Presentation slides are a popular choice of visual aid for a public speech. From corporate meetings to motivational speeches, suitable slides can elevate your speech to the next level.
However, it is just as easy to go wrong. Who amongst us hasn’t sat through a long and tedious presentation that seemed to drag on forever? Visual aids are supposed to add to your message and keep your audience’s attention.
There are many PowerPoint templates readily available at your disposal these days. With the help of these, it is easy to learn how to make attractive PowerPoint presentation slides.
Are you ready to learn?
Table of Contents
- How to Make a PowerPoint Slide?
- Tips to Design Your Presentation Slides
- Extra Tips for your Presentation Slides
- Wrapping Up,
How to Make a PowerPoint Slide?
Choosing to add a visual aid to your speech is a bold move. It’s adding an extra element that you have to remain aware of on top of your body gestures, eye contact, and vocal variety. Let’s start with the basics.
- Open your presentation software: PowerPoint or Google Slides.
- Typically the landing page should be a new template. If not, click on File and go to “New” and on to Blank Template.
- On your left, you should see your slides.
- To add a new slide, go to Insert and click on New Slide or simply press Ctrl + M.
- The Insert tab lets you insert pictures, diagrams, text boxes, videos, word art, and more.
- Go to File and hit Save to make sure all your work is saved properly.
- The Format tab will let you change colors and fonts.
- For the presentation, in google slides, there will be a Present button on your top right. For PowerPoint, the button will show a screen and can be found in the bottom right.
Tips to Design Your Presentation Slides
Now that you have the basics down let’s get ready to jazz up your slides! Here are our top tips on designing your presentation slides:
Skip the basic themes
We know that merely picking an available stock theme from Powerpoint or Google Slides is tempting. It’s right there and so very convenient.
But, you need to remember that hundreds, if not thousands of others have had the exact same thought. As a result, these themes have been used and overused.
There is just no draw to them. Lucky for you, these days, there are many sites that create both premium and free themes to jazz up your slides.
Pick something different, something that matches your message, and grabs the attention of your listeners.
- In case the default size of the presentation style is not suited for your display, you can go to File -> Page Setup and change the height and width of your background to suit your purpose.
- If you need to resize, make sure you do it at the start as otherwise, it will change the dimensions of all your texts, images, and objects.
Say no blocks of texts.
When you have a lot of information to share, it can be difficult to pick what information should go on the slides and what should be kept out.
As a result, people end up stuffing their slides with chunks of text. This is an absolute no-no for a presentation.
Overwhelming your audience is never a good idea. Besides, the star of the show is your spoken content.
So you need to make sure that it remains the main draw. If they’re busy trying to read your slides, they will not be able to pay attention to your speech.
So always limit your texts to less than 5-6 lines per slide. Display your information in easy to read and short points or sentences.
- Remember the 6×6 rule. At most, you can have six bullet points, and each point is only allowed six words. Anything over this can look pretty cluttered.
Bye-bye bullet points
Remember when people vouched for bullet points to replace large paragraphs? Yup, so does everybody else.
It is a piece of ancient advice that has been overdone. This is mostly because people haven’t really been using it right.
Just because bullet points should be preferred over paragraphs does not mean you add 10-15 bullet points in one slide. Doing so reduces the importance as well as the impact of these points.
If these are significant points of your slides, consider splitting them into separate slides itself. This way, every aspect can get ample focus, and the audience will be able to remember it more clearly. Plus, with the right theme, you will be able to give each point a stunning outlook.
- When you do use bullet points, use the animation tool to your advantage. Display one bullet point at a time so that the audience is not immediately overwhelmed by all your points at once.
Limit your rainbow
When we say jazz up your slides, many people take it to mean use up the entire color palette. We’re saying anything, but! A simple color scheme and go a long way.
Mixing too many colors can be distracting. The slides are only there to supplement what you will be expressing through body language and verbal cues. So make sure they’re attractive but not overbearing.
- Using too many bright colors is known to tire out the eyes.
- Do not overuse gradients.
- If you’re representing an organization or a brand, use the colors of that brand to compliment your brand’s style.
Learn how to use color
Color can be a tricky thing. This is why most people tend to stick to plain backgrounds with only black and white fonts.
But playing with contrasting colors can add that extra kick to your slides. If you’re having difficulty figuring out which colors complement each other, you can take the help of the color wheel below.
The colors on the opposite ends will match each other well. You can use this variation to select your background and foreground.
Similarly, experiment with formats. Try bolding or underlining essential texts. Italicize for emphasis. Make sure you don’t go overboard as it will then lose its appeal. Balance is key.
Pick fonts wisely
Fonts can make or break the look of your slide. The most common go-to is the Sans Serif font.
Try to use different fonts for your heading and your body for clear distinction. Stick to more easy-to-read and straightforward fonts for the body section.
Make sure the font is not too compact and challenging to read from a distance. You don’t have to feel limited to the stock fonts either.
You can experiment and download many templates that will compliment your slides much better.
- Steer clear of default fonts like Calibri and Cambria. These have been overused so much that people simply do not respond to it.
- Try not to pick a font that is too fancy. Stick to a clean and modern look.
- Eccentric fonts are only useful in moderation.
Size does matter
When you prepare the slides, you most likely see it on a smaller screen. It is easy to settle for smaller sizes in this case.
You have to remember that the audience will be seeing this on a much bigger screen. Make sure to check the dimensions accordingly in the slideshow mode.
30 pt is widely considered to be a right font size for the presentation. This should be sufficient to highlight your key points while being visible to the back of the room.
Zero in on visibility
All the strong messaging in the world won’t make for good slides if they aren’t visually appealing.
It is so easy to lose the interest of your listeners with plain slides. Remember, this is a visual aid.
So it must visually pack a punch. One of the ways you can do this is by ensuring a good level of contrast in your test. Don’t let your words blend into the background.
If your background uses a lot of texture, then make sure your text color is a bold one.
Don’t create a gallery.
Images are a great addition to your slides. However, sometimes people tend to get carried away.
As you’re making the slides, you get used to your own pictures, and the slides might look okay to you.
But you have to remember that the audience is seeing this for the first time. So if you add too many distractions, your listeners might lose their focus. Try to limit images to one or two per slide. Have some text to complement the image as well for a complete message.
Hold back on the transitions.
You must have seen the different transition animations built into any presentation software. From fade to dissolve to flip, all these cool transitions add an extra kick to your display, don’t they?
We’re here to differ. These transitions were probably cool back for school presentations, but nobody is really impressed by the slide to the right animation anymore.
In fact, they do more harm than good. They can be very distracting and might take away from the seriousness of your message.
Limit your Punctuations
All the emoting in a presentation is supposed to be done with your body. Make sure you don’t include exclamation points or go overboard with the question marks. You do the emphasizing for the vocal part of your speech.
There are a lot of subtle things that go into the design of your presentation slide. Every visual aid you bring should enhance your message. Make sure to use every element under your control to your advantage.
Extra Tips for your Presentation Slides
Here are a couple more things that you need to keep in mind when designing your presentation slides:
Alignment is crucial. When your images and texts are even a little askew, it can be very distracting to your audience. You can do this easily by holding shift to select all the objects. Then, going to “Arrange” and picking the Align or Distribute option.
Crop your images well. You can also customize your images into different shapes. To do so, click on your image and then go to the Format option. Then, go to Crop and select Mast to Shape. This will let you select any shape you’d like.
Simplify the Data
Don’t make your visual data such as graphs, charts, percentages too complicated. Use it to convey a message but don’t have your audiences squirting to follow your statistics.
Be aware of the negative space in your slides. Don’t try to fill the entirety of your slides with words and images. The white space is good as it adds more emphasis to the text that does exist. Use it to contrast your text.
Use the 2/4/6 rule
The 2/4/8 rule dictates how to keep an audience’s attention. Do not stay on one slide for more than 2 minutes.
Do not have more than four and at most six bullet points per slide. And finally, limit your words to 6 and at most 8 per slide. The variation depends on the length of the words in each point.
Shapes and Diagrams
Utilize the Insert Shapes option to create more creative slides than just words and pictures.
Use a consistent theme. Mixing too many different themes can be difficult for the audience to follow. Try to keep it simple so that your message stands out.
If you’re transferring the slides from one computer to another, some of the fonts might not work. To avoid this, embed all your font files and multimedia.
Similarly, don’t rely on other people’s hardware. It is always better to have your own clicker than depending on someone else to change the slides.
Adding slides to your speech is an excellent way to elevate your presentation. Instead of going for the beaten up and simple routine, our tips can help you amaze your audience. There are many subtle elements to an excellent presentation.
Once you get the hang of this, it will become second-nature to you. Beyond this, it is all about practice. Make sure you plan your transitions and time yourself during your practice runs as well. Off you go to plan, prepare, and practice. Break a leg!