How to get the most from your powerpoint presentation

(Presentation girl woman hovering via Pixabay

From school, the majority of us are introduced to the powerpoint presentation to various degrees. While there are several other software options offering a similar service, you’ll find that the most common is still powerpoint. It is strange then, given the number of people that have used the program, that very few know how to get the most from their presentations. Whether you’re in education looking to inform your classmates and get a good grade, going to an interview attempting to impress potential employers or in a job and needing to give a presentation, the following post lists ten ways you can make your presentation more effective.

1. Choose your colours wisely

A good colour scheme can make or break a powerpoint. For this, there are a few things to consider; is the colour going to impede the colour of the text in anyway? (the last thing you want is to pick a black and white colour scheme and have to change your font colour to pink) Does it suit the purpose of the presentation? (e.g. if you were presenting at a job interview for a prestigious firm a simple style would be more beneficial and finally, think about what colours mean. All colours have connotations and will evoke certain reactions or expectations, even if they’re subconscious.

2. Animations are antiquated

You might have had fun with dizzying captions and dissolving statistics when first navigating powerpoint, however, the truth is that high-flying animations are a thing of the past. They will make your points feel forced and overdone. You are much more likely to impress by not using these and letting your content speak for itself.

3. The lost art of subtlety

This is something that has been hinted at in the previous points but it can’t be said enough that, often, less is more. This is very prevalent when considering the job satisfaction and production rates in the world’s hardest working countries compared to those with a shorter work day. In presentations, over-dressing your slides with endless facts or images will simply distract from the main point you’re trying to make. Keep it simple and astute.

4. Give yourself space

Keep your points as short as they can possibly be without removing essential content. There is no room for filler in a presentation. Bear in mind that the average attention span lasts around 14 minutes in adults, so spending unnecessary time is not what you want. This is also important for the format of your presentation. Give the design space between the content and the margins. If you clutter the slides with too many images and heavy blocks of writing you’re likely to lose your audience before you’ve even started.

5. Practise, practise and… practise.

Once you’ve written and checked your powerpoint, you need to hear it outloud. Often when writing you miss errors in the rhythm of the text, the last thing you want to happen is to trip over a poorly punctuated sentence during the presentation itself. Practise will also help you relax more when it comes to the presentation itself. Ideally, you want to get to a point where the queues of the presentation’s content trigger you into a separate dialogue about the content. Simply reading like a robot from a slide or with your head buried in a piece of paper will not engage your audience. Be confident, even if you’re not. Walk around and speak as if you were just talking with friends but in a professional manner. The trick with confidence, as many top performers have stated, is to fake it until you make it. Muhammed Ali, who appeared to be the most confident man in the world at one time, once said ‘I am the greatest. I said that before I knew I was.’