We’ve all heard of “death by PowerPoint.” Either we’ve been one of its unfortunate victims or, worse still, one of its perpetrators. But how do you go about creating captivating slides that don’t put your audience to sleep?
The first step is to understand that our brains are wired to process visual information faster than text. According to the latest studies, we can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. At least 65% of the population are visual learners, while the remaining 35% are auditory learners and 5% are experiential.
The answer is that while most of us have dedicated many years to mastering verbal and written communication, we’ve never learned the principles necessary to communicate visually. Visme have created an illustrated e-book full of practical tips for those who want to seriously level up their presentation design skills but don’t have the time or resources to take design courses.
Let’s take you through a quick overview of each chapter’s main takeaways:
1. A new way to think about presentations
The first key to moving an audience is understanding that all good presentations have three things in common:
- Good content
- Purposeful design
- Engaging delivery
Yet most presenters concentrate mostly on transferring information alone without any forethought as to how to make audience members care about your message and help them process it with as little effort as possible.
This is where deliberate design choices and an effective delivery make all the difference in how your message is received.
Learn more about the three pillars of a good presentation here.
2. What Is Your Message?
The next step to creating an unforgettable presentation is honing in on your key message. The best way to start is to determine who your audience is and what problem they need to solve.
To get a better idea of a typical audience member, ask yourself these questions:
- What is their demographic and psychographic information, such as gender, income level, interests, values, personality traits, etc.?
- What problem can you help them with? What do they hope to learn from your talk?
- How do they best process information? Are they expecting a detailed report or a general overview?
- How familiar are they with the subject matter? Are they familiar with the terminology you plan to use?
- What objections might your audience have to your message?
Once you’ve created a representative audience persona, you can then draw out an audience journey map, which is nothing more than a visualization of the narrative arc of your presentation.
Like your favorite TV shows and movies, the most memorable and effective presentations have a plot and narrative structure that takes your audience on an engaging yet informative journey. By carefully weaving facts and stories together, you can create desire in your audience to know what comes next and, at the same time, transmit concrete information that will help them understand a concept or solve a problem.
Learn more about the process for creating your own audience journey maps here.
3. Creating Visual Slides
Once you have a bird’s-eye view of how your presentation will unfold, you can now proceed to create your individual slides.
Instead of choosing a template and inserting bullet point after bullet point, why not make deliberate design choices to communicate your message more effectively?
For example, rather than using small images next to your bullet points, opt for full-bleed images that cover the entire space of your slide. And instead of using a 12-point font that may be too small to read for those in the back of the room, make sure to use text with a point size that is no smaller than 30. This way, you will replace the unnecessary document-made-slide for something more akin to a billboard ad, which can be processed in a matter seconds.
Besides fonts, colours can significantly influence the way your audience perceives your message. For instance, a red-and-black colour scheme may seem bold, edgy and intense, while a dark blue-and-white color scheme with orange accent colors can send a message of professionalism with a splash of optimistic energy.
For more information on how to find the perfect colour combinations for your slide deck, including a section on how to extract colour schemes from the images in your slide deck, download the full 125-page visual guide here
Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and content editor at Visme, a browser-based infographic and presentation tool. Besides researching trends in visual communication and next-generation storytelling, she’s passionate about data-driven content marketing. Follow her on Twitter @nchibana.