Whilst it might seem like a relatively simple task, it can often prove difficult to actually optimise a PowerPoint presentation for use in a business setting. The real key is establishing a theme and keeping it simple.
I distinctly remember when I gave presentations at school that I would thoroughly enjoy the animations and transitional effects that were on offer; however in a business environment, this seriously is not recommended. There’s a real reason that The Simpsons mocked the ‘star wipe’ transition – it simply makes everything look cheap and less serious!
When creating a PowerPoint, one of the main things to remember is that there should be a common theme throughout the slides – whether this is the company logo at the edge, a colour scheme, border, or all three; a sense of cohesion can make a presentation feel complete and whole.
It can also prove a beneficial step to place a header slide prior to the start of any new section – this can initially be introduced with a contents slide; however if there is a lot of ground to cover, this is a key consideration. You could also simply state the category at the top of each slide within that section.
Generally, the most user-friendly and professional transition is the simple ‘Appear’ – this is by far the cleanest and quickest way of introducing new sections. If you are aiming for a more ‘showy’ presentation, then sliding in from a direction can be a subtle way of jazzing the slides up.
Regarding the content of the slides, these should be restricted to short bullet points and descriptive images – you’re not trying to cram an essay into the presentation! Charts, graphs and diagrams can provide a huge aid to information that is being dictated and can bring a great detail of clarity to what may otherwise be a tricky subject to explain.
Manner of Presentation as Important As Content
Not only is the information presented in the slideshow important, but so is the manner in which it is presented – simply showing a series of slides with no context or explanation is of no help to anyone! Making a connection with the audience is key and whilst you can freely refer to what is being shown on screen, you shouldn’t simply be reading it out. Elaborate on all bullet points, explain any graphs and engage with any audience members that may have any questions.
Probably the best advice would be to refer to previous presentations made within the company, or establish your very own template that you will stick to – creating a unique style and theme can help to transform any PowerPoint.
Liz is a presenter and seminar leader. She uses Last Minute Meeting Rooms for many of her meetings.