Graphic design

How to use PowerPoint well

How to use PowerPoint well

Microsoft PowerPoint has long been the butt of every joke in the software world – and yet it continues to be used by thousands of business professionals around the world every day. For sure, the templates and default charts are hardly cutting edge in their design, but the real problem is often not the programme itself, rather how it is used. Here are a few simple tips from the SE10 design team to avoid the dreaded ‘death by PowerPoint’.

Prioritise images over text

It’s no secret that people remember images (80%) more than words (20%). Avoid large chunks of text or endless bullet points and try to convey your messages visually using a photo or graphic. If your audience is too busy reading text on your slides, they are not listening to what you are saying. 

Cheesy stock images are a no-no

Don’t use an image just for the sake of it. If you use one, it’s got to make an impact. Stock images of people in suits shaking hands or crowding around a computer screen just look silly and don’t really illustrate your point – unless your presentation is about the cheesiness of stock images, of course. 

Simplify your charts

Examining a chart in your own time is very different to seeing it on a slide as part of a presentation. In order to keep your audience on board, the chart needs to be as quick and easy to understand as possible. Give it a title and don’t be afraid to add brief supporting text to highlight relevant points. You can also use the animation tools to build your chart sequentially, rather than overloading the audience with all the information in one go.

Use colour to highlight important info

Draw your audience’s attention to the most important information with bright colours, while using muted tones to signify supporting information.

Keep it short

Finally, try to keep your slides to a minimum. Even if you follow all the advice above, the more slides you have, the less memorable they will be.

Taking so much care over the design of your PowerPoint presentation might seem an unnecessary effort, but when you consider the combined time your audience takes out of their day to listen to you, holding their attention is vital. You have a short window of opportunity to get your message across. Make it count.

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