6 Ways to Improve Your Impact
Have you ever given a PowerPoint presentation and noticed that it just seemed a little…off? Maybe you and the slides were too in sync and the audience looked bored. Or the poorly designed presentation left the audience confused and even irritated.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic PowerPoint design principles, creating a slide show that presents your information in the best light can be challenging. The next time you’re speaking, use these tips to engage your audience.
#1 Don’t read your presentation straight from the slides.
If your audience can both read and hear, don’t waste everyone’s time simply reading your slides aloud. Your audience will zone out and stop listening to what you’re saying, which means they won’t hear any extra information you include. Instead of typing out your entire presentation, include only main ideas, keywords, and talking points in your slide show text. Engage your audience by vocally sharing the details.
#2 Follow the 5/5/5 rule.
To keep your audience from feeling overwhelmed, you should keep the text on each slide short and to the point. Some experts suggest using the 5/5/5 rule: no more than five words per line of text, five lines of text per slide, or five text-heavy slides in a row.
#3 Don’t forget your audience.
Who will be watching your presentation? The same goofy effects and funny clip art that would entertain a classroom full of middle-school students might make you look unprofessional in front of business colleagues and clients. Humor can lighten up a presentation, but if you use it inappropriately your audience might think you don’t know what you’re doing. Know your audience, and tailor your presentation to their tastes and expectations.
#4 Choose readable colors and fonts.
Your text should be easy to read and pleasant to view. Large, simple fonts and theme colors are always your best bet. The best fonts and colors can vary depending on your presentation setting. Presenting in a large room? Make your text larger than usual so people in the back can read it. Presenting with the lights on? Dark text on a light background is your best bet for visibility.
#5 Don’t overload your presentation with animation.
As anyone who’s sat through a presentation where every letter of every paragraph zoomed across the screen can tell you, being inundated with complicated animations and slide transitions can quickly be irritating. Before including effects like this in your presentation, ask yourself: Would this moment in the presentation be equally strong without an added effect? Does it unnecessarily delay information? If the answer to either question is yes—or even maybe—leave out the effect.
#6 Use animations sparingly to enhance your presentation.
Don’t take the last tip to mean you should avoid animations and other effects entirely. When used sparingly, subtle effects and animations can add impact to your presentation. For example, having bullet points appear as you address them rather than ahead of time can help keep your audience’s attention. Check out the tips, polish your next presentation, and wait…for the raves!