5 Ways to Avoid Death by Powerpoint

by pgiles on October 19, 2011

‘Death by Powerpoint’ is something we’ve all experienced and hopefully try to avoid when putting together our own presentations. PowerPoint is a ubiquitous tool in corporate and educational communications but unfortunately, dull presentations are more common than exciting ones.

So what is the best way to create a PowerPoint that will engage an audience rather than lull them off to sleep?

Compelling storytelling has got to be at the heart of any presentation which means deciding on a clear and concise structure and choosing engaging images to support what you are saying.

Here are 5 useful places where you can get design tips and resources to help you create better powerpoint presentations.

Slide Guru provides case studies and examples of effective powerpoint slide design. Particularly good are examples which show how to clearly visualise complex statistical information and Before & After examples show simple refinements that make all the difference when it comes to slide design.

Garr Reynold’s blog Presentation Zen focuses on a range of fundamental design issues that can help bring presentations to life. In a recently post he looks at ‘Eye gaze and the power of faces‘ covering design strategies that come naturally to filmmakers such as drawing attention to elements on the page through the direction of eye gaze.  Garr points out that our brain is inclined to extract faces from clutter of other details and that we sometimes see faces where there are none. Garr’s personal blog Garrreynolds.com also has a great range of tips for organisation, delivery and design of presentations.

Another approach to using Powerpoint in the classroom is to think non-linear. Making clickable powerpoint slides that can be navigated during your presentation (or afterwards by students) is a great way to create a rich e-learning resource. Once you scratch the surface of the tools available in PowerPoint, you’ll discover it offers easy ways to create e-learning resources. For more information see What Everybody Ought To Know About Using PowerPoint for e-learning,  5 Essential Rapid e-Learning Tips and How to Convert Your PowerPoint Presentation into an e-learning Course.

Finally, if you really want to avoid irritating your audience with Powerpoint presentations there are some good tips on the Microsoft blog here and some alternative design tips here.

Thanks to Daniel James for the great baby yawning photograph.

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