Here are two easy ways to help you display custom fonts in your deck:

I. Embed Fonts

Embed fonts in PowerPoint first to guarantee font compatibility when transferring your deck to another computer. Follow these steps so that your fonts won’t go missing during a presentation:

1. Click the File tab on the ribbon. You’ll be taken to the Backstage view.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013

2. Click on Options at the bottom of the vertical ribbon.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013 steps

3. A window called PowerPoint Options will appear. Click on Save in the left column.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013

4. Scroll down further and check the box for Embed fonts in the file under the heading that says Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation.

5. Select Embed only the characters used in the presentation (best for reducing file size).

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: embed only

6. Click OK.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: click ok

Your custom fonts should now be embedded within the presentation. This method eliminates the need of having to install your custom fonts to every computer that will view the presentation.

II. Save as PDF

When you’re pressed for time, saving your presentation as PDF is also a great alternative. It’s ideal for maintaining the appearance of fixed slide layout and fonts. However, this format will be unable to play animations, so do take note if your pitch needs to be viewed with dynamic animation.

1. Click on the File tab, select Export, then choose Create PDF/XPS Document.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: create as pdf

2. Click on Create PDF/XPS.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: create as pdf / xps

3. A confirmation window will appear. Put a check next to Open file after publishing, below Save as type.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: open file after publishing

4. Enable Standard (publishing online and printing).

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: standard publishing

5. Give a file name for your presentation, then click Publish in the lower right corner.

how to embed fonts in powerpoint 2013: click publish

Have a Backup Plan

Using great font combinations for your PowerPoint slides can give your presentation maximum readability. There’s also the added bonus of making your deck stand out from a sea of boring, default font types with a custom font unique to your presentation.

That’s why instances like missing fonts and changes in font formats may put a dent on your well-designed deck. This doesn’t have to happen. Embed your fonts within PowerPoint 2013 to ensure that your custom fonts appear exactly as you want them to during your pitch. You also have the option to save your file as a PDF when you’re in a pinch. Although you’ll preserve the appearance of your slides, a PDF file can’t play any animations that you’ve set in each slide.

Choose among these two easy options so that your fonts won’t disappear when you have a big presentation coming up.

 

References

“How to embed fonts in PowerPoint.” Microsoft. n.d. www.support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/826832
“Troubleshoot font problems.” PPTools. n.d. www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00402_Troubleshoot_font_problems.htm

Prepare Your Defenses: Battling Noise in Sales Presentations

As we’ve seen in stories, zombies are drawn to loud noises. This lets them swarm you and prevent you from reaching whatever goal you have set. Applying this in our line of work as presenters, there’s no better way to infect the audience with zombie-like expressions than letting noise interfere with your own pitch.

It’s impossible to get your message across if the crowd can’t hear you properly, but this isn’t limited to sounds that your audience can hear. Noise can also come in the form of unnecessary interruptions that get in the way of your business presentation. Technical glitches, distracting colors, inappropriate pictures, unreadable fonts, even a malfunctioning air conditioner can all count as noise.

Simply put, anything that makes your listeners uncomfortable is a potential hazard. These can prevent you from convincing them to invest in your proposal, which means lost partners and potential profits. Fortunately, there are two types of noise and three ways to immunize your clients from it.

In a post written on Public Speaking Tips, professional speaker and author, Lenny Laskowski, states that noise comes in two forms: external and internal.

External Noise

extermal noise in a presentation: walking dead themeThe first type may come from your surroundings, disrupting effective communication with your listeners. An unsilenced phone going off, a tall person blocking the view of another behind him, or an unexpected update notification flashing in the middle of your presentation can get in the way of delivering a successful performance.

Parts of your audio-visual aid might even unintentionally distract your audience. For example, if the speaker volume isn’t high enough, any narration that might be embedded won’t be heard. The same thing applies to your visuals if the screen is too bright or too dark.

Using colors can also be a distraction. If the setting or topic requires formality, using bright colors isn’t ideal to complement a formal presentation. The same goes for times when you need to put on an energetic personality and fire up your audience but end up using dark colors in your slides.

The venue itself is also a factor. If it’s too hot, too dark, or uncomfortable because there aren’t enough seats, people may have trouble listening to you. That’s why you should always check out the area beforehand.

Internal Noiseinternal noise in a presentation: walking dead theme

The second type, internal distractions, are worse because these come from within and may include your own negative thoughts and feelings.

You might be emotionally distracted by being too enthusiastic or possibly tired, which can affect the energy you have for your presentation. A lack of energy or sounding too serious can give the impression that you just want to get your speech over with. It may be fine to sound enthusiastic, but too much of it, like in an investor’s presentation, might make you sound too biased if you make promises without backing them up with hard facts. Alternatively, if you become too serious in an event that needs a more casual and friendly setting, this can send the wrong impression to your clients and infect them with that same lack of interest.

On the other hand, the audience might also be biased or have misgivings about your topic, especially if you present any new unproven products that have yet to enter the market. While skepticism may be unavoidable, you need to prepare for possible contrasting opinions during your Q&A section if you have one.

Here are three things to consider when combatting both types of noise to safeguard your presentation’s success:

1. Detect the Source of Noise detect noise and proceed to your presentation: walking dead theme

Damon Verial, a professional writer and contributor for various Web sites, including eHow, tackles the importance of finding the source of noise. He explains that depending on the importance of the situation, noise should be eliminated through various means.

Careful preparation is what helps you avoid unwanted interruptions, but despite your best efforts, some unexpected circumstances are still hard to prepare for. For example, your laptop might randomly shut off, or your slides could suddenly freeze while presenting. In times like these, you need to have backup devices that have copies of your presentation, if possible, so you can pick up where you left off immediately.

Before striking back, identify the root of the problem to find an immediate solution. Was it lack of preparation that disgruntled you? Or was it a problem with the venue that disturbed your presentation? The former can be taken as a lesson for what to prepare for next time. The latter can be resolved with some help. In this case, ask for the organizer’s help to take control of the situation and minimize any disruptions.

For technical problems, politely ask the coordinator to help you fix any issues so you can continue your presentation. This will help you handle the situation and put everything in place. Lighting problems, sound systems, microphones, and even power cables are things that they should be ready for.

2. Sharpen Your Listening Skills

sharpen listening skills for better presentation: walking dead themeYour job isn’t limited to speaking; listening is also vital to dealing with your audience. With the end goal of delivering a message, improving your listening skills is an essential part of the process. You need to know what concerns your clients will have when you bring your proposal to the table. These aren’t limited to prices. Timelines, implementation costs, and possible benefits are also factors to determining how feasible your proposal can be.

However, passive listening isn’t enough. To be an effective listener, actively seek out and attend to people’s concerns. This lets you better understand what they mean when they ask questions about your topic. After all, noise works both ways too: you need to ask for clarifications if clients voice out their concerns in order to prevent any misunderstanding and give appropriate responses.

By being an attentive listener, you get to answer in a constructive and engaging manner while showing your audience respect. This gives the impression that you genuinely want to know what others need, as opposed to simply pushing your products out and hoping someone will be willing to invest in them.

Aside from convincing them to voice out their opinions, give your viewers a chance to help you clarify anything that needs to be addressed. This prevents any possible misunderstandings that can divert their attention.

3. Harness the Power of Repetition

stress relevant info in your presentation: walking dead theme

Never underestimate the power of repetition when combatting unwanted noise. People remembering your pitch after it’s over can make the difference between success and failure. If your prospects remember what you want them to, and you give them the means to contact you afterwards, you’re halfway to converting more leads to sales.

Simply having excellent speaking skills isn’t enough. You also want your listeners to remember the best parts of your performance. That’s why audience recall is important in any presentation. Keep your points simple enough to repeat them for emphasis but not so much that you endlessly reiterate each one. Are there aspects of your proposal that you can reduce into one to three words? Use these to reinforce your speech and support your facts so that the audience will remember exactly what you stand for.

A simple way to improve recall is to repeat your main points during vital breaks or at the end of your pitch. This highlights important takeaways for the audience, emphasizing your thoughts and stressing relevant information for your listeners to make your pitch memorable.

Done right, it makes your pitch sound more entertaining and convincing.

The Takeaway: Always Stay Alertstay alert: walking dead theme

Always anticipate an onslaught of diversions. These can come from the venue, your equipment, your slides, or even yourself or the audience. Consider the appropriate tools to use and have backups in place when technical breakdowns happen. It won’t hurt to coordinate with your organizers for any contingencies you can use in worst-case scenarios, too. This lets you stay focused to avoid further distracting your listeners.

Instead of immediately going on the offensive, strengthen your defenses against disturbing noises that can ruin your performance. At the same time, maintain a solid feedback line for communicating with your audience. They may not always understand you, but if you take efforts to understand their side of things, you’ll be able to find out exactly what causes the noise on their end. You’ll also come across as someone who wants to build better business partnerships with other people rather than a typical salesman who simply talks about their own products without considering if it’s the right fit for his customers.

Don’t let negative thoughts or circumstances overwhelm you. Combat them by detecting the unnecessary noise, enhancing your listening skills, and reiterating your ideas to make sure everyone gets the point. Once you’ve got unnecessary noise under control, you’ll have the audience focusing on the most important things: the benefits that you can give them, and why they should choose you over the competition. This’ll prevent spreading blank stares to the audience and help you convert more leads for your business.

 

References:

Laskowski, Lenny. “Aspect 6 – The Noise.” Public Speaking Tips, May 22, 2015. www.ljlseminars.blogspot.com
Verial, Damon. “How to Overcome Noise Barriers in Communication.” eHow, n.d. www.ehow.com/how_8031308_overcome-noise-barriers-communication.html

4 Factors for Creating Info-Heavy PowerPoint Slide Designs

Making arguments without providing evidence to back up your stand is a bad move in presentations. It is useless, however, to bombard your slides with unnecessary information. Designing your deck haphazardly only muddles the information-sharing process and confuses your audience.

To improve your deck for your next pitch, here are four important things to keep in mind when creating info-heavy PowerPoint slide designs:

Accuracy

Facts, data, and other information presented in your slides should be correct, current, and relevant. When citing from the internet, make sure to properly fact-check and source your information. Avoid directly citing Wikipedia. Follow the citations if you want to refer to something you find interesting in wikis. Maintaining accuracy is important not only for the sake of your slides, but for your credibility as well.

You want to present data to inform and convince—not to misinform and deceive.

Clarity

It’s not enough to have accurate information. Your content should be displayed in a clear and organized manner that makes all the facts and numbers easier to understand. Cut down all the content to the bare minimum that you need to get your point across. Reducing them to the most pertinent and logical manner allows for easier transfer of information.

According to presentation trainer, Nancy Duarte, there are a number of ways to arrange your slides so they pass the glance test, or the audience’s first scan through your deck. Among these are keeping your layout simple, maximizing white space, using proper fonts, and emphasizing the important points structure your deck into something that’s easily digestible.

Meaningful

Correct and well-ordered figures aren’t enough. An important key is to inject some significance that relates to your audience. To best connect with your audience, it’s vital to do some advanced research and determine their interests, needs, and concerns. Knowing these will assist you in adjusting to optimize your presentation to their needs.

Presenting your slides as a story or in a narrative structure best engages your listeners. This is due to how we’ve come to recall memories and enjoy our entertainment: as a series of episodes with a chronological structure and thematic background.

Memorable

The best presentations are those that remain with the audience. Executing a memorable presentation requires getting on your listeners’ good will. It’s important to improve your credibility by looking enthusiastic, genuine, and creative.

Effectively communicating your own excitement regarding your topic also adds to your power to persuade. This assures your listeners that your topic is worth their time. Inserting a slice of yourself through a personal anecdote also increases your audience’s perception of you as a genuine person.

Lastly, a creative approach using a funny or poignant beginning and/or ending, or through a unique execution of your presentation, also makes your slides more memorable.

Conclusion

Being new at presenting or not having enough time is never an excuse to show up with lazily-made slides.

Always design your PowerPoint slides like a professional to get the best out of your message, and maximize the impact on your audience.

 

References

3 Secrets to Make Numbers Interesting in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 13, 2015. Accessed August 20, 2015.
Duarte, Nancy. “Do Your Slides Pass the Glance Test?Harvard Business Review. October 22, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2015.
Five Ways to Transform Your Overloaded Text Slides.Think Outside The Slide. September 14, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2015.

3 Ways to Cut Back Your Text-Heavy PowerPoint Slides

The most effective PowerPoint slides are often simple and concise. As branding experts TRAY Creative put it: cluttered slides will only put your audience to sleep.

Effective decks help the presenter discuss a topic with memorable and arresting visuals. In other words, a PowerPoint presentation isn’t there to act as your script or teleprompter.

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If your presentations are always burdened by text-heavy PowerPoint slides, it’s time to dial back and strip your deck bare.

Try the following suggestions to make sure you don’t have walls of text blocking the audience’s interest in your discussion:

Strip your content down to its essentials 

Cutting back on text-heavy PowerPoint slides rely on your ability to edit your own content.

Before you start making your PowerPoint deck, review the draft you’ve prepared and see how you can simplify your points even more. Your goal is to strip down your content to the bare minimum.

You don’t have to waste space on your slides to elaborate particulars. Your slides are there to highlight the main points and takeaways.

Everything else that needs to be discussed or described is for the presenter to do on his own.

Use multiple slides to split up bullet points

Bullet points are often maligned in PowerPoint design because of constant misuse. A lot of presenters insist on presenting text through a bullet point list, even if the text requires a lengthy paragraph description.

Bullet points are meant to simplify content and list down key information. If you’re going to use it to cram several paragraphs on a single slide, you’re not utilizing bullet points properly.

Split up your content across multiple PowerPoint slides. Even if you end up with 10 more slides than you originally planned, your deck won’t look poorly designed.

Spreading out your PowerPoint to tackle one point at time will help you make sure your slides aren’t dragged down by too much text.

Represent content visually

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Remember to keep it in mind when making PowerPoint slides, because it’s extremely crucial to presentation design.

Sometimes, it can be hard to cut back on content because there are things that require several sentences to describe.

Luckily, PowerPoint is a visual tool. Instead of using up slide space on lengthy descriptions, you can represent certain parts of your content through pictures or graphics instead.

Turn a discussion on a particular process into a flowchart. Find pictures that represent your brand values. Think visually and use images to relay what might need several sentences to say.

In general, try to keep your PowerPoint slides visual. Use text to enhance the meaning of particular images or graphs, and do it by using the simplest sentences or phrases. Remember, a PowerPoint deck is a visual aid. It shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with too much information. As the presenter, it’s your job to take the stage and discuss your presentation accordingly.

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References:

Visual Storytelling: How Stories Are Told in Pictures.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 27, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2015.
PowerPoint Insight: Reconsidering the No Bullet Points Rule.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 21, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2015.
7 PowerPoint Mistakes That Put Audiences to Sleep.” TRAY Creative Seattle Marketing Branding Web Design. Accessed February 24, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Hernán Piñera via Flickr

5 PowerPoint Pitch Deck Tips For SEO-Friendly Slides

There are plenty of great benefits in creating a solid content marketing strategy.

As we’ve discussed before, we found that it’s an easy way to connect and engage with consumers. By sharing content that is relevant to them, you help them create an emotional connection with your brand.

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Of course, gaining leads through this method isn’t always easy. Sure, sharing your PowerPoint slides on the Internet does introduce your brand to a wider audience. The problem is that it might take them a while to find your content, even if you’ve created slides that are relevant and useful for them.

To nudge these potential consumers in your direction, let your slides stand out. The way to do that is by making your PowerPoint and pitch deck presentations SEO-friendly.

BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu stresses that unlike its earlier stages, SEO content no longer means stuffing your work with random keywords, but incorporating them into meaningful and well-researched content.

So how can you optimize your PowerPoint’s searchability? Follow our five tips:

Optimize your title slide

The title slide is an important part of your presentation, especially if you’re sharing it online. It’s the first thing that people will see when they’re browsing and come across your PowerPoint deck on SlideShare or any other site.

It’s also the title slide that will help them decide if your content is relevant to their interests. As such, optimize your title slide.

Take the time to craft the perfect title for your presentation, which needs to contain the keyword you’re optimizing for. The keyword should flow naturally with the single phrase you come up with.

Also have visuals that match your creative and SEO-friendly title. While the keyword helps search engines decide that your content is a match, it’s the visuals that will capture your target audience’s attention.

Use long tail keywords in the content

Using keywords shouldn’t stop at the title slide. The long tail keywords you choose should also be incorporated to the content of your slides.

For SEO beginners, that means you should incorporate keywords that are quite specific to the topic you’re discussing and optimizing for. This way, your content doesn’t get buried under millions of results for a general search term.

HubSpot contributor, Corey Wainwright, explains the use of long tail keywords. Such keywords flow naturally with the rest of your writing. Doing otherwise might end up alienating your audience.

Provide an accurate description

Aside from content, you also have to provide an accurate and thought-provoking meta description of your presentation.

Focus on the core message of your presentation and make sure that stands out in what you write.

A good description isn’t too long. A few, quick sentences will do. This will serve as the space where you can include information about your company, like links to your website and social media profiles.

Carefully tag your pitch deck presentation

Another crucial step to SEO-friendly slides are the tags. Sites like SlideShare allows up to 20 for your presentation.

Tags are keywords that will make it easier to categorize and find your content. Make sure you use those that are relevant to your content and your brand.

Tagging random keywords might damage you in the long run by marking you as spam. Always relate your tags to what your presentation is actually about.

Share presentation on social media

Finally, it’s time to share your presentation on social media platforms. When you upload your PowerPoint deck, you don’t have to sit around and wait for the audience to appear.

Do the heavy lifting and take your presentation to them. Share links to your newly-uploaded PowerPoint pitch deck presentation on your social media profiles. This will give your followers a heads up.

In turn, they can share it on their own profiles or websites. Search engines prioritize results that have plenty of back links. The more you share your pitch deck presentation, the larger your reach will become.

Sharing your presentations online can help you reach out to a wider audience. Do it right by making sure your PowerPoint slides have SEO advantage. Take note of these tips and do your best to connect and engage with consumers through the large world of the Internet.

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References:

Content Marketing Lesson: Presentations Create More Impact.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 13, 2014. Accessed January 29, 2015.
Wainwright, Corey. “The Ultimate Guide for Mastering Long Tail SearchHubSpot. Accessed January 29, 2015.
Perfecting Your Presentation Title Slide.” SlideGenius, Inc.. October 16, 2014. Accessed January 29, 2015.
Yu, Jim. “5 Steps To An Integrated Approach To SEO-Friendly Content Marketing.” Marketing Land. March 11, 2014. Accessed January 29, 2015.

 

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Why Simplicity Wins When it Comes to PowerPoint Slides

PowerPoint slides play an important role in successful presentations.

Before you load your deck with information, take a step back and approach the task with scrutinizing eyes.

As we’ve mentioned before, your slides should serve as a visual aid. What you present to the audience should contribute to the delivery of your core message.

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Most of the time, presenters tend to create PowerPoint slides that are overloaded with too much information. Instead of using their PowerPoint deck as a way to highlight main points, it becomes the focal point of the presentation.

According to research, this becomes a problem for both you and your audience.

Presentation science: Why simplicity is crucial to PowerPoint slides

In a study conducted by Christof Wecker, it was concluded that overloaded PowerPoint slides distract the audience from listening to the presenter’s explanation.

Because the participants were shown slides loaded with information, the attention of the audience is split between two things: struggling to keep up with what the presenter was saying, or reading the slides and ignoring the explanation.

Their concentration and ability to absorb information became compromised.

In cases like these, Wecker noted that it might be better to just present with no visuals at all. However, the real solution is creating simpler and more concise slides. All you have to do is focus on the most basic and crucial points of your content.

When your slides highlight key takeaways, you can help the audience reach maximum information retention.

As social science blogger Eric Horowitz wrote to explain the study:

Wecker found that the suppression of oral information was correlated with the subjective importance a person placed on slides. In other words, slides interfere with the retention of oral information because people often judge information on slides to be more important.

Tips and tricks: Making PowerPoint slides that work

That said, it’s easy to see why your overloaded PowerPoint slides have been putting audiences to sleep. To keep your presentations comprehensible, make sure that your visuals remain simple and straightforward. There are many ways to achieve simplicity in PowerPoint design. Here are just a few of the most basic tips:

  • Draft your ideas before attempting to make a PowerPoint deck. Outline the points you want to make and lay them out in a storyboard. This will give you the opportunity to arrange your presentation properly and edit out unnecessary details.
  • You can keep your slides minimal by limiting your use of text. Examine the content you have and try to get your point across in quick and simple sentences. Images can also be used to describe ideas that are a bit more complex and might require longer explanations.
  • Some PowerPoint features can also help keep your slides streamlined and simple. You can use PowerPoint’s Note section to keep detailed explanations out of your main slides.
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References:

Add Speaker Notes to Your Slides.” Office Blogs. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Create a SmartArt Graphic.” Office Blogs. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Horowitz, Eric. “Why You Need Concise PowerPoint Slides – Peer-reviewed by My Neurons.” Peer-reviewed by My Neurons. February 18, 2012. Accessed January 8, 2015.
How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 1, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Visual Simplicity Is Captivating in Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 30, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Wecker, Christof. “Slide Presentations as Speech Suppressors: When and Why Learners Miss Oral Information.” Elsevier 59, no. 2 (2012): 260-73. Accessed January 8, 2015.

 

Featured Image: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

Selling Your Wife with PowerPoint: Why it Works

The universal question remains, “How do you win an argument with a woman?” 

Just like Phil and Claire Dunphy on ABC’S Emmy Award-winning show, Modern Familyit’s almost a daily struggle to prove who’s right and why. This timeless debacle has stumped husbands across the years as countless disagreements and failed persuasions have led to broken compromises.

We may believe that the common day PowerPoint presentation is merely just for business lectures but the marketing and persuasive ability of powerpoint slides may actually be one of the best explanation tools. When dealing with certain difficult issues such as mapping out your financial plans for the year, a PowerPoint presentation has the capability to share information in the most persuasive and simplest way possible; therefore allowing for more agreements- and fewer arguments.

1. Starting Off Your Presentation with an Attention Grabbing Quote

Just like in any persuasive essay or speech, the appeal of pathos (or emotion) when presenting your idea will catch your wife’s attention from the beginning. Your quote can also be a personalized statistic, say if you were trying to either sell or buy a substantial item or place that sums up a main purpose.

2. Utilize Visuals and Graphs

Images speak louder than words, too much text will cause anyone to lose interest fast. Using bar graphs and pie charts to explain your financial forecast or using graphics will make for any explanation to be easier and allow for more efficient points to be made. Talking numbers make for more confusion- but showing numbers allows for more information to be digested easily and this is essential in any great powerpoint presentation. 

3. Minimal Bullet Points

The simpler, the better. Bullet points are acceptable in family presentations and allow for direct and specific statements to be made without too much wordiness. You as the presenter are responsible for elaborating these ideas, but visually they should be presented in the simplest form.

4. Using If/Then Analogies

Creating an if/then scenario within your presentation will give you the ability to show your wife why your point is valid and using examples will assist in positioning your argument.


Convincing somebody of anything is not an easy task, and just like Phil and Claire try to make sure their points are the “correct” ones, you can utilize PowerPoint to share your ideas with your spouse and explain them in the most effective way possible.

Comment below and let us know if you’ve used PowerPoint to persuade your wife.