No one wants their training referred to later as “death by PowerPoint.” When this slow and cruel form of punishment happens, it’s not from using a PowerPoint deck during training, but from using it ineffectively. It cautions not to make your course centered on PowerPoint.
I recently attended an in-person presentation with multiple presenters. I was surprised to see a poorly-designed deck by someone who is in Marketing! It was slide after slide of text. I’ll be honest and admit that my eyes glazed over, and I spent the time thinking about what I was going to have for lunch. I can’t remember anything he taught us.
The value of a good slide deck is credibility, professionalism, guidance, structure, transition and visual support. With MS Office 2010, creating a solid PowerPoint presentation is sooo easy, there’s no excuse for bad design – except that the dog ate your laptop. Here are three tips to get you started:
Choose a Built-in PowerPoint Design
You’re the trainer with the expertise. When you’re in a virtual setting, you’re slide deck is an important piece to conveying credibility so that learners will trust that you know what you’re talking about. A couple of clicks is all it takes to create a professional and visually-pleasing design:
- Open PowerPoint 2010.
- Click Design in the top ribbon.
- Select one of the built-in designs.
- Add your title.
To insert a new slide:
- On the left side of the window (Slides tab), right-click with your mouse.
- Click New Slide.
Et voila! Could it be any easier? Not really.
Visually Guide Your Learners Think about your PowerPoint slide deck as a way to visually guide and add dimension to the training. Start by looking at your training outline and placing each topic and activity on its own slide. Drill down from there and create separate slides to keep the information in simple, digestible bits. Then consider where to add the visuals.
Which one are you more likely to remember?
1. One slide with bullet points
2. A series of images
To insert an image:
- Click on the slide where you want to insert the image.
- Click Insert in the top ribbon.
- Select Picture to browse for, and choose, a picture from your computer files.
- Select Clip Art to search for, and choose, clip art using MS Office’s Clip Art tool.
- You can resize the image by clicking and dragging the sides larger or smaller.
Keep Your PowerPoint Simple
Avoid slides with lots of text. I mean it. Do not write your entire presentation on the deck because you want to cram everything in there. Or because you’re afraid you’ll forget what to say. This can overwhelm your audience. Any text you include should only be jumping-off points for your discussion and activities. What to keep in mind:
- Short, high-level phrases that are easy to remember
- 3-4 bullet points per slide
- Avoid low contrast between font color and background color, keep it clean
- Add images to support the points, or fill the entire slide with an image for greater impact
- Consistent font and color, 24 pt or larger
- Avoid ALL CAPS – IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING
Get creative! As shown above, images are best, such as pictures, graphs and infographics. Here are some resources:
- For inspiration, check out presentations on SlideShare
- Free screen/image capturing tools
- How to create an infographic
Now you’re on your way to better PowerPoint design. If you have an idea you’d like to share with our webinar course community, let us know on Facebook!
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Corena Bahr is a webinar developer and producer determined to end the average webinar snoozefest. Through her consulting company, YourWebinarGuru, she teaches how to transform one-way marketing webinars into two-way interactive learning experiences that deliver value, build relationships and add income.