Recently, I have come up with pros and cons for PPT. Albeit, we have all heard about ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ but it has become apparent that we can’t ignore PPT altogether. So, after lengthy review, I thought I’d share my Top 7 Tips for making your presentation look relevant, even if you aren’t a designer.
First, always consider your audience, the impression you want to make, and the top message points you want them to remember and act upon (as we now know that our brains work best in groups of three). So, here are seven tips as the evolution of PPT has evolved:
- Use a thin font
Thin fonts with increased leading are popular. You may have seen the change on websites and on your phone. With the increased use of mobile devices, which have small screens, all aspects of design need to take up as little space as possible.
- Flat design with simple colors
Remember when reflections, shadows, highlights were the rage? Flat design means ‘no fancy 3D look.’ Shadows are still used quite a bit, but they aren’t part of flat design. We also know that faded colors/pastels are less likely to look modern. They look great in some cases, but you’ll see more of the richer, saturated, complex colors, plus increased usage of grays and taupe’s.
- Dead space
The more you put on your slides, the less people pay attention—PERIOD! Filling up slides with lots of stuff won’t look modern, and it definitely isn’t an easy read. Less is more. Think minimalist and utilize full slide images versus placing them with four-sides (see next Tip).
- Minimize text and charts
When you have a lot of text on your slides, people try to read the slides, and many will give up (or read ahead). QUESTION: If your client is reading, are they listening to you? NO. In fact, your voice is annoying because it’s interfering with them reading. You don’t want slides to be full of charts either. Put one chart on a slide (unless you need to compare data) and simplify charts as much as possible so the 1-2 points stand out at the audience.
- Use large images (full screen)
Small images look old-fashioned and larger images are more bold and powerful. Images should be relevant to your point and not just for decoration. The image point is to help the audience understand, remember, and for you to be persuasive. Further, putting images against the edges of the slides makes them look modern. I think it’s because when you put an image in the middle of a slide, it creates four edges, but when you put an image against the edges of a slide, you don’t see those image edges as an extra viewing area for the viewer to process.
- Icon’s (are they iconic?)
Remember clip art of the ‘90s? While the new trend is simplified icons, we see the progression of them being clearer and cleaner; they don’t have a lot of extraneous lines in them. Icons need to be the same throughout, and be used to reinforce a topic, not ‘instead’ of. Don’t download icons for each page from different themes. Keep it clean and simple.
- Just say “no” to lists of bullets?
We sometimes need text on a slide, but after removing as much as possible, find a way to remove excess bullet points. Perhaps bold it, center it, but lists of bullets are read as follows—the first bullet, then the last bullet. Stop and think, “If its worth bullet points, shouldn’t we talk about it instead?”If you need further proof, did you start reading the first Tip, then scroll and read the last?