Presentations and slide decks are essential components of modern work, requiring significant time investment in slide design, note writing, and slide review. PowerPoint has become universally adopted in workplaces and lecture halls worldwide, but unfortunately, we're all too familiar with how tedious some presentations can be.
So in the hopes of offering some advice on this topic, we have compiled some easy-to-follow tips to improve your PowerPoint slides.
PowerPoint presentations are often criticized for being unengaging and lacking interaction with the audience. Presenters typically stand before the audience, delivering a monologue while attendees feel excluded. However, breaking down these barriers is crucial to fostering communication and promoting a free flow of ideas.
Fortunately, there are ways to enhance PowerPoint presentations with plugins that encourage audience participation. With our PowerPoint plugin, presenters can incorporate interactive slides that solicit feedback from attendees through questions, quizzes, and Word Clouds. Check out our tutorial to learn how to make your PowerPoint presentation more interactive in just a few steps.
Before creating a slide deck, it's essential to consider your audience. What are their demographics, knowledge level, and comfort with technology? Will they be receptive to a text-heavy presentation, or would incorporating multimedia elements be more effective? Should you prioritize entertainment over education?
Although you are the presenter, the success of your presentation hinges on your audience's reaction and what they take away from it. Therefore, it's crucial to understand their needs and expectations, tailor your content accordingly, and design your PowerPoint for maximum impact.
When creating slide content, consider how it's presented. Plain white slides with black Arial font or excessively designed clip art title slides can be dull or overwhelming. PowerPoint should be used as a presentation tool rather than a design tool.
Opt for a clean design or search for templates online that align with your presentation's tone. Determine how you want to be perceived by your audience - professional, interesting, or humorous - before designing your slides, but avoid going overboard.
Don't overload your slides with text. Your audience will quickly lose interest if they see too many slides. Focus on including the critical elements and highlighting key points. You can print out additional information to reference or memorize it. Two common approaches are the 5/5/5 and 10/20/30 rules, each with potential benefits.
For an effective PowerPoint presentation, stick to the 5/5/5 rule: limit yourself to 5 words per line, 5 lines or bullet points per slide, and 5 text-heavy slides in a row. This will help you keep your slides concise and focused while avoiding overwhelming your audience with too much information.
These guidelines can be a valuable tool for those who tend to struggle with condensing their content.
For a concise and effective PowerPoint presentation, limit yourself to 10 slides, keep it under 20 minutes, and use a font size of 30 or larger. The objective is to deliver a clear and focused presentation with minimal text and visually appealing design.
This approach is particularly useful for presenters who tend to overwhelm their audience with information or go off-topic. Guy Kawasaki was the first to introduce this concept, and it can certainly help enhance your PowerPoint skills.
Encourage interaction by incorporating prompts within your slides to involve your audience in the discussion. While there are tools and plug-ins available to increase engagement, simple prompts within the slides can work just as well. Although it may rely on hand-raising and audience participation, this approach can still be effective.
Text, charts, graphs, images, videos; there are countless forms of content and visual aids that you can include on slides (please avoid clip art). Mixing up the content on the screen will help keep the attention and engagement levels high while allowing you to show off everything you know through different mediums. Let a graph do the talking for you, let a video highlight the campaign, or use a series of images to showcase what the designers have in mind.
Mentimeter can easily make your PowerPoint file more interactive. Check out my colleague Oscar's tutorial on how to use Mentimeter with PowerPoint. Meanwhile, I'll give you some ideas on how to turn your boring presentation into an engaging experience for your audience.
Start your presentation with an icebreaker to make it more interactive. Word Clouds, Polls, or a quick quiz can engage your audience, but you don't have to create them from scratch. Ready-made icebreakers, such as the ones we've designed, are available for download. Here is one of our most popular options.
You will probably find natural breaks during your presentation, for example, when you change your focus area. This can be an opportune time to add an interactive slide to test your audience or open up the room for discussion.
Quizzes can serve multiple purposes; from better understanding what your audience does and does not know, assessing whether the group is retaining information, or just simply adding in a bit of fun to build team spirit.
As before, there’s no need to worry about going and creating a bunch of questions and designing slides, we have some ready-to-use templates for you.
The end of your presentation is the ideal point to reflect or ask for some feedback. Allowing your audience to ask a question, respond to a poll, or just add comments, will help you better understand how your presentation went and what you can do to improve.
Q&A sessions don’t just let your audience take control of the speaking duties for a few moments but allow you to clear up confusion, clarify points, and go back over details that may have either been overlooked or misunderstood. Q&As also add a layer of transparency and openness to presentations.
So you have now taken the first steps toward running more efficient, effective, and (most importantly) high-quality presentations by improving your slide deck. But don't stop there! Today's meetings and presentations, whether they take place in university, board rooms, meeting rooms, or conferences, are far from perfect.
See how Mentimeter can help you connect with your audience, alleviate presenter stress, and make presentations a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved!