Rules to Better Powerpoint Presentations
PowerPoint templates are designed to engage your audience visually and save you time. When you start creating a new presentation file, always make sure you use a template.
Pros of using a template are:
Figure: Good Example - That's a mighty fine looking template you got there
- Consistency of use for others at your company to work on it
- Consistency of look on intro and finish slides
- Consistency of look footer on each slide
- Consistency of general styling
- It helps with the process of getting a ‘Designer Test Pass’
Figure: Bad Example - Not using the corporate template (in this case not SSW)
How to pick the template: In newer versions of PowerPoint, it is necessary to add your custom template to: C:\Users<UserName>\Documents\Custom Office Templates\
Figure: Good Example - Your custom template appears in PowerPoint
How to check if the template is being used? There is no way to tell which template your presentation is using. The workaround is to add a hidden slide at the end with a list of the version changes e.g. version number, date, description.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this. What we need is a 'version' field and an 'Update' button - See our Suggestions to Microsoft PowerPoint: Check for Updates
Different layouts have different purposes. While the default layout is nice; it's not the only option available. But remember to keep all things in moderation. You want the audience to focus on the content, not guessing what layout the next slide will use.
Figure: Don't use the same layout for all slides, instead choose the right 'layout' for the each slide (this is called the layout library)
Each font or style (italics or bold) should be used consistently throughout your presentation. While a different font face or color is a simple way of highlighting certain terms you want for focus, too much of it will do exactly the opposite and distract the audience.
The rules are:
- Use one font per presentation
- Use one style (eg. bold or color) per slide if possible
- Steer clear of excessively bright colors or any flourished type face (both are hard to read)
Figure: Bad Example - 2 fonts are used, 2 styles are used, and flourished type face used. This all makes your slide hard to read for the audience
Add your logo and tagline for marketing purposes. The general concept is to use a catchphrase that will sum up the tone of a brand and to reinforce the audience's memory of your company/product.
Neither of these elements are intended to distract, so they are placed in the footer of the slide. It is present, but the influence is subtle and your audience's focus will remain squarely on the content.
Figure: Include a Logo and Tagline at the bottom of the 'slide master' for branding purposes
More Information: Do you know the way to add the tag line into slide master?
Adding the tag line and logo in the slide master will duplicate it automatically across all slides. This will dictate the size and font of text present on all slides.
You may be a natural born public speaker, but you will not be able 'wing' a presentation. Setting up a presentation takes time and practice. You want web pages already open, you want VMs ready and demos good to go.
So document the steps to undertake prior to starting and you will present in a snappier fashion and not need to say the lame statement "hope the demo gods are kind to me today".Figure: Use a Pre-setup slide prior to the presentation and your pace will be snappier
Create a hashtag for your presentation prior to the presentation and display it your introduction slide! Twitter backchannels are valuable sources of feedback.
If you are presenting to people who you already know, then you have an enormous advantage over someone who is going to face an audience they have never previously met.
It is best to confirm who you are speaking to via a few slides. Then you can make subtle changes during your presentation so your audience gets:
- What is important for them
- Interesting to them
- Relevant to them
Figure: Ask "How many are developers here?" Figure: Ask "How many are managers here?"
Always introduce yourself *after* you have asked the audience who they are. Don't be shy, tell them:
- Who are you? (optional - include something personal)
- What you do (your service or product)?
- What makes you qualified to speak on this topic?
Figure: Talk about yourself after you know the audience a little. It is not great to bring up the 'About' slide too early
A PowerPoint presentation is a verbal essay and it follows a structure. Shown at the start of the presentation, the Agenda slide sets expectation.
At the end the Summary slide should be identical, and summarize what you just spoke about.Figure: Slide for agenda Figure: Slide for summary (is the same as agenda)
You should have a good cover slide for each section of your presentation. They are called "section break" slides and are meant to visually divide the content structure. These slides should be consistent so they do not confuse the audience.
By placing a little visual cue on your slide, you can remind yourself to show a demo to the audience. Avoid displaying the word 'demo', because when out of time, presenters skip them and leave the audience felling ripped off.
The icon allows you to skip it when running short on time, without upsetting the audience.
Figure: Bad example - demo text shown. The problem is if you run out of time you need to say "Sorry, let's skip that demo since I am short of time". Then the audience feels cheated
Figure: Use an icon to indicate a "demo time"
In a similar fashion to the Do you remind yourself to do a demo? rule, you can also add a visual cue for any audience participation you would like, such as questions or voting.
Figure: Use an "?" image to tell the presenter to ask a question (if you don't have an image - just use the "?" text)
Never stretch small, low-resolution photos to make it fill up the space. This degrades the resolution and the image will appear very coarse and granular on the projection screen.
The quality of your images is a subconscious message to your audience. If you use low quality pictures, then you unintentionally suggest the same message about your product.
For this reason, we encourage you to choose only high quality photos and to avoid cartoons and word art.
Making your presentation over-complicated is a very easy trap to fall into. Many speakers make the mistake of giving way too much information.
In reality, giving a presentation is an entirely different genre from writing a technical report.
KISS - In its polite form, this stands for K eep I t S hort and S imple.
- In 20 minutes, you only have time for two major points
- In 30 minutes you might make three major points
- In 40-45 minutes you might be able to cover four major points, but three points and a longer time for questions would be a better alternative
Most experienced and talented TV presenters stick to making three points in half an hour - this is surely a lesson for anyone planning a presentation.
Small images are hard to see. Remember your audience sitting at the back of the room. Especially for screenshots displaying important text, use all your real estate.
Make your positive and negative points a tick and cross.
How to create these custom bullet points?
Read these instructions from Microsoft: Create custom bullets with pictures or symbols
Open a word doc at the start of your presentation. It is a good idea to have some interaction with your audience in the form of Q&A. This will instill a lasting message long after your presentation is over.
By opening a word document on the screen or projector, everyone in the room will be clear about the questions being asked and the answers being given. This will also help you address any open issues after the presentation.
Always end your presentation with a 'Thank You' slide. More than being polite, it makes clear that this is the last slide and presentation is over. You can also take the opportunity to inform the audience of your contact details.
Even better; if you did a good job, you might get a clap (or in Adam's case, a cough).Figure: Always finish with a ‘Thank You’ slide
What is Slideshare? Slideshare is an online archive of presentations and other documents. It is the best way to store your training material for search engines and is easily accessible.
Slideshare ranks well in google searches
Interestingly, keyword heavy slides from your PowerPoint will rank highly on Google Image Search
Check out the slideshare shown above: ''Supercharging your Xamarin app! 3 must use libraries"
Follow these steps to ensure you get as much coverage as possible before and after your presentation.
- Prepare your PowerPoint as normal. Refer to SSW Rules to Better Presentations.
- Work on your presentation from SharePoint to allow sharing.
- Get your content checked by a tester and a designer (See our Rule: Do you get someone to do a 'Test Please'?)
Before you upload to Slideshare, add two slides:
- On the last slide, add a generic Slideshare link such as http://www.slideshare.net/YourAccount - E.g. http://www.Slideshare.net/SSWConsulting/
- On the first slide add a note that contains the version. This is so that you can compare easily what version is on SharePoint and what is on Slideshare Figure: Add the version number on the bottom right corner of your first or second slide
- Upload to Slideshare – Make sure the title doesn’t have the version number on it
- Go to “My uploads” and change the presentation title to have the version number Figure: Adding the version number to the title (after uploading) won’t affect the URL
- Create a "_OnSlideshare.txt" file with the Slideshare URL and add it to SharePoint on the same folder where the original PPT is
Now you can present!
Figure: the SSW example of a Slideshare link slide
Figure: If you presentation is being recorded be sure to send yourself a reminder email to embedd the video in to the slideshare.
Don't want to use slideshare? There are some other options: https://rules.ssw.com.au/do-you-keep-your-presentations-in-a-public-location
Engaging with your audience when presenting can be a difficult skill and using eye contact is the key to gaining their attention. When presenting PowerPoint slides you may be tempted to look back at the screen behind you, but if you do that you will lose contact with the audience and it will lower their engagement.
To avoid problems, first make sure that your presentation PC is setup correctly before the presentation so that you can trust that the display behind you is working once you start speaking.
When making eye contact it is also important to scan across the audience to people in each part of the room. A friendly face can be easier to make eye contact with, so part of your skill needs to be to make contact and engage those that are not already warmed up to your presentation.
Another important part of the skill of making eye contact to create eye contact with individuals, and not just “look out” at the audience as a group. Keeping moving eye contact from individual to individual as you cover the points in your presentation will keep them interested and engaged.
Image is everything. Improve the way you market, educate and promote yourself with striking presentations. Your content might be great - but if it is displayed poorly - it will be overshadowed by its flaws. Use a designer to make your presentation stand out.
Do you conduct a "test please" internally and then with the client? Figure: Before and after... Designers can make anything look good
Most companies keep their presentations on an internal resource eg. SharePoint ... these days more likely Teams | Files ....and there is still a place for that (especially if you don't want to share it).
The best place for presentations (PPT) and other resources such as PDFs or a bunch of URLs is in a public location. The best public location is GitHub.
Did you know that if you keep your PowerPoint presentations in a public location, it makes it easier for your attendees to access later?
There are a few ways to do this:
- Option 1: Slideshare More at: Do you know to Slideshare your PowerPoint Presentations?
- Option 2: Notist A design & video collaboration, prototyping & workflow app for creative teams.
- Option 3: Sharing an OneDrive link (ouch - they expire 🔥)
- Option 4: GitHub (E.g. https://github.com/sswconsulting/presentations ) Recommended! ⭐️
Unfortunately, when you “Send As Email” it doesn’t compress the file; this is how to compress a PowerPoint for emailing.
Remove the video from the master slide.
This has been done in the 3.8 release of the template, but for old templates you may have to do this manually.
<img src="01.png" alt="01.png" style="margin:5px;width:808px;"> **Figure: Go to the slide master** <img src="02.png" alt="02.png" style="margin:5px;width:808px;"> **Figure: Find the slide layout "Presentation with Title and Video" and delete it.**
Compress ALL your images
<img src="05.png" alt="05.png" style="margin:5px;"> **Figure: Go to the File menu** <img src="06.png" alt="06.png" style="margin:5px;"> **Figure: Select Options** <img src="07.png" alt="07.png" style="margin:5px;width:808px;">**Figure: Apply settings. You may compress this further down to 96ppi if you must.**
Compress individual images (not recommended)
<img src="03.png" alt="03.png" style="margin:5px;width:808px;"> **Figure: Find the Image Compression option** <img src="04.png" alt="04.png" style="margin:5px;"> **Figure: Apply these settings and go for a coffee break. This may take a long time, depending on how many slides you have.**
Compress font - ONLY DO THIS WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED EDITING
<img src="08.png" alt="08.png" style="margin:5px;width:808px;"> **Figure: Apply these settings. Once you remove the font, you’re more likely to get missing font bugs when editing the file, so only do this step when you are done.**
Save as "YourFileName_compressed.pptx."
Do not override your original. You should always keep a high-res master of any media document.
If you find your files are still rather big after compression, you can export the PowerPoint to determine which particular slide is taking up all that space. http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/find-which-slide-in-your-powerpoint-presentation-is-the-largest-in-size/
When you show all of your content on a slide when it first loads many people will read ahead of what you are saying.
The summary slide is very important. It's your chance to re-iterate what you have covered in the talk, and remind the audience of your key points.
You want them listening to you, not reading ahead.
Animating the items on your Summary slide ensures they are listening to you, not reading ahead.
Remember to remove the https from your URLs in your presentations. It keeps the pages cleaner and more readable.