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PowerPoint: 3 effective rules

The slide show during a lecture is like piano accompaniment for a singer. Theirs sounds to the piano voice even more beautiful - but the soloist also sings perfectly unaccompanied.

Playing good accompaniment is an art. It is also an art to create an effective PowerPoint presentation. Effective because it enriches your presentation. But always discreetly in the background, while you stand in the foreground as a soloist.

We have three basic PowerPoint rulesthat you should be aware of. And if you would also like to improve your presentation skills with PowerPoint, then take a look at our Presentation training.

PowerPoint rule no. 1: Make it meaningful

Accompaniment only makes sense if it plays something other than the solo part - but the key has to be right.

Applying it to your presentation is PowerPoint rule # 1: Your slides are one coherent addition to your lecture. Please do not repeat everything you say in bullet points on the slides. In doing so, you make yourself superfluous. The viewer's gaze sticks to the wall.

What can you write on your slides?

  1. Keywords and keywords
  2. Complex technical terms or numbers
  3. Work assignments and instructions

To illustrate your content, photos or graphics are usually much better than text. Graphics make content tangible. And pictures convey emotions. Be creative and remember at the same time: Images and cliparts are there to convey a message - your message! Put yourself in the position of your viewer. What effect does your presentation have on him? Does he get the message? Is it thought provoking?

PowerPoint rule no. 2: Make it clear

A soloist will avoid placing three percussionists and a brass band behind her.

Likewise, it suits you as well Speaker, to the heart that your listeners are never distracted from the essential content. For your presentation this means: Design your slides clearly!

Too much text or too many colors can make your slides look cluttered. You will kill your audience with it. You should therefore use the following rules of thumb as a guide:

  • A maximum of 3 bullet points per slide
  • At most 2 different colors
  • Maximum of 1 font and font size (excluding headings)

It is also advisable to go through each slide carefully and ask yourself the question: is the central message visible at first glance?

Note: If you are interested in the 3 most common rhetoric errors in PowerPoint presentations in addition to PowerPoint rules, then take a look at the following video lesson from the online course "Presenting with PowerPoint: inspire your audience„:

PowerPoint rule no. 3: Make it uniform

A professional pianist should be able to accompany the soloist at a consistent volume.

Also a professional lecture is characterized by its uniformity out. A uniform design provides a good basis. You can choose a template for this or create your own design. With the Slide master it's a breeze. And it's worth the effort: Your own design has the advantage that you can add your name, your company logo or your contact address to the edges.

Each slide can be assigned to you. You also have the option of uniformly labeling each slide with the title and date of the lecture, as well as a page number. In this way, each slide is always in the context of your entire presentation.

If not already specified by your design, ensure a uniform positioning of title and images. You don't want to distract your viewers with images that bounce back and forth or change their size.

Finally, you have to make sure that you use similar images or cliparts. Either cartoon characters or inspirational landscape photography - choose a consistent style.

Apply the PowerPoint rules - with our practical guide in 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Define the goal and target group

You have probably already checked whether you can use the master slide and the design of your client. Or is it not? In any case, it is advisable to focus on the overall design of the presentation audience to orient. So always ask yourself: How does this image, this font and this graphic affect my viewers?

Step 2: Define a uniform layout

Nothing is more annoying than having to check and correct every image and every text field retrospectively if their arrangement is not uniform. That is why it always pays to commit to a layout at the beginning. Little tip: Use guide lines (left mouse button) to capture your sample layout.

3rd step: Structure of the content

The aim of this step: completeness and clarity. You have probably already prepared the sequence of your content. Then this step means for you to transfer the flow of your content to the presentation. You may want to make the beginning of the presentation exciting and engaging. It is then advisable to depict the structure on the second slide at the latest. Stick to this outline. This is for your own benefit: this is how you make sure that you don't lose the thread.

4th step: Design of the foils

Now comes the step that most people start with: designing the slides. It is important in this step that the slides are seen as a supplement to your presentation. Copy & paste is prohibited! You better be creative, look for a few meaningful pictures or create a graphic. Your audience will thank you!

Step 5: clean up the slides

Finally, go over each slide again. On the one hand, you are looking for spelling errors and at the same time ask yourself critically for each content: Is this information necessary? Or can I shorten, simplify or delete it?

Voilà. Your presentation is ready.

Would you like to work more on your presentation skills from the comfort of your home and stay in the mind of your audience with the help of practical tips & tricks? Then take a look at some of the free lessons in our online course "Presenting with PowerPoint: inspire your audience“To with already over 3,500 registered participants.

Author: Johannes Stark