How many times have you started or sat through a presentation while boredom is circulating the room? The yawns from the back interrupt any attempt to explain the quarter’s sales metrics and the blank stares… don’t even get me started. Fear not, friend. You are not alone.
“Ugh, why do we still use PowerPoint?”
Because of the simplicity and widespread prevalence of Microsoft’s baby girl, PowerPoint isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Its extensive functions, templates and transitions alone, allow it to continue to be the preferred presentation application. Most people in the workforce have been using PowerPoint since their first day on the job. Millennials, were basically born with it. So, now that you know that PowerPoint is here to stay, here are five things you can do to make your presentation better and captivate your audience!
- Reinforce Your Message with Images
If you still use small, wallet size images on a slide, do us all a favor and delete the entire presentation. Ok, I guess you don’t have to kill the whole thing, but from now on, only use images that fill the entire slide. You want to use daring, authentic images that are simple and easy for an audience to remember. Place images early (or throughout) in the presentation and connect it to your main point to reinforce your message. Keep in mind, these images shouldn’t be distracting. It’s still important your colleagues retain the information you’re trying to convey.
- Minimize Text, Accept White Space
You know why people are so bored during PowerPoint presentations? Because presenters include way too much text and read directly from the slides. Please, don’t do this. I repeat, DO NOT DO THIS. Too much text has a tendency to convolute a presentation. Unless you include a full-sized image (see point above), white space is a good thing. Be sure you’re thoroughly rehearsed and adequately prepared. This will aid in audience engagement.
- Shrink Borders and Lines
Like the minimalistic approach of having white space on your slides, you want to keep any borders or lines you integrate very thin (especially around photos). Your slides will appear much more modern and possess a touch of elegance. Only when you are wanting to embrace contrast and entice attention should you use thicker lines or borders. Think clean, smooth and polished. Borders and lines shouldn’t dilute a slide or image.
- Flat is Where It’s At (Flat Designs That Is)
In the early 2000’s, 3-dimensional graphics on presentations were popular and almost the standard. Flashy graphics with highlighted colors were common. And, be honest, they were cool. Unless the graphic, graph or image you use has to be 3-D, it’s time to say goodbye. Flat, straightforward designs with no shadowing or mirror/reflection are today’s top trend. Along with the flat design concept, utilizing rich and solid colors will help your presentation pop. Faded is jaded, remember that. If your company has corporate colors, use those to maintain consistency.
- Thin is In When Choosing Fonts
The days of extravagant, circular and clunky text are over. Woo! (Yes, it’s ok to get excited). No one wants to expend even more energy to read the Hollywood font you’ve selected. Keep it clean. The direction of design itself is marching towards a more sleek and modest look, so match your font with it. Here are four universal options that always a fantastic choice: Arial, Calibri, Myriad Pro and Verdana (the latter being a personal favorite).
Have any suggestions on some other new trends of PowerPoint or elements you like using? Comment below!
Need a complete makeover?
New Horizons offers world-class training in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, 2013 and 2016. These courses are not only a stepping stone to creating a memorable presentation, but can also serve as a magnificent refresh button for all of you PowerPoint gurus out there. It’s never a bad thing to hit reset every once in a while.