What is the point?

After all these years (released in 1990) PowerPoint still plays a huge role in client presentations as the ‘go-to’ software for the account exec, sales bod and public speaker. We deliver a massive amount of templates and presentations for our clients with the same issues of budgetary restrictions and customisability being the main issues. Let's look at best practice, where the potential problems lie and what we can do together to produce a show-stopping presentation.

Looks lush
Creating graphic-rich presentations engage viewers and help communicate your message. However, the more graphics you have, the less editable your presentation will be, and that is that. Every client wants both, the best graphics, but also the ability to change it themselves. Of course we can provide Photoshop files, but to create beautiful graphics, you do need a designer...

Easy to change
PowerPoint relies on 'live' text in editable areas which anybody can change. This means having the right font installed and a template that can accommodate a myriad of changes and content types. The only way to achieve this is with background graphics and defined font styles. But – this still means the user has to import their own graphics... clip art here we come. Before we go there, let's talk best practice.

Content overload
Your audience has a limited time span at the best of times. A slide with oodles of content will never be read, even if you read it to them. A slide should be a prompt to what you are saying – nothing more. This is what PowerPoint was designed to be, prompt cards for a presentation. So don't include your full narrative in your PowerPoint, keep that for your brochure.

Lights down
If you are presenting in an auditorium, the lights will be down and people may be sitting there munching popcorn. If that is the case, like a TED presentation, don't use a white background. Actually, generally don't use a white background. It dazzles the audience. If you are going to send your presentation via email and the recipient might print it out – have a white background version, just for that.

Tell a story
Nancy Duart's TED presentation describes 'The power of a 'story.' We don't all have the ability to write a story for every presentation we do, but I think we can all tell a story from where we are and the process we went through to arrive at where we currently are. If you can tell a story, in any presentation, then you are more likely to engage your audience. Everybody loves a story.
We'll do a 'How to do a presentation' email, shall we? Perhaps later in the year.

How bad can it be?
Well, quite bad. Here's a few things to remember;

  • Use a clear font. Open Sans was designed for screen and it is free. Why not use a serif font? Nobody does that and they should.

  • Avoid mixing illustration and photography. Clip art may seem like a good idea, but the results are a bit cheesy.

  • Only half of the surface area of the slide should have content – whatever you do, don't try to fill up all the space. It is better to have more slides. Think; quick fire, short messages.

  • Include your logo and web address on every slide as a footer.

  • Use 'chapter' slides to introduce a new section. These should be a milestone in your presentation.

  • This is more of a content issue, but ask questions. As your audience drifts off and starts checking their Facebook profiles, a question will bring them back to attention.

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand – a non sequitur
What an Olympics Team GB had! Makes you proud doesn’t it? Not only that, it's nice to see an Olympic logo which hasn't been widely ridiculed. The mark (so say the designers) was based on a local landmark, Pão de Açúcar or Sugarloaf Mountain. However, the best bit, (which even the Brazilian designers didn't notice) is that it spells Rio. A gift from the Olympic Gods no doubt.

Navig8 designs PowerPoint templates for everybody, starting at £325. If you would like one, drop us a line.

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