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8 Tips to Make the Best PowerPoint Presentations
Bryan has worked in journalism and publishing for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, he's covered the technology beat, including gadgets, social media, security, and web culture. Before working as a freelancer, Bryan was the Managing Editor for The Next Web. These days he spends his time at a number of publications, both online and off, including The New York Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web, among others. Read more...
Slideshows are an intuitive way to share complex ideas with an audience, although they’re dull and frustrating when poorly executed. Here are some tips to make your Microsoft PowerPoint presentations sing while avoiding common pitfalls.
Table of Contents
Start with a goal, less is more, consider your typeface, make bullet points count, limit the use of transitions, skip text where possible, think in color, take a look from the top down, bonus: start with templates.
It all starts with identifying what we’re trying to achieve with the presentation. Is it informative, a showcase of data in an easy-to-understand medium? Or is it more of a pitch, something meant to persuade and convince an audience and lead them to a particular outcome?
It’s here where the majority of these presentations go wrong with the inability to identify the talking points that best support our goal. Always start with a goal in mind: to entertain, to inform, or to share data in a way that’s easy to understand. Use facts, figures, and images to support your conclusion while keeping structure in mind (Where are we now and where are we going?).
I’ve found that it’s helpful to start with the ending. Once I know how to end a presentation, I know how best to get to that point. I start by identifying the takeaway—that one nugget that I want to implant before thanking everyone for their time—and I work in reverse to figure out how best to get there.
Your mileage, of course, may vary. But it’s always going to be a good idea to put in the time in the beginning stages so that you aren’t reworking large portions of the presentation later. And that starts with a defined goal.
A slideshow isn’t supposed to include everything. It’s an introduction to a topic, one that we can elaborate on with speech. Anything unnecessary is a distraction. It makes the presentation less visually appealing and less interesting, and it makes you look bad as a presenter.
This goes for text as well as images. There’s nothing worse, in fact, than a series of slides where the presenter just reads them as they appear. Your audience is capable of reading, and chances are they’ll be done with the slide, and browsing Reddit, long before you finish. Avoid putting the literal text on the screen, and your audience will thank you.
RELATED: How to Burn Your PowerPoint to DVD
Right off the bat, we’re just going to come out and say that Papyrus and Comic Sans should be banned from all PowerPoint presentations, permanently. Beyond that, it’s worth considering the typeface you’re using and what it’s saying about you, the presenter, and the presentation itself.
Consider choosing readability over aesthetics, and avoid fancy fonts that could prove to be more of a distraction than anything else. A good presentation needs two fonts: a serif and sans-serif. Use one for the headlines and one for body text, lists, and the like. Keep it simple. Veranda, Helvetica, Arial, and even Times New Roman are safe choices. Stick with the classics and it’s hard to botch this one too badly.
There reaches a point where bullet points become less of a visual aid and more of a visual examination.
Bullet points should support the speaker, not overwhelm his audience. The best slides have little or no text at all, in fact. As a presenter, it’s our job to talk through complex issues, but that doesn’t mean that we need to highlight every talking point.
Instead, think about how you can break up large lists into three or four bullet points. Carefully consider whether you need to use more bullet points, or if you can combine multiple topics into a single point instead. And if you can’t, remember that there’s no one limiting the number of slides you can have in a presentation. It’s always possible to break a list of 12 points down into three pages of four points each.
Animation, when used correctly, is a good idea. It breaks up slow-moving parts of a presentation and adds action to elements that require it. But it should be used judiciously.
Adding a transition that wipes left to right between every slide or that animates each bullet point in a list, for example, starts to grow taxing on those forced to endure the presentation. Viewers get bored quickly, and animations that are meant to highlight specific elements quickly become taxing.
That’s not to say that you can’t use animations and transitions, just that you need to pick your spots. Aim for no more than a handful of these transitions for each presentation. And use them in spots where they’ll add to the demonstration, not detract from it.
Sometimes images tell a better story than text can. And as a presenter, your goal is to describe points in detail without making users do a lot of reading. In these cases, a well-designed visual, like a chart, might better convey the information you’re trying to share.
The right image adds visual appeal and serves to break up longer, text-heavy sections of the presentation—but only if you’re using the right images. A single high-quality image can make all the difference between a success and a dud when you’re driving a specific point home.
When considering text, don’t think solely in terms of bullet points and paragraphs. Tables, for example, are often unnecessary. Ask yourself whether you could present the same data in a bar or line chart instead.
Color is interesting. It evokes certain feelings and adds visual appeal to your presentation as a whole. Studies show that color also improves interest, comprehension, and retention. It should be a careful consideration, not an afterthought.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to use color well in a presentation. What I do is look for palettes I like, and then find ways to use them in the presentation. There are a number of tools for this, like Adobe Color , Coolors , and ColorHunt , just to name a few. After finding a palette you enjoy, consider how it works with the presentation you’re about to give. Pastels, for example, evoke feelings of freedom and light, so they probably aren’t the best choice when you’re presenting quarterly earnings that missed the mark.
It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t need to use every color in the palette. Often, you can get by with just two or three, though you should really think through how they all work together and how readable they’ll be when layered. A simple rule of thumb here is that contrast is your friend. Dark colors work well on light backgrounds, and light colors work best on dark backgrounds.
Spend some time in the Slide Sorter before you finish your presentation. By clicking the four squares at the bottom left of the presentation, you can take a look at multiple slides at once and consider how each works together. Alternatively, you can click “View” on the ribbon and select “Slide Sorter.”
Are you presenting too much text at once? Move an image in. Could a series of slides benefit from a chart or summary before you move on to another point?
It’s here that we have the opportunity to view the presentation from beyond the single-slide viewpoint and think in terms of how each slide fits, or if it fits at all. From this view, you can rearrange slides, add additional ones, or delete them entirely if you find that they don’t advance the presentation.
The difference between a good presentation and a bad one is really all about preparation and execution. Those that respect the process and plan carefully—not only the presentation as a whole, but each slide within it—are the ones who will succeed.
This brings me to my last (half) point: When in doubt, just buy a template and use it. You can find these all over the web, though Creative Market and GraphicRiver are probably the two most popular marketplaces for this kind of thing. Not all of us are blessed with the skills needed to design and deliver an effective presentation. And while a pre-made PowerPoint template isn’t going to make you a better presenter, it will ease the anxiety of creating a visually appealing slide deck.
- › How to Add Multi-Color Text in PowerPoint
- › How to Set the Preview Image for a Video in Microsoft PowerPoint
- › How to Practice Your Presentations with PowerPoint’s Presenter Coach
- › How to Match Colors With the Eyedropper in Microsoft PowerPoint
- › How to Use Motion Path Animations in Microsoft PowerPoint
- › Should You Buy a Projector for Gaming?
- › How to Start a PowerPoint Slideshow
- › What Is ChatGPT Plus?
How to Make a Boring Presentation Interesting
Whether presenting to colleagues at work or giving the keynote at a major conference, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides and other slide presentations have become an absolutely essential way to share information.
They’re easy to use, offer a great way to combine images, video, and text, and require almost no training.
So, why are so many presentations so BORING?
All the elements are there for creating effective, eye-catching, and engaging presentations, but so often we’re forced to sit through slide after slide of overcrowded, hard-to-read text and fuzzy (or non-existent) images.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need to be an expert at public speaking or worry about giving a Ted Talk level presentation.
You can make your presentations dazzle with just a few easy tips.
How to Make a Presentation Interesting
In order to be great, you need to combine story telling, authenticity, and visual supports.
Basically, it’s all about what you say, how you say it, and giving your audience cool slides to look at while you say it.
Tell a story
Often times when we think about how to make a presentation interesting, we focus on the visuals. We add animations and transitions, hoping that will keep our audience engaged.
Cool slide designs can help, there’s no doubt about that, but if most of your attention and time is spent on that portion of the presentation you are missing out on a key element that is crucial for making presentations interesting – the story.
The best presentations draw in their viewers with a relatable narrative, but the narrative also helps the presentation to gain memorability as well.
You should be spending a large portion of your preparation time on crafting your content – the actual information you will be sharing and how you will be sharing it. It deosn’t matter how cool your slide designs are if they aren’t supporting compelling content.
You don’t have to weave an epic tale for your presentation, but if you are looking to make your presentation interesting you need to incorporate some story telling aspects, like personal connection and impact. As you sit down to write, consider these questions:
- What am I sharing?
- Why is it important?
- What can my audience do with the information once they have it?
These questions help you get to the most important part of any communication – the purpose.
Most presentations try to accomplish one or two of these purposes:
- To persuade
- To entertain
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Whether you want your presentation to inspire or to inform and persuade, you can build your story to achieve the goal!
You’ll need an outline so that your purpose is kept at the centre of your presentation and so that you follow a familiar structure. You need to make sure that you have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Presentations that are interesting from beginning to end take the audience on a journey. If you just recite facts and highlight data your audience won’t be engaged enough to do anything with the information, but if you go on too many tangents with personal anecdotes you will lose them to confusion about what they are meant to be learning.
To create an interesting presentation, before getting to the cool slides, be sure you structure your content in a way that makes it easy to tell the story and provide your audience with a journey that is relevant and memorable.
Be authentic and engaging
A key point that often gets forgotten when preparing presentations? YOU are the presentation.
If you are putting on a show, creating a persona that you believe your audience would be more interested in or confident about, the audience will pick up on it almost immediately. The whole experience will be awkward for everyone.
Instead, lean in to the parts of your personality that best serve the presentation’s purpose. Tell personal stories, speak in the same manner you normally do, and be open.
Your energy is contagious. If you want to make your presentation more interesting, you’ve got to bring the right energy.
High energy presenters get more engagement from their audiences, while coming in with low energy is a surefire way to destroy any hope of engagement, regardless of how good a story you have crafted with your presentation’s content.
Memorize your content rather than relying on reading your slides, and be sure to use different speeds and volumes throughout the presentation in order to make it more interesting, draw attention to specific points, and present authentically.
Prepare cool presentation slides
A recent study found that poorly constructed PowerPoint decks can lead to “distraction, boredom, and impeded learning,” while a well-crafted one enhances audience engagement and information retention .
Plus, let’s not forget that PowerPoint is a visual medium . People didn’t come to your presentation to read text off a slide. They came to listen to you present important information. And, the best way to present information is with visuals.
In fact, our research on the Value of Visuals shows that people actually absorb information faster and remember it better and for longer when it’s presented visually vs. text.
And a visual presentation doesn’t just help your audience, it will help you too!
Another recent study found that 91% of people feel that a well-designed slide deck would make them feel more confident when giving a presentation.
So, not only will your audience enjoy your presentation and get more out of it, you’ll feel like a better presenter!
It’s a win-win!
Improving Your Internal Communications
A guide to how visual content can help create a more collaborative and productive work environment.
How to Make Your Slides Look Cool
While your content is crucial to the strength of your presentation, your slide deck has the power to add to or take away from the overall effectiveness. Learning how to make a presentation more interesting requires skillful collaboration between the strength of your content and knowing how to make your slides look cool.
Less is more
Learning how to make a presentation more interesting has a lot to do with learning what not to include on your slides. Less is more when it comes to slide content.
Your slides should not be stuffed with content, especially text heavy content. Incorporating speaking points rather than fully developed ideas helps your audience follow your message without getting distracted by trying to read the slide.
It doesn’t matter how cool your slide design is if you crowd in too much content.
Use cool slide designs
You don’t have to start from scratch with every presentation! Chances are, you are not a graphic designer so why not use the templates that have been created by professionals?
Using these presentation templates can help you make cool Powerpoint slides, cool Google slides, or slides for other platforms as well without spending too much time trying to create a professional look.
You can easily find templates online for Google Slides and for Powerpoint. Each of these platforms offer themes within their software as well.
These templates and themes have all been created by professional designers, so while you will need to make minor adjustments you should refrain from making significant changes to the cool slide designs you are using.
Using consistent branding is an easy way to build familiarity and trust with your audience. If you have an established brand in place be sure to use it when building your slides.
The colors and fonts used in your design should always adhere to your brand standards without deviation.
If you don’t have a brand guide to work from, select a specific color palette, using color theory to ensure the message of your presentation is not counteracted by your color choices.
Stick with just a few colors, and go the same route with fonts. Only choose a few to use, and try to avoid overly scripty options as they are difficult to read on screen.
Use quality images
Adding images to your cool slides that are blurry, pixelated, or otherwise low in quality is an easy way to let your audience “check out” of your presentation.
If you don’t have access to high quality branded photos, use sites like Unsplash and Shutterstock to access high quality images for your presentations.
Adding screenshots can make your presentation more interesting than stock photos. Screenshots add a level of personalization that can’t be achieved with the use of generic photos.
You can capture fantastic screenshots and even add highlights and notations with Snagit. Download your free trial here .
A great way to reduce the amount of text content on your slides is with the use of infographics.
Infographics are a great tool for making presentations interesting because they can successfully convey a lot of data in a visually interesting way.
You don’t have to lock yourself in to the idea of charts as the primary visual for your infographics anymore.
You can display many an idea through a good infographic, like steps in a process or historical values, and they are an excellent addition to your cool presentation slides.
Add cool transitions to your slides
Adding transitions to your slides is a great way to make a presentation interesting. There is a fine balance to strike though between using enough and using too many.
Limiting transitions to one per slide is a good place to start. These additions make your presentation more interactive and appealing.
Use GIFs & memes
If you want to make a presentation more interesting, a GIF or two added to highlight some key points is a great way to go.
GIFs are a great middle ground option between static images and videos. They can be used very effectively to drive home a specific point or to highlight a specific piece of data.
GIFs are a great way to make your presentation more interesting and more memorable. Visuals always help with memorability and GIFs usually include a touch of humor and personality – both qualities that help information stick.
While you are creating your cool slide designs, you may find the perfect place for a meme. These can be an effective tool, especially if the subject matter you are covering is light hearted, but use them with caution.
They have the potential to go too far with the humor and that can detract from the focus of your presentation.
We live in a video world. A lot of the workforce is now comprised of Millennial and Gen Z workers.
Something important to note about these two generations is that they have spent a lot of time consuming video content – it is a very comfortable medium for them and can be a really effective tool for keeping them engaged.
Embedding videos directly into your slides can play a role in creating an interesting presentation.
However, using too many videos (more than 3 in a standard presentation) can take away the impact your own content has, and using videos that are too long (longer than 2 minutes) can detract from your authority as the speaker – so choose wisely.
Create a Video to Share Your Cool Slides After Your Presentation
You’ve now spent a lot of time and energy creating your presentation. You’ve done all you can to make it interesting and perfectly appealing for your audience. It would be a shame to only use it once!
You can make your presentation a reusable asset simply by turning it into a video. You have already taken the steps to make it visually appealing so it is naturally suitable to video format.
You don’t need to add any new content, just a simple voiceover . You can use Snagit to screen record the presentation slides and Camtasia to add a voice over recording of you presenting the content!
Doing this means that you can send your presentation to anyone who couldn’t attend in real time. You can also send it as followup material to those who did attend so that they can continue to access it as they need to.
FAQs about Successful Presentations with Cool Slides
To make a powerpoint presentation interesting you can consider the following:Tell a story Be authentic and engaging Create cool presentation slides
Google Slides and Microsoft Powerpoint both have built in capacity to add transitions on your cool slide designs.
You can find themes to make your presentation more interesting in the design settings on both Microsoft Powerpoint and Google Slides.
Marketing Content Specialist at TechSmith
- The Ultimate Guide to Easily Make Instructional Videos
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Author, speaker, coach, 10 easy ways to make any powerpoint presentation awesome.
Updated to Speaking on May 3, 2023.
This post was updated in 2023.
It was 20 minutes before lunch, my client was frantically looking at the clock, and the audience was squirming. We had suffered through endless forgettable PowerPoint slides and were all hoping for a merciful end. That’s when the presenter announced, “I see I’m running out of time, so I’ll just hurry through my last 30 slides.”
We’ve all suffered through slide shows with long lists of unreadable bullets, unnecessary YouTube clips, and overuse of graphics. Instead of holding our attention and making their point even stronger, each slide distracts the audience with more content they don’t need. Bad slides are agnostic. You can use PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Slides, or hold up a piece of paper – it’s all a distraction if you don’t do it well.
Done well, a thoughtfully prepared slide deck can be the perfect slide dish for your full meal presentation. Done poorly and your audience will feel like they made one too many trips to the buffet table. This post will help you do it well.
For the first years of my speaking career, I presented with 35mm slides. You know, the photographs framed by cardboard that got jammed in the projector? That was me – hauling out the projector, clicking in the carousel, and praying that tonight it would all work. I soon learned that the more slides I showed the less the audience listened to me. So I cut back on the slides. I also noticed that when I switched to a black screen (see #9) the audience turned all their attention to me. So I practiced fading to black whenever I told a story or had an important point to make.
How I started
When I switched to PowerPoint I suddenly had a candy shop full of treats to sweeten my presentations with. And I started making all the same mistakes again: too many slides, too much content on each slide, and too distracting. After every presentation I always do a quick debrief – what worked, what needs to change? And slowly I developed a checklist for slide presentations.
I have shared with checklist with hundreds of speakers to help put the spotlight on them. Some were designing a new speech, some were preparing for a webinar and others needed slides to back up a video presentation. In every case, this checklist made their presentation better. They sold more products, got more referrals, and, in most cases, spent a lot less time working on their slide deck.
If you’ve ever struggled to create interesting slides or worry your slides are too wordy or you have too many of them, this will help.
Here are my 10 easy ways to make any PowerPoint presentation awesome.
1. Build your slides last
This might be the most important rule on the list. Don’t build your slide deck until you build your presentation.
You could be tempted to start monkeying with slides early in your speech writing process – after all, it’s a fun way to procrastinate from all that hard thinking – don’t. Building your slide deck before you build your presentation is like building a road before you know where it’s going.
Your slides are there to ADD to a well-designed speech, not to replace it.
2. Don’t try to replace you
People come to hear you. If you are launching your service on a webinar, they want to know how this solution has helped you and whether is it right for them. If you are delivering a keynote speech or workshop, they want a glimpse into your solutions that can help move them forward in their work or in life.
Fancy transitions, superfluous video clips, and endless bullet points will get your audience’s attention, but take their attention off of you. Every time you hit the clicker the audience leaves you and goes to the screen.
Your goal for every presentation is to deliver the goods, not the slides.
3. Use a consistent theme
We are easily distracted and confused. That’s why brands always anchor advertising on their unique colors, fonts, slogan, or a jingle. They know that consistency in their brand theme builds recognition and puts more attention on the message. You should do that with your slides.
Start with a simple, white background and san serif fonts.
A consistent, simple theme helps your audience focus on the content of each slide. Watch TED talks that have gone viral to see how simple a slide theme can be, like the ones by Dan Pink The puzzle of motivation (30M views), and Shawn Achor The happy secret to better work (25M views).
4. More images, less text
Want to quickly reenergize a tired slide deck? Make your images larger ( in this post I share where to get free images ) and reduce the text size. Remember, the theme in this post is that you are the presentation, not your slides.
Your brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text. When you use images (and less text) you allow your audience to process the image without distracting them away from your powerful story, or making a critical point. Like subtle mood music in the background of a dramatic movie scene, images can augment and enhance what you are saying without stealing the show.
5. One story per slide
When I started using PowerPoint I would have 60 to 80 slides for a 60-minute speech. It was a lot of work to prepare each deck and when I was deep into the speech I would sometimes forget where I was and have to jump forward a couple of slides.
Then it became 30-35 slides and I could breathe easier, knowing that fewer clicks meant less to worry about. As my confidence grew it became 10-12 slides and each slide became a key part of storytelling or point-making—they had to earn their place.
I might use a slide as a backdrop to a story or for a short list that supports a lesson I’m delivering. Either way, it’s always on ‘story’ per slide. If I don’t need a slide, I fade to black (#9).
But, I always stick to one story per slide.
6. Reveal one bullet at a time
This is an easy one – reveal one bullet at a time. The function of bullets is to reinforce (not replace) what you are delivering. That’s why they need to be short (see the 2/4/8 rule, below). A good bullet point is complete on it’s own, but much better when combined with a live presentation of it. Here’s an example from a list of (very wordy) time management strategies:
- Infrequent visits to your Inbox give you more time for deep work
- time blocking allows you to protect time for important work
- the Pomodoro technique can help you focus with fewer distractions
A better list – like one you might use on a PowerPoint slide – would be:
- visit your Inbox less often
- block time for important work
- the Pomodoro technique helps you focus
To reveal one bullet at a time in PowerPoint, right-click on your text box, select Custom Animation > Add Entrance Effect and then choose the effect you want. In Keynote, click Animate > Build in and choose the effect you want.
7. Leave the fireworks to Disney
It’s great that you know how to turn text into flames and make images spin with the click of your mouse – but leave those fireworks to Disney. Your job is to make your content the star of the show. Every time you haul the audience’s attention away to some animation you lose a truckload of opportunity to help them.
Your slides can still be amazing and helpful, but that should always be secondary to your primary purpose of helping people. Simple transitions, clean, san serif fonts, and large, attractive graphics trump PowerPoint tricks, every time.
8. The 2/4/8 rule
When I am advising other speakers I often don’t know their topic—certainly not as well as they do. So I rely on certain rules I have developed over many years. For slide decks, I use my 2/4/8 rule. Here’s how it goes…
- about every 2 minutes I have a new slide (that’s 30 slides for a 60-minute speech),
- no more than 4 bullets per slide, and
- no more than 8 words per bullet.
Just like any recipe, you can mess with the ingredient a bit. If your content is more technical, you might need more slides. Sometimes I need 5 or 6 bullets. I use the 2/4/8 rule to remind me that slides are there to support what I have to say, not replace me.
9. Fade to black
The last time I was shopping for a car, I noticed the salesperson had a clever technique. While he asked how I liked the car and if I had any questions, he kept his sales offer face-down on the table. Because there were no other distractions, he had my full attention. And when it was time to reveal his offer, it was much more dramatic (so was the price!) Use the same technique with your slides.
When you fade to black you regain your audience’s attention. For example, after I present a solution, I’ll fade to black while I expound on how to apply that solution in my audience’s work/life. When I’m finished, I turn black off and go to the next point. Or if I’m halfway through a story I’ll fade to back before the punchline so I know I have everyone’s attention.
It’s no different than a close-up scene in a movie—the director wants you to focus only on the speaker. Note that if you are shopping for a slide remote, be sure that yours has the black screen feature.
10. When in doubt, delete
This might be the most advice I can leave you with. When in doubt, delete it.
There is a weird attraction to more. Authors add more pages thinking it makes the book more valuable. Sales people who talk too much miss the opportunity to ask for the sale. And presenters add more slides thinking it will make them look better. Wrong.
When you are doing the final edits on your slide deck, the ultimate question you should be asking about each slide is, “Will it make my speech better?” If not, dump it.
Remember, nobody will miss what isn’t there. Also fewer slides allows you more time for side stories, spontaneous thoughts or even time for Q&A.
I’ve said it numerous times in this post, but it’s worth repeating. You are the show, not your slides. More slides means more time your audience is not paying attention to you. Fewer (and better) slides means you have more time to build rapport, share memorable stories, explain your solutions and motivate your audience to action. You are there for a reason. Now go and deliver.
One last thing. Spend the $80 and pack a remote (with spare batteries.) Nothing’s worse than watching a speaker repeatedly lean over, hunt for the right key, and then peck away to advance the slides.
If you enjoyed this article, here is more about presentation skills:
How the experts create world-class PowerPoint Slides (and you can too) PowerPoint Primer – the only 3 slides you’ll ever need How to add video to PowerPoint and Keynote like a pro
Slide by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
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10 Ways To Make Your PowerPoint Slideshow More Engaging
Can be used for any kind of presentation
Delivering presentations via PowerPoint doesn’t have to be boring. No matter who your audience is, you can create slides that are engaging, effective, and to the point. PowerPoint Slideshows can incorporate video , be converted to DVD, PDF and more .
Before you create the first slide, identify the goal of your presentation. What do you want your audience to learn, understand, and do at the end?
Create an outline, do your research, and consider your audience. Map out the main points you want to deliver, include supporting details, and determine where visuals will have the most impact.
This article will outline ten tips to design a presentation to deliver an engaging PowerPoint slideshow presentation.
- Tell a story.
- Don’t use too much text.
- Represent your content visually with images.
- Use bullet points effectively.
- Font style and size.
- Add some humor.
- Include some metaphors.
- Don’t tell them, show them.
- Present date using SmartArt.
- Transitions and animations.
Tell a Story
When you are planning and preparing your outline, think about the content as a continuous story.
Structure your presentation the same way you would a speech or essay. Start with an introduction, add supporting points, and then conclude with a summary and call-to-action (CTA).
Don’t Use Too Much Text
PowerPoint is a visual aid for your PowerPoint presentation. Your slides should add to your speech, not replace it. Too much text can be confusing and distracting to your audience.
In the example above, the audience will be reading the slide and won’t hear what you are saying.
Break up the text into multiple slides and elaborate on them while you are presenting. Try something more straightforward and more concise such as the slide below:
The slide above is your title slide. The colors and font size draw your eye to the short text. It’s easy to read quickly so that your audience can turn their attention to what you are saying rather than reading a slide.
For subsequent slides, use the most salient point of what you will be discussing and make it visually appealing as in the example below.
You should use the text as a summary to emphasize your talking points.
The human brain processes images faster than text. Use images or other visuals in your presentation to help get your point across, enhance what you are saying, and elicit emotions from your audience.
To illustrate this point, we can replace the first slide above with too much text while staying with the same content about how businesses can target their B2B audience.
When you move onto the slide below in your PowerPoint presentation, it tells the audience that a businessman is happy and has hit the target.
There is no need to use words on the screen to relay this message as the image tells the story itself. The audience will see it, understand what it means instantly, and then focus their attention on what you are saying.
Use Bullet Points Effectively
Bullet points are useful in PowerPoint when trying to break up chunks of text that will cause your audience to read your presentation rather than listen to you speak.
Use bullet points to simplify content and list key information. Limit the number of bullet points to no more than five per slide. You can also add a little creativity by using a different icon for the bullet point concept. See the screenshot below.
During your PowerPoint presentation, have one bullet appear at a time. Discuss the content related to each bullet point before moving on to the next one.
Avoid using full sentences as this will defeat the purpose which is to convey only the key point.
Font Style & Size
The font you choose must be legible and easy to read on a screen. If you’re planning to import it into Visme for a business presentation or saving it for a Google Slideshow , be sure to use a large enough font size so that everyone in the room can see it. It’s fine to use exciting, eccentric, or fun fonts but do so in moderation.
Highlight headlines and focus words by using larger fonts and different colors to make them stand out from the other text. Be consistent throughout your PowerPoint presentation to not distract your audience.
Add Some Humor
Using humor during your presentation will help build rapport with your audience, put them at ease, and make them more receptive to your content.
Tell personal stories based on your real-life experience or use a funny analogy. Make sure your humor is relevant to your audience and your overall objective.
Use humor wisely, sparingly, and with discretion. Avoid anything offensive. If you have any doubt that your joke or story might offend someone, don’t use it.
Below are a few ways to add humor to your PowerPoint presentation:
- If you can think of a movie that is relevant to the topic of your presentation, find a clip of it and embed it into your PowerPoint.
- Use a funny meme that captures your point.
- Insert an animated GIF into your presentation.
When used sparingly and in good taste, humor can add a little levity to your presentation.
The image above is an animated GIF. When you are playing your slideshow, it will show the animation.
Include Some Metaphors
Metaphors bring a conversation to life. They keep your audience engaged when used in a presentation. A metaphor is a figure of speech that is representative or symbolic of something else.
For example, if you want to want to talk about a business journey or roadmap, use an image of an actual road with street signs like in the slide below.
Using metaphors adds some creativity to your PowerPoint presentation.
Don’t Tell Them, Show Them
PowerPoint presentations are visual aids. Rather than speak about and use text to describe something, include it on your slides. For example, if you are pitching a new website design, add visual elements of the site on your slides to show the new design to your audience.
Using the same example of a new website, if the site is live online in a beta or sandbox environment, link to it from the presentation to show it in action.
Present Data Using SmartArt
PowerPoint includes a diagramming tool called SmartArt. Use it to visually present information and data and creatively communicate your ideas. Convert bullet points into SmartArt for a more unique design option when you want to turn them into information and explainer videos.
Transitions & Animations
Animations affect how the elements on your slide move during a slideshow. They can enhance the appearance of your slides and help you control the delivery pace of your presentation.
Subtle and simple animations are most effective because they are not overwhelming. For example, for bullet points, use a wipe left-to-right or top-to-bottom instead of having them fly in and out.
Don’t bore your audience and make them wait for too many animations on one slide. Transitions refer to the type of animation between slides. Don’t use a different transition for every slide. Stick to two or three different transition effects.
Using too many of either will make your PowerPoint presentation chaotic, confusing, and annoying.
Practice Makes Perfect
After you have created your PowerPoint presentation, go through your slides and rehearse how you will present them in front of an audience. Also, practice your tone, delivery and timings.
Follow the suggestions above to make your presentation more engaging. Run through it as often as you need. You want to be confident and prepared when you deliver it to your audience.
David has a background in small business and lives in Australia. He is a WordPress and Ubuntu Developer who enjoys design, CSS and tech tool integration. Read David's Full Bio
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Home Blog Presentation Ideas 23 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Creating Engaging and Interactive Presentations
23 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Creating Engaging and Interactive Presentations
PowerPoint presentations are not usually known for being engaging or interactive. That’s often because most people treat their slides as if they are notes to read off and not a tool to help empower their message.
Your presentation slides are there to help bring to life the story you are telling. They are there to provide visuals and empower your speech.
So how do you go about avoiding a presentation “snoozefest” and instead ensure you have an engaging and interactive presentation? By making sure that you use your slides to help YOU tell your story, instead of using them as note cards to read off of.
The key thing to remember is that your presentation is there to compliment your speech, not be its focus.
In this article, we will be going over several tips and tricks on how you can become a storytelling powerhouse by building a powerful and engaging PowerPoint presentation.
Start with writing your speech outline, not with putting together slides
Use more images and less text, use high-quality images, keep the focus on you and your presentation, not the powerpoint, your presentation should be legible from anywhere in the room, use a consistent presentation design, one topic per slide, avoid information overwhelm by using the “rule of three”.
- Display one bullet at a time
Avoid unnecessary animations
- Only add content that supports your main points
Do not use PowerPoint as a teleprompter
- Never Give Out Copies of the Presentation
Re-focus the attention on you by fading into blackness
Change the tone of your voice when presenting, host an expert discussion panel, ask questions, embed videos, use live polling to get instant feedback and engage the audience.
- He kept his slides uncluttered and always strived for simplicity
- He was known to use large font size, the bigger, the better.
- He found made the complex sound simple.
He was known to practice, practice, and keep on practicing.
Summary – how to make your presentation engaging & interactive, fundamental rules to building powerful & engaging presentation slides.
Before we go into tips and tricks on how to add flair to your presentations, it’s essential to get the fundamentals of your presentation right.
Your PowerPoint presentation is there to compliment your message, and the story you are telling. Before you can even put together slides, you need to identify the goal of your speech, and the key takeaways you want your audience to remember.
YOU and your speech are the focus of this presentation, not the slides – use your PowerPoint to compliment your story.
Keep in mind that your slides are there to add to your speech, not distract from it. Using too much text in your slides can be distracting and confusing to your audience. Instead, use a relevant picture with minimal text, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
This slide is not unusual, but is not a visual aid, it is more like an “eye chart”.
Aim for something simpler, easy to remember and concise, like the slides bellow.
Keep in mind your audience when designing your presentation, their background and aesthetics sense. You will want to avoid the default clip art and cheesy graphics on your slides.
While presenting make sure to control the presentation and the room by walking around, drawing attention to you and what you are saying. You should occasionally stand still when referencing a slide, but never turn your back to your audience to read your slide.
You and your speech are the presentations; the slides are just there to aid you.
Most season presenters don’t use anything less than twenty-eight point font size, and even Steve Jobs was known to use nothing smaller than forty point text fonts.
If you can’t comfortably fit all the text on your slide using 28 font size than you’re trying to say and cram too much into the slide, remember tip #1.4 – Use relevant images instead and accompany it with bullets.
Best Practice PowerPoint Presentation Tips
The job of your presentation is to help convey information as efficiently and clearly as possible. By keeping the theme and design consistent, you’re allowing the information and pictures to stand out.
However by varying the design from slide to slide, you will be causing confusion and distracting from the focus, which is you and the information to be conveyed on the slide.
Each slide should try and represent one topic or talking point. The goal is to keep the attention focused on your speech, and by using one slide per talking point, you make it easy for you to prepare, as well as easy for your audience to follow along with your speech.
Sometimes when creating our presentation, we can often get in our heads and try to over explain. A simple way to avoid this is to follow the “ Rule of Three ,” a concept coined by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
The idea is to stick to only 3 main ideas that will help deliver your point. Each of the ideas can be further broken into 3 parts to explain further. The best modern example of this “Rule of Three” can be derived from the great Apple presentations given by Steve Jobs – they were always structured around the “Rule of Three.”
Display one sentence at a time
If you are planning to include text in your slides, try to avoid bullet lists, and use one slide per sentence. Be short and concise. This best practice focuses on the idea that simple messages are easy to retain in memory. Also, each slide can follow your storytelling path, introducing the audience in each concept while you speak, instead of listing everything beforehand.
Presentation Blunders To Avoid
In reality, there is no need for animations or transitions in your slides.
It’s great to know how to turn your text into fires or how to create a transition with sparkle effects, but the reality is the focus should be on the message. Using basic or no transitions lets the content of your presentation stand out, rather than the graphics.
If you plan to use animations, make sure to use modern and professional animations that helps the audience follow the story you are telling, for example when explaining time series or changing events over time.
Only add engaging content that supports your main points
You might have a great chart, picture or even phrase you want to add, but when creating every slide, it’s crucial to ask yourself the following question.
“Does this slide help support my main point?”
If the answer is no, then remove it. Remember, less is more.
A common crutch for rookie presenters is to use slides as their teleprompter.
First of all, you shouldn’t have that much text on your slides. If you have to read off something, prepare some index cards that fit in your hand but at all costs do not turn your back on your audience and read off of your PowerPoint. The moment you do that, you make the presentation the focus, and lose the audience as the presenter.
Avoid To Give Out Copies of the Presentation
At least not before you deliver a killer presentation; providing copies of your presentation gives your audience a possible distraction where they can flip through the copy and ignore what you are saying.
It’s also easy for them to take your slides out of context without understanding the meaning behind each slide. It’s OK to give a copy of the presentation, but generally it is better to give the copies AFTER you have delivered your speech. If you decide to share a copy of your presentation, the best way to do it is by generating a QR code for it and placing it at the end of your presentation. Those who want a copy can simply scan and download it onto their phones.
Tips To Making Your Presentation More Engaging
The point of your presentation is to help deliver a message.
When expanding on a particularly important topic that requires a lengthy explanation it’s best to fade the slide into black. This removes any distraction from the screen and re-focuses it on you, the present speaker. Some presentation devices have a built-in black screen button, but if they don’t, you can always prepare for this by adding a black side into your presentation at the right moment.
“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
Part of making your presentation engaging is to use all the tools at your disposal to get your point across. Changing the inflection and tone of your voice as you present helps make the content and the points more memorable and engaging.
One easy and powerful way to make your presentation interactive is experts to discuss a particular topic during your presentation. This helps create a more engaging presentation and gives you the ability to facilitate and lead a discussion around your topic.
It’s best to prepare some questions for your panel but to also field questions from the audience in a question and answer format.
How To Make Your Presentation More Interactive
What happens if I ask you to think about a pink elephant? You probably briefly think about a pink elephant, right?
Asking questions when presenting helps engage the audience, arouse interest and curiosity. It also has the added benefit of making people pay closer attention, in case they get called on.
So don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if rhetorical; asking a question engages a different part of our brain. It causes us to reflect rather than merely taking in the information one way. So ask many them.
Asking questions can also be an excellent way to build suspense for the next slide.
(Steve Jobs was known to ask questions during his presentations, in this slide he built suspense by asking the audience “Is there space for a device between a cell phone and a laptop?” before revealing the iPad) Source: MacWorld SF 2018
Remember the point of your presentation is to get a message across and although you are the presenter, it is completely fine to use video in your PowerPoint to enhance your presentation. A relevant video can give you some breathing time to prepare the next slides while equally informing the audience on a particular point.
CAUTION: Be sure to test the video beforehand, and that your audience can hear it in the room.
A trending engagement tool among presenters is to use a live polling tool to allow the audience to participate and collect immediate feedback.
Using a live polling tool is a fun and interactive way to engage your audience in real-time and allowing them to participate in part of your presentation.
Google Slides has a built-in Q&A feature that allows presenters to make the slide deck more interactive by providing answer to audience’s questions. By using the Q&A feature in Google Slides, presenters can start a live Q&A session and people can ask questions directly from their devices including mobile and smartphones.
Key Takeaways from one of the best presenters, Steve Jobs
He kept his slides uncluttered and always strove for simplicity.
In this slide, you can easily see he is talking about the battery life, and it uses a simple image and a few words. Learning from Jobs, you can also make a great presentation too. Focus on the core benefit of your product and incorporate great visuals.
Source: Macworld 2008
SlideModel.com can help to reproduce high-impact slides like these, keeping your audience engaging.
He was known to use large font size, the bigger, the better
A big font makes it hard to miss the message on the slide, and allows the audience to focus on the presenter while clearing the understanding what the point of the slide is.
He found made the complex sound simple
When explaining a list of features, he used a simple image and lines or simple tables to provide visual cues to his talking points.
(This particular slide is referencing the iMac features)
What made Steve Jobs the master of presentation, was the ritual of practicing with his team, and this is simple yet often overlooked by many presenters. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking you don’t need to practice because you know the material so well.
While all these tips will help you create a truly powerful presentation , it can only achieve if applied correctly.
It’s important to remember when trying to deliver an amazing experience, you should be thoroughly prepared. This way, you can elevate your content presentation, convey your message effectively and captivate your audience.
This includes having your research cited, your presentation rehearsed. Don’t just rehearse your slides, also take time to practice your delivery, and your tone. The more you rehearse, the more relaxed you will be when delivering. The more confident you will feel.
While we can’t help you with the practicing of your next presentation, we can help you by making sure you look good, and that you have a great design and cohesiveness.
You focus on the message and content; we’ll focus on making you look good.
Have a tip you would like to include? Be sure to mention it in the comments!
Like this article? Please share
Audience, Engaging, Feedback, Interactive, Poll, Rule of Three, Steve Jobs Filed under Presentation Ideas
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2 Responses to “23 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Creating Engaging and Interactive Presentations”
Very great advices!
Greetings ! A compact composed communication for the host to have an impact -VOICE
Thank You ?
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How to Make a Great PowerPoint Presentation
Last Updated: May 4, 2023 References Tested
This article was co-authored by Maureen Taylor . Maureen Taylor is the CEO and Founder of SNP Communications, a leadership communications company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been helping leaders, founders, and innovators in all sectors hone their messaging and delivery for almost 30 years, and has worked with leaders and teams at Google, Facebook, Airbnb, SAP, Salesforce, and Spotify. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. The wikiHow Tech Team also followed the article's instructions and verified that they work. This article has been viewed 491,096 times.
PowerPoint is a Microsoft Office Suite program which is used to make presentation slideshows, combining text and images to create captivating and motivating presentations. However, the skills and secrets to make these excellent presentations are often, simply not there within the ones who make them! If you feel your presentation could use a little extra something, read below for some helpful ideas to take it from so-so to absolutely amazing.
Create Your Narrative
- The structure of an academic presentation should follow roughly the same structure as an academic paper, first introducing your main point, supporting it with evidence, and then a short conclusion.
- The Problem
- Your solution
- Business model
- Underlying magic/technology
- Marketing and sales
- Projections and milestones
- Status and timeline
- Summary and call to action
Utilize the Format
Nail Your Presentation
- It’s not enough to show why your information is important to someone else; you have to make it important to your audience. Make them understand why they should care. For example, don’t give a lecture on history and just expect students to care. You need to show them how that history directly ties to current events and affects their lives. Look for parallels and direct correlations to tie your information to your audience.
Sample PowerPoint Presentations
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- If you're using Flickr Creative Commons images, make sure you give attribution to the owner of the picture (you can do a whole page of credits at the end of your presentation). ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Remember the 10/20/30 Rule -- no more than 10 slides, no longer than 20 minutes, and no smaller than 30 point font. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Don't use someone else's image unless you are sure that you have permission to do so. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Even if you miss a slide or miss a topic, avoid fumbling to find it. Move along and just before the end, say that you need an important addition to be looked upon which you had skipped purposely and then revert to the slide that you have missed and fill in the gaps. At no point should it be felt that you are not in-charge of your own PPT. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 19 Not Helpful 1
- Sometimes the projector you are using may develop a problem. Be patient and let the appropriate authorities handle it. Do not swear or sweat , it happens! Then, once it's fixed, you may continue from where you left with a smile or a short joke or, if the repair took a very long time, start from the beginning. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 17 Not Helpful 1
- Never read your slides word for word. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 23 Not Helpful 4
- Do not overdo with the transitions and slide animations, as it can become a distraction ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 9 Not Helpful 2
- Practice makes perfect. Finish your presentation and then speak it out loud. Try again until you have it "down." ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/how-to-create-a-great-powerpoint-presentation.html
- ↑ http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngreathouse/2012/09/24/9-easy-ways-to-create-powerpoint-slides-that-suck-less/
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A good presentation needs two fonts: a serif and sans-serif. Use one for the headlines and one for body text, lists, and the like. Keep it simple. Veranda, Helvetica, Arial, and even Times New Roman are safe choices. Stick with the classics and it's hard to botch this one too badly.
Limiting transitions to one per slide is a good place to start. These additions make your presentation more interactive and appealing. Use GIFs & memes. If you want to make a presentation more interesting, a GIF or two added to highlight some key points is a great way to go. GIFs are a great middle ground option between static images and videos.
1. Build your slides last. This might be the most important rule on the list. Don't build your slide deck until you build your presentation. You could be tempted to start monkeying with slides early in your speech writing process - after all, it's a fun way to procrastinate from all that hard thinking - don't.
4. Invest The Majority Of Your Time in Writing Great Content. One way to make sure your presentation is interesting is to spend enough time on writing. (Image source: Envato Elements) Preparing a presentation is a process. It consists of many steps. How you divide your time among those steps is critical.
On the right side, you're likely to see a variety of slide masters that control designs for many slides. Drop the elements that you want to remain consistent onto one of the slide masters. 8. Use the Alignment Feature. PowerPoint presentation slides look better when the objects on them are in line with one another.
Want to make a PowerPoint presentation that is fun, interesting, engaging, and, well, not boring?! We've got some great tips to turn those boring PowerPoint ...
Add animation. Put together seamless transitions. Use text creatively. Align objects with the grid. Create non-linear presentations. Place shapes strategically. Crop images into shapes. Utilize the presenter notes. Use a dynamic presentation software.
5 Quick Tips Make Your PowerPoint Presentations More Attractive. There are simple tweaks that you can make to your creative PowerPoint presentation to help it come to life. With just a few adjustments, you can help your presentation stand out from the crowd! Here are five tips that'll transform your presentation into an unforgettable one: 1.
Here's a list of 14 ways you can earn greater audience participation during your presentations: 1. Incorporate audience decision-making. A traditional presentation usually has a set order of slides or points. However, many presentations benefit from adopting a much more flexible structure that requires audience input.
1 Start your interactive presentation with an icebreaker. The first step is creating a rapport with your audience. You can do this by helping them to get to know you a little better and get to know each other as well. The way you go about this will depend on the size of your audience.
Practice Makes Perfect. Create an outline, do your research, and consider your audience. Map out the main points you want to deliver, include supporting details, and determine where visuals will have the most impact. This article will outline ten tips to design a presentation to deliver an engaging PowerPoint slideshow presentation. Tell a story.
Best Practice PowerPoint Presentation Tips. Use A Consistent Presentation Design. One Topic Per Slide. Avoid information overwhelm by using the "Rule of Three". Display one bullet at a time. Presentation Blunders To Avoid. Avoid unnecessary animations. Only add content that supports your main points.
Turn control over to the audience. Make things personal. Share the presenter spotlight. 1. Break the Ice. The perfect starting point is to ask a straightforward question that will warm up the audience. This is a simple way to turn your audience from listeners to active participants from the get-go.
10. Edit Quickly With Slide Masters. One of the best PowerPoint tips for quick and interesting slide design is the use of Slide Master view. Slide Master enables edits in bulk, so you don't have to repeat steps over and over. Suppose that you want to add your logo to the corner of every slide.
Nevertheless, prepare for the content to put in your presentation before you open and start with a blank presentation. 2. Boil your information down. Try to only keep the information that you can't do without. If you have a load of text in your hands, cut it down to the most important bits.
Try to stick with one font, or choose two at the most. Fonts have very different personalities and emotional impacts, so make sure your font matches the tone, purpose, and content of your presentation. 6. Stick to 30pt Font or Larger. Many experts agree that your font size should be at least 30pt.
Microsoft PowerPoint doesn't have to be boring. In fact, with just a few changes, you can make your next PowerPoint presentation look like a work of art! In ...
1. Identify and then tell the story. When we give a presentation, we are doing it to tell a story that has one or two goals. We are trying to inform the audience about something we know that they ...
Using props is a fun presentation idea. Props can make your presentation more powerful by giving the audience visual objects they can see in person. Props can also help the audience understand the point that you're trying to make. The bigger the prop is, the more impressive that prop is for your audience. 5. Use Video.
Here're 4 quick tips on how to make engaging PowerPoint presentations by adding hyperlinks, animations, transitions, interactive quizzes, and annotations to ...