Why good Powerpoint slide design matters & what businesses get wrong

Julian Wan
August 18, 2020
These are the dos and don'ts of creating create visual presentations. They will keep your audience engaged and your ideas clear.

Most corporate Powerpoint slide design is awkward and unfit for function. These documents crowd cloud storage space on shared drives everywhere. They lay in wait, hoping for another opportunity to put your workforce to sleep. We've all witnessed bad presentations. Unless there's free coffee or fancy sparkling water in the meeting, a bad presentation becomes a cruel corporate endurance sport. If this sounds like your office, workplace, or organization, I've got bad news. You are bringing the pain on yourself.

Presentation design matters, as long as it's "presentable" and "designed".

Whether it's on Google SlidesMicrosoft Powerpoint, or Apple Keynote, a good presentation "deck" can bring your ideas to life. Great slideshows invigorate your audience, and sell yourself and your ideas all at once. That's the upside to this visually strategic sport. The downside is that most amateur business slides only aim to get ideas on the page. Their presentations gloss past any attempt to woo or awe their audiences. As a result, everyone wasted time. Even worse, bad presentations lead create silent rooms. Rooms where every person is sneaking glances at their phones hidden under the conference table.

Here are the DOs and DON'Ts of Powerpoint slide design, for whatever app you use.

**DO: **Embrace "killer visuals". Unapologetically. Why? As long as you have your facts straight, an accurate model, a solid forecast, and whatever else buttoned up, start having fun. Your audience won't expect to be entertained, and they will appreciate your effort, even if it's slightly silly. Nobody wants to see another "idea" slide with a light bulb on it. _Example: _After Mike Pompeo became Director of the CIA, he spoke with "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell. He conveyed the importance of "killer graphics" in his Powerpoint slide designs:

"I love killer graphics, I love 'em... so do you! It helps communicate information, right? This is the important thing, it's absolutely important that we deliver information to the president in a way. That in the time that can be allotted to this, that he can grasp the central information that we're trying to deliver to him." - CIA Director Mike Pompeo ‍ **DON'T: **Keep going just to finish your Powerpoint slides. Why? If the room is asleep, they can't hear you. If the room is fidgeting, they aren't comfortable. The rustle of papers and tapping of toes is a clear signal that you are suffocating and should cut your losses. I'm not sorry, you should be sorry if you've ever given a presentation like that.

Is your audience actually listening to your presentation? _Example: _If someone is sleeping through your presentation, they don't care about what you're saying. They're totally indifferent. This explains why Bill Cosby's own lawyer slept through a defense statements for 30 minutes in court. **DO: **Keep it simple. _Why? _Because people want to understand, and it's your job to help them. Simply state what your presentation is about. Present the key pillars, then summarize the purpose once more. That's it! A good Powerpoint presentation is designed to be short, sweet, and fun. An even better pro-tip is to create slides in an appendix at the end of your presentation. After you finish your sales presentation, you can open the floor for questions from your audience.  During the Q&A, and let your audience ask questions. Address frequently asked questions in your appendix. You will look twice as prepared, diligent, and smart if you can answer a question with visuals only when prompted. DON'T: Overthink it. _Why? _If you overthink your presentation, you will pollute your Powerpoint slide design with unnecessary info. Your presentation will feel like MTV Cribs, but you'll look like a crazed hoarder. Too much detail and information erodes the bigger picture.

You aren't a robot. Neither is your audience. Don't overload with information. A presentation should feel compelling, simple, and intelligent. Dozens of back-to-back slides with complex charts and illegible fine print can cause a big headache for your audience. DO: Get a template _Why? _Remember the adult coloring book crazy of 2015 - 2016? People became filthy rich by publishing black and white blank pages and charging adults for the privilege to color between the lines. A Presentation Template in Powerpoint or Keynote is the same idea. Except it saves you time instead of wasting it, and it can help you grow your business. If you'd like a fully custom template that helps you visually communicate quickly, drop us a note. We make custom solutions that pop.

A Powerpoint presentation made for AtlanticButler.com to reach new business partners. And if you don't need a custom solution, there are plenty of affordable Powerpoint, Keynote, and Google Slides templates online. Sure, you'll have to tinker with them, but there are options suited for many types of business. You can get medical, financial, even educational templates, and many more.

This "Clean" Keynote template is available for $17 on Slide Forest. Don't reinvent the wheel, stress out, or lose sleep. Go shopping for the best presentation template that's already out there! ‍

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