Building an effective PowerPoint presentation, one that showcases your key points in a concise and meaningful way, is harder than it might seem at first. This article provides our top 7 tips for creating PowerPoint presentations that are impactful, easy to digest for the viewer, and serve as a tool to take your presentation to the next level.
1. Use Fewer Words | Avoid paragraphs and large bodies of text. Your PowerPoint slides are intended to enhance your presentation. You want your slides to capture the essence of your talk, not replicate it. Too much text makes it tricky for viewers to read the slide from the back of the room. If you have a lot of information to include, consider putting it in a Word document and then you can reference that document in the slide.
2. Fonts: Choose Wisely | Typography has the ability to influence the audience’s impression of you. Choosing a clean, easy to read, sans serif font (we like Franklin Gothic Book) conveys professionalism and aids in legibility. Be consistent and use the same font throughout your presentation to avoid distracting viewers from your content.
3. The Rule of 5 | Experts suggest that PowerPoint presentations be designed to not exceed 5 words per line, 5 lines per slide, and no more than 5 text-heavy slides in a row.
4. Contrast Makes Perfect | Use caution when working with coloured backgrounds and light coloured fonts. White text on a dark background can be trickier to read for those who are in-person, and requires more ink when printing. We recommend dark text (LESA’s dark green in our provided template works great) on a white background.
5. Size Up | We recommend size 40 font for headings, size 32 for sub-headings, and nothing smaller than size 24 for text.
6. Selective Imagery | If you are including charts or graphs in your slides, choose images that have large text, contrasting colours, and limited information. If you are including gifs, video, images, or other types of graphics please indicate/cite the source on the same slide. Imagery should represent the concept that you are trying to convey; before adding graphics you can ask yourself “does this make my message clearer”? For copyright purposes, all images, gifs, and videos will be removed prior to us distributing materials to registrants.
7. Bullets are your Friend | Keep each bullet to 1 line. Bullets should be used to “cue” your audience into what you will be discussing, not tell the whole story. Most people can listen faster than they can read, so attempting to read too much text on a slide while also trying to listen at the same time will promote confusion and reduce the content that they are able to absorb. The Rule of 5 applies to bullets as well.