PowerPoint Tips and Tricks
PowerPoint is simple to use.
But like anything else, unless you are confident of your ability to handle whatever comes up, it can be quite daunting.
The following few pages will help you learn to “drive” your presentation like a veteran and be able to perform well without breaking into a sweat.
We strongly recommend that you practice everything you read here.
Fundamental Elements of Slide Design
You are going to use PowerPoint to get your message across to your audience effectively.
Therefore, you will need to ensure your slides are designed to support your presentation and not to undermine it.
Below is a table with several qualities that you should consider carefully in the creation of your slide deck.
PowerPoint is a visual medium so at every opportunity, think visually.
If it’s not adding to the presentation, then delete it.
It’s got to help the audience understand an idea within seconds.
Negative space, the parts that are left blank, help to create an overall image.
Use negative space to create shapes as you would any other element.
Space can be used to delineate sections and use as much
of the real estate as possible.
All objects are composed of shapes and all other 'Elements of Design'
are shapes in some way and can convey different meanings.
This refers to the way a surface feels or is perceived to feel.
Texture can be added to attract or repel interest to an element,
depending on the type of texture.
Colour creates a mood within the piece and tells a story about the brand.
Every colour says something different,
and combinations can alter that impression further.
• Perspective: the sense of distance between elements
• Similarity: ability to seem repeatable with other elements
• Continuation: the sense of having a line or pattern extend
• Repetition: elements being copied or mimicked numerous times
• Rhythm: is achieved when the recurring position, size,
colour and use of a graphic element has a purpose
Themes and their use in continuity of style help make the PowerPoint
deliver a message on more than one level.
It also helps to make it memorable.
Create aide memoirs for the audience to remember your presentation.
Briefing a Slide Show
What to be aware of when briefing someone to create a Slide Show for you
Keep the information graphical rather than textual. People grasp graphics much quicker than words.
Ask for uncluttered slides. If you cannot grasp the broad picture of a slide immediately then it is too complex.
The minimum point size for legible writing is 30!
This looks far too big in a document and a little big on a computer screen, but it’s only just big enough when being read on a fuzzy projector from the back of the room.
Clean typefaces (Arial) read better than fancy ones (Monotype Corsiva).
Be ruthless in cutting down detail.
If your slides are a series of headings to prompt you to speak, then print them out and use them as notes to speak from, because that is what they are.
Go back to the drawing board for something more interesting or challenging than bullet points.
Interpreting the slide is your job as a presenter. If the slide can be read and understood entirely without your help, then it is too complex and belongs in a takeaway or handout document.
Additionally, your PowerPoint Slide Show should not be the same as your takeaway document; they both perform different functions.
The takeaway needs written interpretation of data and graphics, the Slide Show should allow you the presenter to do the interpretation.
Basic tips for running a Slide Show
To go to the beginning of the Slide Show, push the “Home“ key.
To go to the end of the Slide Show, push the “End“ key.
Push the “B” key and the screen will go blank. Push it again to return the screen to normal.
Push the “W” key and the screen will go white. A prompt for all these keystrokes and more will appear if you push the “F1” key.
Using a clicker (a remote control for PowerPoint) will allow you the freedom to use all of your presenting area if you wish as it frees you from being near your computer.
Every clicker will have the forwards, back and blank button.
Navigation through a Slide Show
Typing the number of a slide, say “14“, followed by the return key will take you directly to that slide. This enables you to navigate by jumping backwards or forwards through your presentation.
You can, for instance, skip over a slide or skip to any slide in the presentation, if you know its number.
You can create a Slide Show with multiple endings. (This might be useful, for example, where you are taking part in an interactive audience presentation where your conclusion or final slide is determined by the outcome of the discussions in the room).
The benefit of this feature is that you can expand or contract your Slide Show to fit the circumstances.
For example, 12 slides for a simple presentation followed by an end slide, numbered 13.
This can then be followed by 6 more slides and another end slide.
This means that you can change your mind as you get to slide number 12, type in “14” followed by the return key thereby skipping the first end slide number 13 and nobody is any the wiser.
This method of navigating also works well when you want to add additional slides to a PowerPoint presentation to address questions you know the audience are likely to ask during a question and answer session.
All you have to do is make a note of the numbers and keep this with your notes.
Then, when a question is asked you type in the number of the relevant slide followed by the return key and you look very slick indeed.
Nevertheless, be mindful to keep the number of slides that you use overall to a minimum.
This will ensure you are less likely to make a mistake moving backwards and forwards within the presentation.
Knowing the number of your end slide means you can skip to the end slide of your presentation at any time.
The “Esc“ key will take you out of your Slide Show or out of any multimedia segment.
This is particularly useful if you are playing a five-minute audio-visual sequence that you want to skip, or if you somehow find yourself repeating that sequence (it can happen) and you don’t want to sit through it all again!
A final word
Always remember you are more important than the Slide Show.
No matter how good the show, in the end, it is always you they buy.
If this weren’t true we would just send people a copy of our wonderful Slide Show and wait for them to call.
You make a presentation, the Slide Show backs you up.
See also PowerPoint Skills - Top 10 Tips - How PowerPoint can Make You Look Good
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