A dull presentation will hold you back.
But a mind-blowing slide deck will accelerate your career.
Here are 10 dead-simple ways to improve your slides today:
#1: Don’t start your prep with PowerPoint.
It’s very common for people to start their preparation by opening PowerPoint and writing down everything they know about the topic.
Don’t do this.
When you do this, you end up with your slides being in control of your presentation.
Instead, make your slides the LAST stage of your prep.
- Understanding your audience
- Crafting your audience transformation
- Establishing how you’ll get them there
Once that’s done THEN think about where slides add value.
#2: Use fewer slides.
If you have 50 slides for a 30-minute talk, you’ve gone overboard.
Less than one slide per minute is a rough guide.
If you feel you need more slides to help your audience understand your message, then your message isn’t clear enough.
On the other hand, if you’ve prepped your content well, you’ll probably only need a few slides.
This point is hard to understand until you realize that your slides aren’t your presentation.
#3: Check the text size.
Help keep your words to a minimum.
Nobody benefits from you reading off your slides.
- Use max 30-point font
- Use max 20 words per slide
Restrict yourself to improve your communication.
These aren’t absolutes, but if you find you want more than 20 words per slide, you are likely confusing your slides and your notes.
#4: Get quality images.
There are so many online resources to choose from.
Follow these 4 rules for your images:
- Never use clip art
- Make them high res
- Max one image per slide
- Ensure you have the right to use them
Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay are all great resources to get clear, crisp images.
Check them out.
#5: Only one idea per slide.
Where most presenters go wrong is they try to cram too much information into one slide.
Stick to one idea per slide and you’ll keep your audience on board.
If you find that gives you 60 slides…it’s time to rework your content.
#6: Choose one font.
Consistency gives a much better visual feel.
If you understand design, pick a couple of fonts that work together.
If you don’t know how to pick fonts that go well together, be safe and stick with one font throughout.
I use sans serif fonts because they look clear and are easier to read on a screen.
#7: Don’t over-animate.
If you’re an expert designer – go for it with detailed graphics.
Otherwise, leave animations out.
No talk got better because of spinning text.
#8: Less is more.
The most important message about slides:
your slide deck IS NOT your presentation.
YOU are your presentation.
Each slide should only be there if it adds value.
Make every single one count.
#9: Remember accessibility.
Don’t get confused by thinking your slides equal accessibility.
Accessibility is in:
- audio loops
- live transcripts
Accessibility does not mean you have to write everything you are saying onto your slides.
#10: Go slide free.
I know it can be scary.
We rely on our slides for comfort and reassurance.
But once you’ve mastered the true value of slides, you might actually find you don’t need them at all.
Be bold and try it.