Professionals use the PowerPoint presentation tool frequently. Even though PowerPoint is designed to be user-friendly for professionals outside of the technology industry, there are still many tips and features you can learn to improve the effectiveness of your presentations. By knowing more about the numerous techniques and customizable tools available to PowerPoint users, you can improve the impact and aesthetic appeal of your presentations.
If you need to give a speech or lead a meeting, Microsoft PowerPoint is an excellent visual aid to assist you with your presentation. Because the application is designed for both newcomers and tech-savvy professionals, it won’t take days or months to understand it. Instead, there are a few straightforward steps you can take to create an effective PowerPoint presentation. This article outlines nine PowerPoint tips, tricks, and strategies to increase your presentation’s impact and audience participation.
13 PowerPoint Tips and Tricks
1. Know your audience
Before you begin preparing a PowerPoint presentation, consider your audience. Personalize your presentation format and message based on what your audience might already know about the subject and how much it could engage them.
For example, if you’re presenting to a group of professionals in your field, you can discuss or explain the topic in detail. In contrast, if you’re giving a presentation to professionals considering a career transition into your field, it might be best to simplify the language and concepts you use.
2. Understand Your Goals
Why are you creating this PowerPoint presentation? Are you looking to convey important information to a colleague? Are you planning to use it in a sales pitch?
When you know what you want to accomplish with the presentation, you can make sure all of your content and design choices work towards that specific goal.
For example, if you’re creating an internal presentation to be shared with company leaders, you might not need to put as much effort into its design. Why? Because your audience doesn’t need to be sold with flashy visuals. They just need to understand the information you share.
So before you do anything else, ask yourself, “Why am I making this presentation?” Then let your answer guide every PowerPoint decision you make.
3. Get to Know Your Audience
Do you know what you want to accomplish with your PowerPoint presentation? Good, now it’s time to focus on the audience you’ll deliver it to. Who are these people?
Take a moment to get to know the folks watching your presentation. That way you can cater it to them and use PowerPoint tricks you know they’ll appreciate.
Let’s return to our previous example and pretend that you’re creating an internal presentation for company leadership. These people already have an intimate understanding of the products you sell. As such, you probably don’t need to create PowerPoint slides that explain product features like you would if you were giving a sales presentation to potential customers.
This is really important! One of the best ways to improve your presenting skills is to learn about your unique audience and adjust your presentation to match.
4. Don’t Overcomplicate Things
You might want to jazz up your presentations in every possible way, but this is usually a mistake. Instead, look to simplify whenever possible and avoid complications.
What does this look like in a real-world scenario? Here are a few ideas:
- Use Bullet Points: Nobody wants to read a wall of text—especially in a PowerPoint presentation. Break information down into manageable chunks via bullet points.
- Add More Slides: If you have a lot to say, increase the number of PowerPoint slides you use. That way your slides are never packed with too much information.
- Choose Quality Visuals: Images and videos are perfect for PowerPoint presentations because they relay information quickly. We’ll talk more about visuals in a bit. For now, just know that they can help you easily simplify your presentation.
PowerPoint tips and tricks aren’t always fancy. Sometimes the best thing you can do is simplify your presentation. Learn to do that and your presenting skills will improve!
5. Move Beyond Stock Templates
PowerPoint templates aren’t bad; they’re just overused. This is why we suggest moving beyond stock templates and creating customized slides for your presentations.
We won’t lie, to do this effectively you need an eye for design. It helps if you have years of experience, too. If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. You can easily increase the quality of your presentations by downloading premium templates from 24slides.com.
Whether you create your own slides from scratch or download premium templates from a company like 24Slides, make sure your presentations don’t look like everyone else’s.
6. Prioritize Visuals Over Text
Remember when we said we’d talk about PowerPoint visuals? Now is the time!
Visuals will allow you to convey information more efficiently. They’ll also make your presentation more engaging. Seriously, who wants to stare at plain white slides? Fortunately, there are plenty of visuals you can use for your next presentation:
- Images and Videos: The easiest way to incorporate visuals into your PowerPoint presentations is to add still images. But if you want to get fancy, add a video to your slideshow instead! Coverr.co has tons of stock video footage you can use for free.
- Charts and Graphs: Is your presentation data heavy? Then consider incorporating a few charts and graphs to make the information easier for your audience to understand.
- Shapes and Icons: Finally, use PowerPoint Shapes to add shapes and icons to your presentations. Can’t find the right visual in PowerPoint’s database? Make your own by editing stock shapes into custom creations. It’s really easy to do!
Of all the PowerPoint presentation tips and tricks out there, this is one of the most important. Oftentimes the difference between a killer presentation and boring one is quality visuals. Work hard to get your visuals right and the quality of your presentations will skyrocket.
7. Choose the Right Colors and Fonts
Images, videos, and charts are important, but they aren’t the only design elements available to you. Pay attention to the colors and fonts you use as well.
When it comes to color, choose hues that match the emotional tone of your presentation. For example, when sharing exciting news, use bright colors such as red and orange. When detailing areas of improvement, stick with blues and purples, which have been known to help people feel calm and relaxed—emotions you want to create after delivering bad news.
What about fonts? Again, match them to your presentation.
A marketing-themed slideshow, for instance, might use fancier fonts than a sales-themed slideshow. Why? Marketing is often seen as a more creative field than sales, which means fancy fonts might be more accepted by marketers than they would be by salespeople.
No matter what, make sure your fonts are easy to read! If they aren’t, what’s the point?
8. Elevate Your Presentation With Audio
Did you know you can add audio to your PowerPoint presentations? You totally can!
Imagine how much more effective your product demo slideshows will be when they include actual customer interviews. Or how much more engaging your marketing slideshows will be when the soundtrack for your favorite action movie is playing in the background.
Audio has the potential to make your next PowerPoint presentation stand out, grab your audience’s attention, and help them remember your slideshow for weeks afterwards. That’s why this is one of our favorite PowerPoint tips and tricks. Give it a try!
9. Be Careful With Transitions
Slide transitions can help bring your PowerPoint presentations to life. They can also make them look super cheesy if you’re not careful.
PowerPoint offers a bunch of different transitions, ranging from simple swipes to ripple and vortex effects. They’re really easy to add, too. All you have to do is:
- Select a slide, then click the “Transitions” tab.
- Choose a transition from the drop-down menu.
- Click “Effects Options” to edit the transition.
- Click “Preview” to see the transition in action.
Here’s what we recommend: choose a maximum of three transition types per presentation. This will give your slideshow a feeling of consistency. And don’t feel the need to add a transition to every slide. Use them sparingly so as not to bore your audience.
10. Rehearse Your Presentation
Last, but certainly not least, rehearse your presentation before you give it!
This is so simple. Unfortunately, tons of people forget to do it and their performance suffers as a result. Don’t let this happen to you. Make time to practice—preferably in front of a mirror or, even better, a camera. That way you can see yourself and analyze your delivery.
Maybe you say “um” too often. Maybe you make a distracting motion with your fingers throughout your presentations. We all have weird tics when public speaking. Recording yourself will allow you to see your personal tics and eliminate them.
11. Design unique shapes
Use the PowerPoint shape tool to create customized shape designs. You can use PowerPoint shapes for a range of purposes, including emphasizing different parts of your text or customizing your slide background. By right-clicking on a shape and choosing “Edit Points,” you can alter the dimensions or corners of your shape’s design. You can also combine two different shapes into one by navigating to “Shape Format,” followed by “Merge Shapes.”
12. Customize your toolbar
If you frequently use PowerPoint, consider customizing your Quick Access toolbar. This toolbar can make it easier for you to access the features that you use most often.
The Quick Access toolbar sits just above the main ribbon that offers tabs such as “Home,” “Insert” and “Review.” Select the features that appear on your Quick Access toolbar by clicking on the white arrow that faces downward, located right above the main ribbon. From there, choose “More Commands” and then find the list that says “Choose commands from.” After selecting “Commands Not in the Ribbon,” you can customize your Quick Access Toolbar by highlighting a command from this list and then clicking on the “Add” button.
13. Turn on track changes
Use PowerPoint’s built-in track changes features if you’re collaborating with another professional or team on your presentation. If you turn on the track changes feature, PowerPoint can then maintain a record of any adjustments made to your slide deck, even if you save over those changes. Track changes also allows collaborators to leave comments on different slides. While these comments won’t appear during presentation mode, they can be useful when deciding how to edit your slide deck.