Not one person in the professional world has escaped the viewing of a PowerPoint presentation and some have suffered far worse fates than others. One of the main causes of this suffering is that so many people fail to understand how to use PowerPoint properly.
To put it simply, 10 20 30 should be the rule, not the exception. Seth Godin agrees that PowerPoint is not a bad branding tool; but people use it poorly. Remember, a bad workman always blames his (or her) tools.
Below, therefore, are some guidelines with what to do in those ten slides and 20 minutes to improve what you can do with PowerPoint.
Words and font
- Keep it simple. Godin says there should be no more than six words on a page. Some guides allow up to seven lines. Never flood a slide with blocks of text.
- Visibility. The last part of the 10 20 30 rule is to have no font smaller than 30 point. Your presentation must be readable from the back of the room.
- Consistency. Use the same legible and professional font throughout the slides. Make sure the font format will stay the same no matter where you present.
Colour and style
Pick a theme. PowerPoint offers an array of templates, but they are not the best choice for background. Your audience has seen them before and will find them dull. Use a consistent background and colour scheme, but make it an appealing design.
- Readability. A light background with a dark font is the best option.
- Avoid clipart. Don’t use cheesy clipart in a professional presentation. It’s a contradiction in your message.
- Use great images. Use professional stock photos or source from Flickr. As always, know the licensing restrictions for each photo you use to avoid problems.
- Useful data. Graphs and charts have to make a major point in your presentation if they are shown. They must also be designed well.
Now focus on your part
You absolutely must be smarter than your PowerPoint. The slides are aiding you, not the other way around. This doesn’t make the PowerPoint less important, but more so.
You want each slide to complement what you say and and how you say it. This helps to make your point and make your audience excited about your topic.
Knowing how to use PowerPoint to your advantage and not to everyone’s misery is half the battle won. Following the 10 20 30 rule along with these guidelines to improve your PowerPoint will serve to improve your whole presentation.