How many times have you sat down in front of your computer and wished you knew the tips and tricks for designing slides so that you could create your very own killer presentation? Well, once you’ve read through this article, you will be able to prepare to do just that.
As I am sure you are already aware, a presentation can either make or break your business ideas once presented. If you want yours to help accelerate your growth in the corporate world, then these are tricks you want to learn.
In fairness, PowerPoint has made it into many course curricula nowadays, though the training is basic at best. For a better understanding of design, then you really do need to develop those skills. So, if you want to create a memorable presentation, please keep reading.
This post was created to speak to the working professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs who are looking to communicate better through the impact of design. So, please do reference this information and keep practicing the principles shared here until you have them down cold.
Preparing Your Slides
When you start planning your presentation, ask yourself “Why should your audience care?” Always remember that your presentation is not about your service, product or information. It is about your audience, and what is in it for them.
- Who is your audience?
- What do they do?
- How can you solve their problem?
- What action do you want them to take?
- What potential concerns will your audience have?
- How can you overcome those concerns?
Once you have the answers to those questions, now information needs to be gathered together and clearly stated so that you can start to create your story.
Know how you want your story to end, before you begin. In other words: “What is it that you want your presentation to achieve?” and “What’s your message to the world?”
Yes, facts and data are necessary, and they truly are a vital part of your presentation, but you need to remember that it is your story that you want to move your audience emotionally to make them want to take the action you want them to make.
So, even if you have the most exciting data in your niche, if you don’t present it in a form of a well-written story, then your audience will most likely simply tune out, and your message will be lost.
As one PowerPoint designer once said, if you want to tell a great story, you need to have a system for collecting and interlacing your ideas. So, be sure to create an outline of the story you want to share. This helps you add a more personal narrative for your audience, like a film or theatre director uses to get you to understand their vision.
Simply plan out exactly what the story you want to tell and stick with it.
Some people may prefer to tinker with a few PowerPoint slide before starting an outline of your story, while others many prefer hand sketching a few ideas on paper. Don’t be afraid to find what works best for you.
- Figure out who is your audience and how to solve their problem.
- Research and put together an outline in writing. Write down anything and everything that comes to your mind. Perfection is NOT needed at this point in your project. Some people find software like MindMeister helpful in organizing your thoughts into a final outline.
- Once you have your outline completed, you can begin putting your presentation template together. This will include a relevant colour scheme, custom fonts, and maybe even a few relevant images to start your creativity flowing.
- Now that your template is all set up, you can put placeholders for the slides with temporary headlines that you can fine tune later on.
- Then you can start to actually build out each of your slides in detail, working from your outline.
During the steps for creating your presentation, be sure you are in a more relaxed and good mood, and NOT under pressure. If you have to, simply change the environment you are working in so that you can unlock your creativity and design that killer presentation.
Some people find it easier to work from home, so that you have fewer or no distractions, you are more apt to be comfortable, no boss looking over your shoulder, lighting might be more pleasing, and you may even have a larger monitor on your home computer. I do!
Taking plenty of breaks during your design phase will help keep your creativity fresh. During breaks, you may find a creative solution will simply “pop into your mind”.
Your Call to Action
When you want your audience to take an action then you need to influence and convince them to take that action.
- Identify a problem that needs to be solved.
- Offer a solution to that problem.
- Show how your audience will benefit by using your solution.
- Provide your Call to Action by telling your audience what you want them to do.
Here is an example of how I might tell a story if I were to make a presentation about Website Development:
Great presentations do NOT get slapped together in a few hours.
To help you get those creative juices going, you should look through other’s projects for inspiration, and pay special attention to their use of color and layout.
More Tools You May Find Helpful
Evernote’s Penultimate – is a simple sketch pad and handwriting APP for iPad users. Apparently, it makes you feel like you are actually writing on paper. You may want to consider using this APP for sketching out your presentation ideas for your outline.
Evernote – is a powerful tool you can use to capture your ideas in notes, audio and images. They claim that you can plan, keep notes, and manage your presentation ideas from any device – even offline.
SpiderScribe – is a popular online mind mapping tool. You could use this for mapping out your outline before you actually start your presentation. Their basic service is said to be free, though if/when you want more features you will need to upgrade.
Bubbl.us – is a tool you could use for organizing your ideas visually in a way that makes sense. They claim that their editor is designed to help you stay on task and find your ideas quickly.
Micro – is a collaborative online whiteboard platform designed for remote and distributed teams. You could use this for brainstorming by yourself or with others.
GoMoodBoard – is a simple and fast way to build a visual board for group collaboration. Simply drag and drop any piece of inspiration that fits your intended “mood” into their interface and let GoMoodBoard take care of the rest. No Account needed.
Mix – formerly StumbleUpon, provides you with a means of finding inspiration for your presentation design by providing you with a wide variety of topics. Simply choose a topic you are interested in and then you can start to find ideas.
Commonly Used PowerPoint Tools
You may find that there are only a few tools that you use constantly, so make sure all of those tools are easily accessible on your toolbar, and that you know where they are and how to access them.
If you use Keynote, there are equivalent tools for all of the following too.
Format Painter – you will use this image to copy the formatting of one object to another.
Remove unwanted backgrounds in your images. Click to watch the video below.
Group and Ungroup – You will use this tool to group and ungroup objects, as I’ve shown in my screen print below, one of the methods of finding these, when you right mouse on selected images.
Bring to Front and Back – you will use these tools to order objects when creating them, in order to bring objects to the front and back. See these tools on the dropdown list in the screen print above, or from the toolbar, as show in the screen prints below.
Flip – You will use this tool to flip or rotate your images. Click to watch the video below.
Combining and Merging Shapes – You will use this tool to group shapes and cut out parts of shapes. Click to watch the video below.
Add Connectors to PowerPoint Shapes – Using edit points you can also modify a shape if you needed to.
Next month, I will show you how to Structure Your Slide Presentation.
Hope you have found this post helpful at getting you started preparing your killer slide presentation. If you have any questions regarding preparing a slide presentation, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Once I have responded to your comment, you will be notified by email.
Slides Made Easy 2nd Edition (my affiliate link) by Adam Noar
Credit for Header: image by creazilla