There are millions of jobs all over the world that require expertise in Powerpoint. However, learning how to design and deliver a high-quality presentation can be tricky, especially if you’ve never worked extensively with the software before. Not all high schools, colleges, or graduate schools appropriately emphasize the importance of hands-on skills with presentation programs, even amongst those focused on business.
If you find yourself falling behind or with a big presentation coming up that you’re not sure how to prepare for, it’s worth catching up on any skills you may have missed insofar as they relate to Powerpoint slides. Keep reading for a primer on three effective ideas for Powerpoint design that you can use in your next meeting.
1. Stick to the rule of three.
One of the most simple and effective PowerPoint design ideas is to stick to what’s known as the “rule of three”. You may have heard of it before, as it is applied to every industry from comedy to television writing to the business world. In essence, pairing things in groups of three has been shown to increase memorability and engagement with audiences. Even most movies utilize some version of the three-act structure.
In the context of a Powerpoint presentation, this can look like including three images per slide, highlighting three facts on an infographic, or simply dividing the design of a slide or image into even thirds. The “rule of three” is used widely in marketing, and there is even a scientific basis for its effectiveness, so it’s a good place to find inspiration if you have a presentation to build.
2. Put images on the left and text on the right.
If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a good idea to research the picture superiority effect. The idea behind this theory is that photos are more memorable than words, so they should be prioritized when designing things like slides or infographics. It’s a good idea to ensure that any Powerpoint presentations you give offer more visuals than text, on balance. More visual images make it more likely that your audience will recall what you talked about in detail and that your message will be easily remembered.
Within Powerpoint, this can be achieved in a variety of ways. Sparse text with strong visual elements is a good idea for any slide. Slides that require more text can benefit from having an image present on the left of the slide and the text on the right, to allow most people to process the image first.
3. Avoid too much white space.
While it’s a good idea to make sure your presentation doesn’t look too busy, an abundance of white space can be equally distracting. Some people default to leaving a large amount of white space because of the belief that as a design choice it looks minimalist or clean. It’s important to balance avoiding clutter with presenting unique slides that offer visual interest to your audience. If your goal is to focus on content with a minimal amount of design, try to manage the amount of white space in your designs to avoid it being the dominant visual element.
Powerpoint can be easy to overlook, but mastering Powerpoint presentation design can be a useful skill to have on your résumé, no matter what position you’re interested in. Learning how to best present data via infographics in an engaging way is essential if your job involves education or business. Even for simple projects like communicating office policies or explaining a style guide, Powerpoint presentations can be the best and most efficient way to deliver your message.
Given the wide variety of applications that the software has and the difference that skill can make in your final product, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to Powerpoint. Investing time into learning top-tier slide design and presentation skills is likely to pay dividends both in your current job and in your future career.