So, I was recently tasked with creating a presentation deck on PPC marketing at my day job.
This was when I realized that I’m a text-heavy person. There have been signs like how I prefer Evernote (heavy note-taking tool) for important projects rather than simple Google Keep 😅
Anyway, text-heavy presentation slides make it difficult for your audience to digest information. Thus, you should always aim to keep it simple. People should be able to tell at a glance what each slide is about and remember key points clearly.
Here are some tips on how I simplified my presentation slides.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through these links. Your support encourages me to continue blogging and help with the costs of hosting this site. Thank you!
1. Provide An Overview With The Agenda Slide
First things first, let your audience know what today’s presentation is about.
Your agenda slide should include the main topics and subtopics that you’ll talk about.
This way, your audience will know the flow of the presentation.
Also, consider hyperlinking to specific slides so the people who received your deck can immediately jump to the section they’re interested in.
2. Divide Your Deck Into Sections With Section Breaks
For better organization and structure, I highly recommend that you include a one-slider to introduce a new section. This will clearly signal to the audience that they’ll be moving on to a new topic.
It’s also a great chance to take a breather. Let your audience take a break here or open the floor to questions.
3. Focus On The Key Message
Every slide has a purpose—to convey a key message.
Strip down your content until you have the bare minimum required: the crucial takeaway that you want your audience to remember.
If there’s a lengthy explanation, consider moving it to the speaker notes. This way, you only elaborate more while presenting (rather than distract the audience from the key message in your slides).
4. KISS Your Content: Be Concise
Heard of the KISS principle?
You’ve probably heard it since I mentioned it quite a few times already. KISS principle is about keeping things short and simple. In this case, it’ll be the content.
Ask yourself: Can you simplify the text so that you can get your point across in fewer words?
Shorten the text so you get the essence. Use simple language. Consider using active voice which is more direct.
Rather than squeezing all the content in one slide, harden your heart and separate it into a few slides. By separating content into a few slides, you can slowly explain each point in a more digestible manner.
Go ahead and implement the above tips now. But if you can’t, please see my next tactic~
5. Break Up Chunky Text: Formatting Is Key
Formatting is crucial when you have chunky text or numerous long paragraphs on your slides.
Highlight important information
- Pull them out as headlines or subheadings
- Color them differently from the rest of the text
Organize your content
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
- Icons + Short One-Liner or few lines of text
- Split text into columns
- Break into a few slides, rather than condensing into 1 slide
6. Engage Your Audience With A Visual In Every Slide
Humans are visual creatures. Studies show that we remember 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read and 10% of what we hear.
To avoid information overload (where you overwhelm your audience with too much information), I suggest that you include a visual in every slide. This can be a video, photograph, graphic, icon, GIF or even a screenshot.
It also helps to relax your eyes from the text filling up your slides. Good visuals will complement your message, helping your audience to visualize what you’re trying to say. For instance, screenshots will be useful in step-by-step guides.
7. Vary Your Slide Layout To Break Up The Monotony
Just like how it’s boring to eat the same food every day, you should spice up your presentation by varying the slide layout. Varying the slide layout will help to retain your audience’s attention and maintain interest.
As mentioned earlier, you could have a slide layout featuring a headline in large font size and complementing description and graphics for section breaks. You could have another slide layout featuring 3 columns or a chart. The possibilities are endless. Simply create a new slide layout according to your needs. Just bear in mind to keep the design similar. For example, using the same font or brand colors.
Most PowerPoint and Google Slides templates include a few layouts so you can mix and match according to the content that you’re presenting. You can start with this and expand from there. This will be much easier than starting from scratch.
8. Guide The Eye With White Space
White space is the area between design elements. Unlike its name, it doesn’t have to be white. It’s simply blank or empty space.
White space guides the audience by drawing attention to particular elements. It makes the slides easier to read and scan and therefore, improves readability and comprehension.
You need to ensure sufficient white space. Avoid overcrowding your slides. Too much text and images will only compete for your audience’s attention and thus, they won’t know where to focus their attention on.
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you tried any of the tips? Did it help simplify your presentation slides? Do feel free to share more tips~