Death by PowerPoint. It’s what we trainers call it when your presenter talks through slide after boring slide of bullet-pointed lists. The trouble is this has crept into screencast videos, too. Yawn.
There’s really no excuse for this because there’s so much you can do to make your presentations and videos look better. It’s quick to do and you don’t need any technical or design skills. Here are some simple ways to make your slides pop:
Use PowerPoint templates
There are loads of PowerPoint templates inside PowerPoint itself that will add things like fonts, layouts and graphic elements in seconds. You can apply these to your presentation using the ‘Design’ menu at the top of PowerPoint.
As PowerPoint is so widely used, you may want something that looks a little different from everyone else so don’t be afraid to look beyond what’s on the Design menu. Try the Microsoft Office website or if you don’t mind adding credits, you can download some very nice templates from Slides Carnival for free (these also work with Google Slides, by the way). Or if you want something unique, you can always pay a designer to create a custom template for you.
Keep it brief
Your slides should be a visual aid, to illustrate or emphasise what you say. You shouldn’t be using the slide as a script, so keep the number of words on a slide down to a minimum. In fact, you often only need one, two or three words on each slide to make your point. If you have a bullet-pointed list, try putting each point on a separate slide.
(To avoid this…)
Images add interest and help to communicate your message. Try to make your images say something rather than just filling up blank space. Adding an image to the background of the slide so that it fills the entire slide can be very effective – you can do this by right-clicking on the slide and choosing ‘Format background’
Keep it consistent
To make sure you have a consistent look all the way through, stick to one colour palette, use up to three fonts and try to choose images with a consistent look, too. Paying attention to these points will make your presentation look far more professional.
Ditch the bullets
Do you really need the bullets? If the slide or text appears as you speak, then you probably don’t need a little black circle to emphasise it. Try losing the bullet points to see if it makes your slide look cleaner. There’s a good chance it will.
Need some inspiration?
Take a look at Slideshare. Lots of ideas for avoiding death by PowerPoint there.
The done-for-you courses I sell at here at Totally Courses come with source PowerPoint files that you can edit and use to record your own training videos if you wish (or you can just use my videos that come in the pack). No death by PowerPoint, I promise.
Do you have a PowerPoint horror story? Please leave me a comment and tell me about it. Think of it as therapy…