PowerPoint, or any similar slide-creation software you use, can be a great visual aid to any presentation. But it can also be frustrating for the viewer if the presenter hasn’t thought through the slide layout carefully or has been a little liberal with the animations. Take that principle and transport it into the world of online streams and presentations, and you could be at risk of detracting from your message rather than adding to it.
As a video creation and streaming company, we have seen all kinds of presentation slides. We hope that you will find these tips helpful when it comes to building your slide deck.
Tip 1 – Less is more… more or less
This is an old saying, and very well known… but one of the most common issues we see with presentation slides is overcrowding. The more information you cram into one slide, the more difficult it becomes for the audience to get anything useful from it.
- Can you spread the information over more than one slide?
- Can different elements on the slide appear in turn as you discuss the salient points?
- Could references and other supplementary information appear elsewhere in your deck?
Tip 2 – Summarise, don’t script
It’s a great idea to put some of the key points you are discussing up on the slide to help the audience cement those important facts in their minds. However, it’s tempting to write more for each point than you need to. The problem is your commentary doesn’t then add much to the written information on the slide when you want the audience to be listening as much as they are reading.
- Try to distil your points into 2-4 words
- If your point makes sense as a sentence on its own, it’s probably too long
Tip 3 – A picture speaks a thousand words
Presentation slides are a visual medium, but too often the slides we create are very text heavy. For visual learners, who process images better than text, it can be particularly helpful to include imagery that supports the point you are making rather than, or as well as, text.
- Can you think of an image that sums up what you are talking about?
- Is there another type of graphic or chart that represents the data you are communicating?
- Note: be cautious of copyright here – use images you own or a reputable stock image site
Tip 4 – Easy on the animations
Presentation software is often full of different animations and slide transitions to make your presentation more dynamic and interesting. The reality is, however, that 90% of them are a bit naff and more distracting than helpful. Our advice… keep it simple!
- Unless there is a very good reason, stick with a simple ‘appear’ animation
- Fade effects can also be used, but be aware that when streaming the viewers’ internet speeds may have an impact on how smooth this looks
- Rehearse it with the animations – the last thing you want is to have to interrupt the flow of what you are saying to allow an animation to finish
Tip 5 – Keep a safe distance
It can be very tempting, especially when you have a lot of information on one slide, to use the whole slide, right up to the very edge. It seems strange to use an old printing term in this very modern, digital medium but it is sensible to allow a safety margin around the edges of your slide. There is little chance that the information will be cropped by a misaligned print head, but it will look much more appealing visually with a thin border all around the slide.
Presentation slides are there to enhance what you are saying and following these simple tips should ensure they do just that.