Research says you have 0.8 seconds on each slide to retain an audiences attention. that's 0.8 seconds to get the primary message across before you've lost your team members or audience to the faries. Therefore it has to be clear, concise and to-the-point (isn't that what all good presentations are suppose to be anyway?).
Sooo.. I'm going to say that the layout and structure of your presentation is equally as important as the information your are getting across, of you can't convey the message clearly, you may as well jump out the board-room window (that would retain their attention... but for more 0.8 seconds? not sure.)
But "powerpointers beware!", it's easy to go over the top, exploding pie-carts and background music not-unlike the theme music to 2001 Space Odyssey is overkill and should also be put to death.
It's difficult to get that happy-medium and create a clean and informative power-point. If you've got a big presentation to put together, whether its your High-school English assignment, a university lecture or your pitching a new idea to your boss, take the time and research good presentations, there's heaps of information on the inter-webs on good design, layout, speaking/prompting and more.
But for a general guide, I have put together some top tips:
The Nerd's top-tips to terrific presentations.
- Use the slide layout guide to keep the slides clean and simple
- Don't overcrowd your slides with images - it's fugly!
- Follow the 6x6 rule (6 words per point, 6 points per slide)
- Font Selection. Have 3 font's that you use and stick to them!
- one for Slide Headers
- one for Content
- one for Emphasis (usually just an italics version of your content font)
- Keep the background clean, don't have complicated or detailed images that may take attention away from what your trying to deliver... unless that's your purpose.
- Always allow for margins, if you are unsure of the location of your delivery, you may find yourself making a presentation on a projector, smartboard, flat-screen TV, computer monitor or the web. So always allow a good margin for different size screens.
- and lastly PowerPoints should summerise the topic at hand not be the topic at hand.
Check out these links and videos for some ideas on PowerPoint design.
Some good Hints and Tips
For a Laugh
If your still stumped for a good design and layout, there are thousands of graphic designers out there in the world (including myself) who would be more than happy to help you out... contact me if want to, or leave a comment.