The rise of PowerPoint in content creation
We definitely could have called this the rise and rise and rise of PowerPoint.
It’s back in a big way, (or did it ever really go away?).
- 19th May
PowerPoint may seem like a dinosaur to some, and there are definitely whizzier options out there, but more often than not, the demand for PowerPoint’s usability and compatibility supersedes any snobbiness around the platform itself.
Kick-off meetings, both virtual and in-person, have probably been our biggest generators of slideware recently, closely followed by First Meeting Decks (FMDs) and Value Proposition slides.
In fact, we’re only halfway through the year, and we’ve already worked on 52(!) different slide decks. Just let that sink in a little. In fact we’ve been doing so many, that we thought we’d pull together a few basic tips for creating slideware that stands out.
Know your slideware lingo
We reckon IT & technology businesses need to have a few core slide deck templates in their arsenal. Here are some of the types, and what the presenter and audience respectively need to get out of them:
- Pitch deck: your business wants funding, and your audience are hopefully going to help with that.
- FMD: you want your business to make a great first impression, your audience are there to find out why you’re relevant to them.
- Sales deck: pretty self-explanatory, but you’ve got something to sell, and your audience are hopefully buying.
- Technical deck: you’re getting into the nitty gritty of a topic or solution, and you’ve got the right people in the room to understand that information.
- Event slides: you’re hosting. These slides are keeping your attendees in the know about what’s coming up next, where they need to be, and any other essential info.
- Report deck: you’re visually presenting your progress and missions. Your audience need to understand this clearly to contribute to future success.
- And finally, the lockdown throwback, the virtual quiz deck… Ok, that’s a bit of a joke, but hear us out: if you’re producing a deck of any kind for your business, it doesn’t hurt to make sure it’s as on-brand and on-point as possible.
Whether your deck is internal or external facing, make sure you’re clear on what you want your audience to get out of your presentation, so that you can meet their expectations and keep them engaged. We’ve all seen way too many presentations that are dry as bone – and let’s face it, in the IT and tech sector, it can’t all be thrilling topics…
But that’s the art of the presentation. And that’s where we come in.
Be content with your content
The content of your PowerPoint must be engaging and not doze-worthy. Keep it lively and leave room for questions. It’s all about being clear, concise, and snappy. Shoot for a strong start, keep it sharp through the middle and close, and end with a clear CTA outlining your desired next steps.
Our top tip is to write your content, trim it right down, go away, make a cuppa, come back and trim it back down again.
Whether your PowerPoint is being presented or simply shared digitally as a file, speaker notes are your friend. Use them as a guide to keep yourself on message when presenting, or to inform readers of extra information that doesn’t necessarily have a place in the on-slide content.
And of course, don’t drown your slides in words. Introduce infographics, graphs, diagrams, quotes, statistics – anything visual that can evidence and accentuate your content.
It’s all in the details
That leads us onto the visuals.
First, think about how and where your PowerPoint is being used and viewed. Is the screen close up or far away? Does it need to be in light mode or dark mode? You need to factor in these considerations as you plan out your look and feel. With visuals, there are so, so many design elements we could talk about here, but we’ve picked out just a few core things to focus on to make your slide deck neat as a pin:
Colour is the most effective tool for grabbing the attention of your audience, but do exercise some restraint, and don’t use every colour in your palette. We’d always advocate that when it comes to slide design, less is definitely more.
Keep a close eye on what fonts are being used in your slides. Stay consistent throughout and make sure they’re web compatible. And if your brand has a few different fonts within its guidelines, we’ll let you in on a little secret, the best fonts for PowerPoint are Sans-Serif…
Once you’ve got your slide content clear and neat, move on to images. Without a shadow of a doubt your images must be of a good quality. Low quality images are worse than using none at all. And decide how you want to use images: are they there to illustrate your content or simply for the aesthetics? Create a language to how you use them, and stick to it so that your presentation flows and feels cohesive.
And finally, you never know where your presentation is going to end up, so ensure that any viewer knows the content is yours. That means including logos and contact details where appropriate. Setting up brand templates will ensure that you have all stylistic information readily available for whoever is presenting.
This isn’t Pixar…
Animations and transitions can definitely be one of the most effective parts of PowerPoint; they enhance, accentuate, and emphasise content. But go easy on the animations, and definitely try to resist even a fleeting temptation to use ‘swivel’ or ‘bounce’. Too much movement is distracting and makes your presentation feel a little amateur.
The same goes for slide builds and transitions. Please, at all costs, stay away from our personal least favourite transition: ‘curtains’. Transitions simply need to help build pace and be seamless, nothing flashy, nothing more.
With the right slides behind you, you’ll feel more confident when delivering your content, your brand appears more polished, and your audience are less likely to tune out. Win, win, win.
Interested in making your presentations powerful? Get in touch and we may let a few more advanced secrets slip…
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