These simple tips for using Powerpoint during presentations can ensure they remain a useful tool which supports your message, rather than a distraction, or even an embarrassment.
Our experience of sitting through many presentations over the years is that many speakers use them as a crutch, spending too much time reading from their screen, rather than talking to their audience.
And far too often, their slides mimic their research or report, with far too much text for anyone to absorb easily.
The problem is that the more text you have, the less people will listen to what you’re saying, because they’re too busy reading your sides.
If you want to engage your audience, however, you need to connect with them
Here are our simple tips for using Powerpoint during presentations:
- Keep the content simple, without too much text or too many images or text
- A single strong image can be very powerful
- Make sure images are sharp: what works on your monitor may not work on a large screen
- Make sure your images are copyright-free or you own the copyright
- Frame headings as questions as it is more inviting
- Use a maximum of four bullets
- Make sure your grammar & spelling is correct
- Text should be a minimum of font size 16
- Use minimal text, with short summary sentences – you don’t necessarily need to use full sentences
- Give people time to read the slide
- Justify your copy to the left as this is easier to read
- Have a consistent style, font, size and colour
- Use smart art & PPT design ideas to add interest
- If you’re using quotes, add an interesting image, bold important words and using different fonts and colours
- Use animations – but keep them simple
- Know how your animations work
- Use a clicker so you don’t have to return to the laptop each time you want to change slide
These tools are particularly useful: Unsplash for copyright free images, PPT Design Ideas, Smart Art and Icons within PPT. You can also do presentations in the brilliant graphic design platform Canva.
Things to avoid:
- Turning your back on your audience to read slides
- Obscuring the screen
- Speaking over your slides, so people don’t have time to read them
- Too many fancy or complex animations
- Letting the words distract from what you are saying
- Use your presentation as a script or a crutch
- Keep looking at it as you speak to your audience