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Breaking down a successful PowerPoint presentation

Most people who start making a PowerPoint presentation want it to be something amazing that will wow the audience. But it often ends up being another boring presentation that sends people to sleep. This happens because speakers don’t know exactly what makes a good presentation – the design, the takeaways, the story or something else.


To help you make your next presentation a success, we decided to share several important tips that are often overlooked.

1. Keep it simple

PowerPoint presentation was designed to allow you to supplement your speech with graphical elements. But slides were never meant to become the center of your presentation. Remember that less is more. Keep your slides simple and focus on the key message of your presentation. Your slides shouldn’t be superfluous and full of lots of unnecessary information. Don’t be afraid of white space. In fact, having less clutter on your slide will make the core message more memorable.

 

2Keep the text to minimum

Reducing the amount of text and bullet points is a good way to simplify your slides. Many people are visual learners, so they better memorize information when it’s accompanied by images. When making your slides, try to put the accent on visual content.

You certainly won’t be alone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also tries to reduce the text in his presentations. “Since stories are best told with pictures,” he reportedly remarked at Google I/O 2017, “bullet points and text-heavy slides are increasingly avoided at Google.”

 

3. Never ever read from the slides

Nothing hurts audience engagement more than reading word for word what’s written on your slides. First, it’s lazy. When you know your topic inside out you won’t need to rely on a visual aid to help you throughout your speech. Reading directly off your slides is also boring and self-centered. If you give your attention to your slides instead of your audience, it signals that your message and your ego are more important than the listeners. You involuntarily make your audience wander somewhere else with their minds.
 

4. Make your audience the star of the show

Blogger, public speaker and consultant Darren Rowse (known online as Problogger) says, “If you want engagement, be engaging. Be conversational, ask questions, leave room for your audience to add their voice.”  

The key to audience engagement is the ability to pull people into your topic and get them to participate in the creation of the story. You can accomplish this by using audience polling tools. Swift Polling is one of them. It allows you to run text and web polls and make your presentations more interactive. Just ask a question and let your audience vote by text or online. The votes will be collected and visualized in real time.

You can embed the polls Presentation page in your PowerPoint and make your slides more visually appealing with colorful charts that update in real time. You can choose between pie charts, bar charts and column charts to represent the results of each poll.
 

5. Focus on the non-verbal connection with your audience

Your PowerPoint may have a perfect design but the impression of your presentation will not be complete without confident body language. To make your message more convincing, train yourself to deliver your facts from a pose of power. Your facial expression, your posture, your look and your gestures all matter.

You can learn more about the body language by watching Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on how others perceive your unsaid messages.

 

 

6. Use high quality graphics

Images make the presentation better. In fact, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. So you should never stretch small, low-quality images to make them fit the layout. Also, avoid PowerPoint presentation clipart and other cartoonish visuals. Instead take your own photos or find high-resolution pictures in sources such as Unsplash or Pixabay.

word-cloud powerpoint presentation

Another way to increase audience engagement with visuals is by creating word clouds. Ask a question and visualize the responses of your audience into fun word clouds. As the responses are gathered, the duplicate words “swell” and resize, while the other words move to fill in the space between the most popular ones.

Sign up and try the word clouds for free

 

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7. Customize your slide template design

Your audience has likely seen most of the PowerPoint presentation templates many times. They want your presentation to be unique and new to them, otherwise why would they attend it? You can create your own background templates which will be better tailored to your content and your needs.

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