5 Professional PowerPoint Secrets

If you've spent much time building a PowerPoint presentation, then you know how challenging it can be to create an effective presentation. Here are five "insider" secrets from professional PowerPoint designers to help you engage and hold your audience's attention.

1. Consistency means Professional Polish. You want the audience to focus on the content, not the delivery. The best way to do this is to create a transparent approach by being as consistent as possible in your use of all elements of your presentation, from fonts, colors, layouts, animations, and slide transitions.

2. Variety is the spice of life, and your presentation. This may seem like a direct contradiction to secret #1, but it's not. You need to find a way to visually cue your audience that a new slide has appeared, and therefore, it must look different from the previous slide in some obvious way.

3. Use Both Images and Text. Some people are more verbally (text) oriented, and some are more visually (image) oriented.

4. Be Bold. PowerPoint slides tend to function best when they are straightforward and bold. Follow the famous advice to billboard designers:
Make something that can be read from a car zooming by at 60 miles an hour, at night, during a rain storm, and through a dirty windshield.

5. Space out. A common question is, "I have 25 minutes to present, and so how many slides should I make?" There is no hard and fast rule, but it is helpful to keep the following in mind. It's much more interesting and engaging for the audience to have the information spaced out over more slides that advance quickly, than a few slides that sit on the screen for seemingly an eternity that are crammed with so much content they are hard to read.

Lastly, keep this observation from information design guru Edward Tufte in mind:
The best way to improve your PowerPoint presentation is to improve the content.

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