Key PowerPoint principles

Having created professional PowerPoint presentations for over 20 years, there are 7 key principles we recommend all industries and speakers adhere to when creating their slides to ensure they compliment their talk, rather than distract from it.

1) Keep your slides simple

It can be tempting to use “all the things” with PowerPoint, but this can overwhelm your audience and even lead to them admiring your animation and graphics rather than listening to your amazing speech!

2) Apply a consistent design

Use the same fonts and colours throughout your PowerPoint presentation. Ideally, only one or two font styles and three font sizes should be used in your main slides (e.g. a heading, sub heading and content). And if you can use colours that match your logo and branding, this is perfect!

3) Don’t use too much text

As mentioned in “keep your slides simple”, you want your audience listening to you, not reading lots of text and tuning you out. Bullet points are great as they highlight the points you wish to put across, whilst also acting as a prompt as you present each slide.

4) Make sure it’s readable

Use a clear, large font. Arial with a minimum size of 24pt is a good example. This is also where “consistent design” helps, as if there are too many font styles and sizes in a PowerPoint presentation it can look messy and confusing, rather than clear, informative and professional.

Take colour into account as well. For example, a red font against a blue background can be difficult to for your audience to read.

5) Graphics and graphs

Graphs and graphics can really engage your audience and help them visualise more complex points. To make the best use of these in your presentation, ensure they are large and clear rather than having lots of colours and information all in once place that is too small for the audience to see. Showing up to four on a single slide is a good guide.

6) Make use of the PowerPoint Notes function

You can add notes against each slide by going to View / Notes Page. When you print these out, you not only have your speech prompts, but you also have them alongside the visual reminder of the slide itself.

7) Prepare and practise

Yes, you may have the skills and subject knowledge to “wing it”, but a little preparation can still go a long way! If you do not have colleagues to practise your PowerPoint presentation with, then a friend or family would be great, or, if not, going through the speech alongside the slides alone will help boost your confidence on the day.

If you would like to discuss your presentation with an experienced PowerPoint operator, or receive a quote for re-vamping your presentation, or creating one from scratch, please get in touch. As always, we’re happy to have an informal chat to see if we can help!