Could you design a PowerPoint presentation that has just one word, one idea or even one image per page? Here's why you should try.
One idea per slide.
Let's face it, the only thing worse than having to sit through a PowerPoint presentation is ... having to sit through a really bad PowerPoint presentation.
You know what we're talking about: text-heavy slides with so many bullet points that you struggle to stay awake let alone understand what the talk is about.
But it doesn't have to be that way. PowerPoint is actually a great tool when it's used as a visual aid for storytelling rather than a dumping ground for data.
To connect with an audience and keep them engaged, PowerPoint slides should be simple and highly visual and complement the narrative from the presenter. Are you able to create a PowerPoint slide that uses just one or two words?
If you want to stand out from your competition by designing and delivering PowerPoint with a difference, consider these useful tips.
Have A Clear AIM
The short period of time you have to engage an audience requires some strategic thinking and planning. Be clear about who your most valuable audience is; know the issues they care about or need to hear about; and then come up with three clear messages you need to get across.
Keep Text to A Minimum
PowerPoint slides are simply a guide to support what you are saying, so it’s best to use text sparingly or your audience will stop listening and start reading. Others might tune out altogether. So here's the test: are you able to create a PowerPoint slide that uses just three words, perhaps just one statistic or one image? That one statistic is a platform for you to tell a bigger story and to intrigue your audience. It's much more effective than using large slabs of text. And don't even think about reading the slide verbatim. Make life easier for your audience by using a large font - at least 24 point but preferably 30 point.
Make It Visual
It’s a proven fact that images and videos attract and persuadeaudiences more effectively than text alone. After all, a picture paints a thousand words. So if you have an exciting new product or service, use imagery rather than words to show how it’s making life simpler or easier for customers or clients. Just leave out the satanic spreadsheets.
Use Simple Words
There’s no faster turn off than a PowerPoint presentation laden with jargon or that screams “sales pitch”. Drop industry buzzwords like “synergy”, “optimise”, “efficiency”, “ROI” and instead use everyday language - or emotional words - that anyone on the street would understand. Remember the 2003 Columbia space shuttle accident: the PowerPoint report created by engineers contained so much complex technical information littered with jargon that it led to a chain of bad decisions. This miscommunication is widely blamed for Columbia burning up on re-entry, killing the seven crew members on-board.
Stick to just three ideas
If you tell an audience everything, you tell them nothing at all. A list of three things is far more intriguing than just one or two and it’s easier to remember than five, six, seven or even 10 things. Apple's Steve Jobs (pictured) mastered the art of focusing on just three things: three products, three ideas, three benefits. He once stepped on stage and said:
“Today we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device.”
Of course, he was talking about one device, the iPhone, but he broke it up into three distinct talking points which made it easier to absorb.
Tell A Story
The best way to connect with an audience and to hold their attention is through storytelling. Storytelling is memorable and persuasive and can help those who might not be familiar with a situation understand quickly. So, don’t bombard audiences with facts and figures on your slides – join the dots and tell them a story. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. So your slides should do the same.
Five or Six Slides is Best
Ideally, a PowerPoint presentation shouldn’t need more than five or six slides. Each slide is merely reinforcing what you are saying, so it’s there as a visual aid while you unpack an idea. The absolute limit is 10 because no one will be able to comprehend more than 10 concepts in a presentation or meeting. You will just be wasting your time and losing the attention of your audience. Each slide should sit there for at least a minute while you tell a story. Let it sit there for a brief moment before you start talking. And don’t be one of those people beholden to the tool who feels a need to race through the slides.
Deliver it in under 10 Minutes
We all know that attention decreases and interest wanes over time when things stop moving or are repetitive. Sure, some people might still take notes or listen no matter what, but on the whole a long-winded presentation is likely to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. When it comes to strategic engagement in the digital age, shorter, sharper insights are best and visual storytelling is best of all. If you can’t deliver a key insight or call to action in under 10 minutes, then you are wasting everyone’s time.