Monday, April 28, 2014

Create PowerPoint Presentations that Grab Attention

A successful PowerPoint slide deck for a speech or pitch presentation must keep the audience interested and guessing what comes next. Slides jammed with bullet points won't do it.  

PowerPoint slides are support material for what you are saying. People prefer strong images that carry impact over slides loaded with bullet points, charts, and graphs. Generally, use one strong image on slides for major points, anecdotes, and quotes.

Here are some tips for powering up your PowerPoint slides:
  • Create a master slide for each type of slide you intend to use. In this way, you don’t have to worry about formatting each slide since each new slide will default to the master.
  • Choose a basic layout and typography and use a color scheme that ties into your brand. 
  • Add your logo to the master slides so it appears on every slide.
  • Text is always black in light-colored backgrounds or white on dark backgrounds. 
  • Pick one typeface for headers – or use WordArt – and another for body text. 
  • Use 30-point font. Think large-print book and do not be afraid of whitespace.
  • Use cool colors for statistics; warm hues for sales pitches. Use strong visuals and avoid slides with lots of bullet points. PowerPoint is not intended to be speaker prompts!
  • Lead with a quote, anecdote, video, or straw poll. Never start with a joke, personal disclaimer, thank-you announcement or anything within 10 miles of bureaucracy.
  • Keep one thought per slide.
  • Pick 1-3 transition effects, and never use more than five different transition effects per presentation.
  • Video clips, sound bites, photo albums and SmartArt engage listeners.

How Many Slides Is Enough?

Think quality, not quantity. Fewer slides with powerful images are better than many so-so slides. Guy Kawasaki, a master of creating PowerPoint pitch decks, recommends no more than 10 slides for a 20-minute pitch presentation. Check out this YouTube video to discover how he does it!

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