Powerpoint. A program so abused in the corporate world, that many recoil from the very word. Read on and cheesy themes, cutesy animations, and ridiculous clipart will plague your meetings no more.
Think of your slideshow as an accessory to your presentation, not a crutch.
Slides are most excellent for nailing your point into thick wooden heads, but this purpose becomes diluted by massive jumbles of text. Most of that content should be memorized and spoken, rather than stuck lazily on a slide for your audience to read themselves. And of course, reading it to them is no better. Yes, that means you will probably have to rehearse your presentation a few times beforehand. Unfortunate, I know.
Have a point, not a theme.
Themes were fancy stuff once. Not so now. Microsoft has made this option way too easy for it to seem impressive to anyone under 80 years old.
The idea is a good one: consistency. But consistency often morphs into repetition. Using the same font on every slide is good, but that doesn’t mean each piece of your presentation should be identical. Does this mean your every slide should have a wacky, unique background?
Ditch your boring (or cheesy) background.
Images – the right images – can send powerful messages. Even more true is that the wrong images are often even more powerful and extremely distracting. Thus, a presenter shouldn’t bombard the audience with a myriad of pictures. One graphic with a point is generally stronger than 58 of them all strung together.
The background of your brilliant slides counts toward this idea. Pick a powerful graphic and use it for the background. It’s somewhat unexpected, so it will help your audience members ward off drowsiness.
Of course, not all images will work for this. They can’t be overly bright or busy, and they should definitely have something to do with the point you are attempting to make. You can see examples of this in these slides. (To view the notes on the presentation, click here and hit the “Notes on Slide 1” tab at the bottom.)