How to find suitable icons?
Let’s see where to go, when you need icons to use in your PowerPoint presentation. These are only a few tips to help you get started:
- PowerPoint, Word and Excel has a good range of icons by default
- If you want something more elaborate or different looking in style there are all sorts of additional packages you can download either via Google or from different websites from the internet. Make sure you download from a trusted resource.
Microsoft Office 365 Business suite has a smart program called Visio which doesn’t only have a huge range of icons but which can even help you create your own icons.
How to distinguish low-quality stock image from a quality one?
There are a couple of sure ways to differentiate between low- and high quality stock photos. Let’s see a couple of sure ways for doing so:
- The resolution: you need to be aware of the minimal resolution guidelines especially when the image gets enlarged.
- If the image cannot be viewed clearly from a couple of meters’ distance then it’s surely a low quality one
- Colours and pixels: there are many ways to prop up an image but there aren’t that many ways to work on quality.
Make sure you don’t use any photo or image that’s right protected
How to choose the fonts that will be combined with each other
To answer to this question as quick as possible: Do not.
et’s put forth the following argument: why do you want to combine different fonts with each other? Unless you are a kidnapper who needs to send in -texts cut out from various newspapers you really don’t need to call attention this way. Unless you want to reach that effect on the starting page of your slide which can be acceptable, depending on the nature of the presentation.
In any other case we would warn you to steer clear from combining different fonts with each other. It looks messy, untrendy and it’s also complicated to read.
Highlight important text with a different color
Highlighting is good but you need to be aware of a few “dos and don’ts” before you starting to get lost in colors. Follow these few basics to properly highlight your texts.
- Not all the colors are good for highlighting
- Always test the colors: are they visible from more than 2-3 meters? Are they legible? Does the highlighting really call attention?
- Don’t necessarily stick with red. This color is way overused as a highlighting color.
- Does the highlighting color harmonize with the rest of the colors you are using, in case you do?
- Test your method: would you like to highlight the letters or would you rather do a bracket and highlight the background?
Remember, PowerPoint is all about testing what goes better. Be patient and explore tons of options before sticking with one.
Give up shadows, gradients and other old-fashioned effects
Old fashioned PowerPoint effects are not much use these days. Let’s tell you why it’s better to leave all these behind:
- The main reason is simple: old effects are old. They will make your presentation dull, old fashioned and will make you feel left behind in the end.
- Shadows may look good but they make it difficult for viewers to read a word especially from afar.
- Text effects distract the viewers from the actual content of a slide. Therefore, they may have a negative effect on the overall presentation.
- Only go for an animation effect where the content really “calls” for it.
Most animation effects take time or can even cause loading issues which make a presentation slow and painful.
For each statement, specify 3 arguments
A statement may not be worth all too much alone. So how to make sure everyone gets what you want to say? Let’s see how to work with arguments.
- First of all arguments in this instance will not mean to refute the statement. They are used to question the statement from several aspects.
- After the putting up of each argument you will provide with a verbal explanation to validate the statement from all the different perspectives.
This validating style is a powerful presentation style which needs advanced skills. Therefore we suggest you to learn more about verbal presentation and rehearse your presentation a couple of times before you stand in front of your audience.
Follow the basic layout rules. Do not align the text to the width
Most PowerPoint presentations target the center of the heading, when it comes to text alignment. But that doesn’t look too good in every instance. Here are some rules of alignment for you to follow:
- Go for one uniform style of alignment instead of getting confused with them.
- When you are not sure always go for the left-side. We are all used to the left alignment as a default and therefore we can effortlessly read it.
- Only use center-alignment when you have a solid reason for doing it and when it doesn’t look silly.
Test how your alignment looks better and more legible to the audience
Follow the basic layout rules. Make a normal spacing between the lines
Let’s get to see how to set the correct spacing between the lines in your presentation. This is for PowerPoint 1013.
- Select text to be formatted
- Click on „ Home” tab and look for „paragraph” group
- Choose „Line Spacing”
- You will be offered various options of spacing. Experiment with these before choosing the best applicable spacing
Beware that presentations normally require a wider spacing than a normal text does. The reason for this is for all the words and text to be easily legible and comprehensive for the audience. However try to stay as close to normal spacing as possible as too large a space looks weird in presentations
Figures should be understandable and convincing
There are several (in fact most) professional PowerPoint presentations are made at offices, workplaces and they are to represent various graphs, statistics and other numbers in order to:
- Add an emphasis to your content
- Confirm what you are talking about
- To initiate an healthy argument and see where to evolve
- To present a current standing when compared to certain past or future goals
If you need to include charts of statistics, make sure of the following:
- The different charts are well differentiated
- The actual content ( what a chart measures) is seen and understood by the audience
- Your system is not overcomplicated. Charts reflect professionalism but that doesn’t mean they cannot be overdosed. And no one likes to view slides with too many statistic data.
Explore the capabilities of the program (for example, PowerPoint)
There are programs we tend to use on a daily level but as it goes with the using of our brain capacity, we generally tend to use only a small fragment of their features. Here is some things you can do to change this.
- Testing the limits of programs is always good. Even simple ones such as Word are now stacked with features and functions you have no idea of
- The new PowerPoint is way better in terms of slide editing options, templates and automated features that if you are used the older versions you should definitely learn so much more about it to use all of its features to your advantage.
- Read eLearning materials and watch videos to learn what else can be done with PowerPoint which you haven’t thought about.
- Test programs which help you make your own infographics, such as Microsoft Visio.
Enjoy the performance
The only argument with enjoying yourself while presenting to other people is the following:
- It takes a massive amount of time for most people to learn how to actually present
- Learning to present equals gaining enough self –confidence to be able to present yourself to a live audience
- Going one step further and actually become entertaining needs a good amount of exercising (unless you are a natural in which case we all envy you).
- Try to enrol in an acting course to learn how to rehearse and how to learn and present scripts to an audience. This would also do a great help for paying attention to your body language during your presentation.
Each slide should attract attention
A good presentation is all about calling attention, but it should always do so the right way. Let’s get to see some key guidelines for this:
- Each good slide should attract the audience’s attention but only so that they can listen more to what you have to say and understand more of the outline of the topics you want to discuss
- When we talk about attracting attention, we never urge you to stack your slides with all the Nineties slideshow and color effects. That’s distracting and would definitely call the wrong sort of attention.
- Use each slide as a support tool for what you are talking about. Include key words or images but not more. A presentation is not a course. If you feel the need to write whole texts and sentences use a note or write it down for you to learn it in a non-presentation format.
Do not use the assistant to switch slides. Switch yourself
There are several reasons for doing that. Let’s see some of the basics
- ClipArt is so untrendy now that it’s best to just forget about it, as if it never existed. Period.
- Automated slide switch functionality is very hard to time along with your speech. It’s best not even to attempt it.
- Switching slides in person gives you some air to breathe a very short break and this silence also actually has the capacity to wake the audience up. It’s a meaningful pause and it’s a much needed one.
- By switching slides yourself you let everyone feel that you are in charge of this presentation, not your computer or PowerPoint.
Do not use predefined templates
Unless you are forced by company guidelines, it is suggested to stick with the so-called “Takahashi” method which is all about prioritizing the actual content above any pre-defined template style.
Steps on how to start a blank presentation:
- Open up PowerPoint (version 2013)
- You will be offered lots of templates for start
- Choose “blank presentation”
- Save the file by clicking on “ Save” option at the top menu bar
- You will be offered to save file as one of the following formats:
- PowerPoint Presentation pptx. Format ( default)
- Compatibility format -PowerPoint 97-2003 ppt.
- If you want your file to become a template right away choose “PowerPoint template potx).
- Click on Save.
Do not use icons of different styles
Even before we started to use smartphones which are not stacked with smiley and all sorts of other icons, we were able to see, that there are icons and pictograms of different design style. These don’t go well when combined. Let’s address this issue by giving you a few guidelines on how to use icons:
- Use one icon per slide: we don’t like texts stuffed with smileys so it’s highly likely no one would appreciate a slide stacked with icons either.
- Icon is to underline an action: using multiple icons per slide is confusing and also it looks slightly immature the very least.
Always check with your friends or colleagues and stick with icons which look as professional as possible.
Do not read the text, tell yourself
Those who keep on looking at their presentation trying to read it instead of presenting it are those who clearly forgot to do their homework of exercising the art of presenting. Resolve this issue the by taking some time off and do the following:
- Forget about PowerPoint presentation for a while. That’s to aid you not to tell the presentation instead of you
- Rehearse presenting in front of the mirror
- try to exercise presentation to only a few friends, colleagues then listen to their criticism with an open heart and try to fix your issues.
- Make a video of yourself presenting then draw the necessary conclusions and redo it until you feel you are in it.
Do not place icons and text close to each other
Icons and pictograms can work great in presentations. They are perfect for calling attention, letting the audience know what to do or on what’s coming up next. But it is risky to combine them with texts, let’s explore why.
- If you use icons or pictograms, you use them to simplify what you are to say. You use the icon instead of writing down two sentences.
- There is no use to include text and icons and if you really need to, make sure they are not close to each other.
- The icon should have the leading role on the slide the text should always be secondary in size and importance and it should only provide further assistance with respect to the meaning of the featured icon.
Do not overdo it with jokes
Being funny is a good thing. But not everyone is funny and not every people have the same sense of humor. Watch out for these guidelines when you try to be funny during your presentation:
- Being funny in a presentation is similar to stepping on a minefield. You need to be extremely careful what you make a joke of.
- Remember, we live in the age when it’s extremely easy to offend people
- Check out at least 20 various presentations from seasoned presenters to learn what sort of humor they use and how they use it.
- If you are a beginner, don’t even think about it. Only seasoned presenters can successfully joke. You should rather concentrate on being able to present on stage on the first place. And only when you are past this stage and your acting skills are also on point is when you can consider trying to be funny.
Follow the basic layout rules. Do not make too wide a line
PowerPoint has tons of editing options which also includes lines or lining as well as the use of other figures or pictograms to emphasise on the content. However it is not wise to use thick or chunky lines for various reasons such as:
- They look weird
- They distract attention from the actual topic
- They don’t look classy or elegant at all
To further edit your line just do the following:
- Open the Format Shape option
- Check if “Line” panel is being activated if not then activate it
- Experiment with the help of “Weights and Arrows” tab by changing “Weight” of the line
- There are 5 different line formats to choose from
Do not look at the slides during the presentation, look at the audience
When we are beginners and we don’t have experience in presenting anything to people get shy and we want to stay as far from the audience as possible. This is why beginners tend to look at the slides. So how to stop yourself from looking at your slides?
- Pick a point above the head of the audience (but not much above) and keep on looking there.
- It will take time and many more presentations until you dare to look at the audience but once you reach this stage keep on doing it: this way you will make them feel they are integral part of an experience and not just there as simple viewers.