PowerPoint Design - 5 tips to nail your next presentation

Written by Emily Whitting
on May 20, 2016

PowerPoint Design Presentation


You know that feeling, when you sit down for a presentation, the presenter clicks to the first slide and it instantly hits you... this is going to be the longest 30 minutes of your life - groan! You may as well hang your head in defeated misery because you know there is no way out of there. 

Most of us can empathize with this situation but despite that we still manage to create the same snore inspiring presentations when our turn comes around. If you want to avoid making your own groan inducing presentation, then try following the five tips bellow. 

Before we start, here are the two most important things to remember whilst designing your PowerPoint presentation.

  • Your slide is not a teleprompter!
  • Your audience is there to listen, not to read!


“Your slide should reinforce your words, not repeat them”

Seth Godin


1. Only make one point per slide

This is important. You don’t want to overload your audience by giving them multiple messages to consider at one time. Let them focus on one thing at a time.

This is great advice and there will never be any topic so complicated that you can justify more than one point a slide. Your audience cannot listen and read at the same time. Therefore if you can reduce your presentation to one point or even just one visual per slide then you’ve reached the Zen of PowerPoint presentations.  A place where all the masters of presentation sit. People like Steve Jobs and Seth Godin.


2. Tell a story 

Story telling is an art and probably one of the hardest things to do in a presentation but it is definitely the most effective. Telling a story gives your audience something to hold on to, a reason to stay to the end. As with every good story, it will need a beginning, a middle and an end and it’s this end that your audience will be waiting for. The end of your story should deliver the message you’ve come to share.

Whether you are struggling with this concept or not this presentation is worth a look. 

If you can’t work a story into your presentation, don’t force it. Although this method is effective it’s not for everyone. Play to your strengths and make your presentation memorable in other ways.



3. Use visuals properly


Humans process images 60,000 x faster than words 

We also recall information presented as images
6x more easily than text


Beautiful visuals are a great way to make your presentation memorable and you should always try to incorporate them into your presentations. Support your statements with a visual where possible. Whether that be a chart, diagram, image or photo. If you are using photos, whether you can get a budget for stock imagery, have imagery of your own or use a free site, imagery is arguably the most important part of your presentation. After all, PowerPoint was designed to be a visual aid.

www.pexels.com is a great place for free stock imagery.


4. Steer clear of animations & transitions

But surely animations make presentations stand out? Yup they sure do, but you want your presentation to be remembered for the right reasons. Only the wisest and most experienced of PowerPoint designers can use a dissolve or spin without it looking cheesy and even that's debatable. So steer clear altogether. 


5. Hand out supporting documentation

Handouts are a strong commodity when presenting. They gives people something to refer to when they leave.

Do not hand out slide print outs!

These are no good without the presenter there to bring them to life. To help your presentation stick, hand out supporting information for people to read later. This document can incorporate parts of your script as well as other evidence to support your case, but don’t just give them your script. If you don't make your handouts easy to read you'll just be lining more waste paper bins. If you don't make your handouts easy to read you'll just be creating more lining for the waste paper bits.



Following the above five steps will result in a PowerPoint presentation that will engage your audience. As a result they will absorb and retain the key messages that you wish to deliver. Everyone's a winner - they get to enjoy the presentation and you get to successfully deliver your message.



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