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Fundamental Elements of a Strong PowerPoint Slide

Have you ever wondered about the makings of a perfect slide? Or if not perfect, at least a strong and impressionable one? Many answers are found online, and for just as many reasons, that you just can’t be sure which is correct. You could say, of course, that there are niche functions for what objects or elements you put on your deck, but does that make your slides strong individually and/or as a whole?
Blank slides often bear no weight, so you fill them up with visual elements. But being willy-nilly with what you put in there will make the effort counterproductive: the more objects in your slide, the more cluttered and distracting it becomes. It’s best to strike the balance between too much and too few.
Now, what are your options? The following elements are the necessities of a powerful slide. What’s more powerful is how you use them, vis-à-vis standalones or any number of combinations thereof.
Fundamental Elements of a Strong PowerPoint Slide: Theme, Title, Background

Theme

You can’t start creating a presentation without a central message and a theme. While everything around your presentation revolves around the former, your slides are designed per the latter. This can be a broad term, extending from color scheme to branding to even subtle details like typography and illustration style.
Choose an appropriate theme for your topic. It’s not a good idea to have a presentation about the wonders of nature but accent your slides with a black color scheme.

Title

While it doesn’t need to appear in every slide, it does mark where you are in terms of your whole presentation. It can also denote that a specific slide is noteworthy. Subtitles, to a degree, extend a title and branch out to other points, but it also doesn’t have to be ubiquitous.
Knowing when or when not to put a title maximizes the impact of the slide on the audience. Be clever with it. Wit is always appreciated.

Background

Imagine a theater stage with no backdrop—nothing to tell the setting or set the mood. The same goes for slides, even if it works on a case-by-case basis. Slide backgrounds reinforce the theme or branding of the presenter and set the mood for the audience.
Your background doesn’t need to be flashy. Even plain white can be appealing, especially when given the proper treatment. As long as it’s appropriate, as with theme, then you can make it work.
Fundamental Elements of a Strong PowerPoint Slide: Text, Images, Effects

Text

Getting to the meat of your message can be done in two ways: with your content or through pictures. With the former, less is more. A few select words can deliver bigger impact—and be remembered more easily—than a paragraph or two that dances around your point.
This is one of the things abused by those who have little experience with slide design. Think “death by PowerPoint.” Walls of text are to be avoided, of course, but having little to none on your slides can and does pay off.

Images

Pictures solicit or trigger strong emotional responses from anyone in a heartbeat. If your “less is more” with text can’t be achieved, try using an image that encapsulates and describes what words can’t do efficiently. You will see the results immediately.
Since humans are visual creatures, they process and react much faster to an image compared to words that are then read and understood. It’s, literally, seeing a bigger picture. All it takes is one look to make a point.

Effects

There are two kinds of effects that you can set in a slide: the shifting Transition and the object-focused Animation. You can highlight and emphasize points or objects and switch from one slide to another in style. Movements catch attention—a result of survival instinct and evolution to notice objects in motion—so take advantage of that fact with PowerPoint’s animation settings.
A word of caution though: use only when necessary. Don’t risk distracting your audience by overusing effects. A gimmick for gimmick’s sake will only be detrimental for your presentation.
Fundamental Elements of a Strong PowerPoint Slide: Visualized Data

Visualized Data

Cold, hard figures are exactly that. Cold. And boring. Instead of plainly showing numbers and percentages, use charts or graphs, even the occasional diagrams, to show your data in a more entertaining—and by extension more educational—manner.
The more creative your chart or graph is, the more lasting the impression that the data makes. Think of how infographics use design to show statistics: with creativity, wit, and humor. Employ the same to your slides.
Now you could be thinking, “I need all seven in just one slide? This is madness!” No, you just need a couple, like a combination of Background, Text, and Effect. Some can stand on its own, for example, Title or Image. It will only be a distraction to put all seven, so only put what you need.
Lastly, as already said above, the most important element of any slide is the overall message of your presentation. Each part of your visual aid should point toward, support, and strengthen the crux of the whole exercise. You wouldn’t be onstage talking about your advocacy then jumping to a different matter altogether just because.
Everything about your PowerPoint presentation should revolve around your message. Any combination of the elements above serve as parts of a whole, all working in harmony to inform and educate your audience. And that is the key factor to wowing your audience.

Resources:

Finkelstein, Ellen. “3 Components of an Effective Presentation.” EllenFinkelstein.com. December 6, 2000. www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/3-components-of-an-effective-presentation
Kawasaki, Guy. “The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch.” GuyKawasaki.com. March 5, 2015. www.guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch
Mineo, Ginny. “Your Graphs Look Like Crap: 9 Ways to Simplify and Sexify Data.” HubSpot. October 7, 2013. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/data-graph-design-powerpoint-tips-ht#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a
Tate, Andrew. “10 Scientific Reasons People Are Wired to Respond to Your Visual Marketing.” Canva. May 19, 2015. designschool.canva.com/blog/visual-marketing
“The Elements of a Slide.” Boundless. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/preparing-and-using-visual-aids-16/using-powerpoint-and-alternatives-successfully-85/the-elements-of-a-slide-325-5653

3 Cost-Effective PowerPoint Tips to Enhance Your Deck

PowerPoint is designed to be a user-friendly tool. Because of this, anyone can easily access and operate the program to create a basic deck.

However, we’ve barely scratched the surface of this diverse presentation program.

There’s more to the visual aid than meets the eye.

Here are three tips on how to save time with PowerPoint to ease your design process:

1. Edit Your Images in PowerPoint

If you’re struggling with a third party program and you want to see your pictures alongside the actual slide layout, edit your images directly in PowerPoint.

Although this won’t give you the same flexibility compared to editing programs like Photoshop, it does give you options to enhance images in your slides. You can use this option for basic formatting, especially if you’re still beginning with design essentials.

A Format tab will appear once you’ve selected your desired object. Explore the options on this tab to transform your pictures into attractive slide elements.

Format images in powerpointOne of the most common editing tools in PowerPoint is the Crop tool. It cuts your image down to size without adjusting its dimensions.

format image in powerpoint: cropYou can also select a number of designs for your image with Picture Styles. This frames your picture, and even changes its shape and angle.

format image in powerpoint: picture stylesDraw attention to key objects without needing to make the rest of your slide too plain. Tick Artistic Effects to make your images stand out from your background.

format image in powerpoint: artistic effectEditing straight in PowerPoint saves you time and money that would have taken to design your images in a separate platform.

2. Adjust Your Slide Size

Most presenters stick with the default slide dimensions on PowerPoint. Earlier versions were in the standard 4:3 square size. There worked best for presentations that will be printed later on.

This changed with PowerPoint 2013 onwards, where the default slide size used the 16:9 widescreen format. This configuration was used with visual content reserved only for on-screen presentations.

Other than that, these later versions now also let you adjust your slides to whatever size you choose.

PowerPoint 2013 users will find this option under the Design tab. Click Slide Size > Custom Slide Size to modify your slide according to the size you want it to be.

According to the guide, 4:3 is best used for decks to be printed or presented on different media. On the other hand, 16:9 is best for presentations that are going to stay on screen, particularly for formal conferences or business presentations.

Knowing which sizes are compatible with your presentation leaves out the trouble of printing slides that are too small, or presenting a deck that’s too big onscreen.

3. Check Out Their New Features

PowerPoint is a constantly evolving program.

Its developers are aware of the criticisms hurled against it, so the presentation aid’s been optimized to respond with even better features.

For example, just last year, Microsoft released two new add-ins for Microsoft 2016 – Designer and Morph.

Designer eliminates the hassle of customizing layouts and color schemes to fit your chosen background. Just insert an image in PowerPoint and the program will analyze what design goes best with it.

Morph also gives you an easier job at crafting transitions and basic animation.

Simply drag the object you want to animate along a path after clicking the Morph option, and the slide element will follow that path once you play the Slide Show.

Make sure to check the new add-ins for a cost-effective PowerPoint that improves both your experience and deck design.

Conclusion

PowerPoint is a deceivingly simple tool to use, but there are plenty of things yet to be discovered about its functions. Most of these will help you cut back on time and effort, while still producing a winning deck for your presentation.

Edit your images directly in PowerPoint using the options in the Format tab.

Adjust your slide size to match your presentation type.

Always update yourself with the latest PowerPoint add-ins to find out what can make your designing a breeze.

Need help with your presentation design needs? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

Reference

“What Slide Size Should You Use?” Presentitude. November 19, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2015. http://presentitude.com/slide-size-use