We’ve all sat through slideshows that either have too much going on or give us nothing, and we fear we might fall into the same fate when our turn comes around. But if you keep a few pointers in mind, you can walk the line perfectly and create a presentation that stands out for all the right reasons!
So whether you’re a veteran presenter or just starting out, here are our 4 simple tips to help you create better presentation slides the next time you’re tasked to put together a deck.
Let’s dive right in!
#1 Structure Your Content
Presentation slides with no structure are essentially an information dump. Having a seamless and easy-to-follow structure is crucial for audience comprehension and to ensure you’re getting your point across clearly.
A good rule of thumb is to break down your presentation slides into three simple sections: a compelling introduction, a body of evidence, and a conclusion that sums up the key takeaways of your presentation.
TopVA Hack: When structuring your content, keep in mind the length that it will end up being. No one wants to sit through pages and pages of slides (especially in an oral presentation scenario) so it’s best to keep it as short as possible without compromising the value of its contents.
#2 Limit the Amount of Text on Each Slide
Who likes reading crowded slides? No one, that’s who. Too much text is either too overwhelming or a one-way ticket to snooze-fest. Instead, be brief and clear. According to this study, information is retained better when it’s broken down into bite-size chunks. So opt for no more than 2-3 ideas or points per slide. If you’re using a list, try not to go over 6 items!
TopVA Hack: When possible, swap out paragraph texts with visuals—or better yet, videos! Research suggests that video is a great way to learn and is 95% more compelling than text.
#3 Be Thoughtful With Your Design Choices
Nothing can make or break a presentation more than its design. But the good news is that you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make visually appealing slides. Just keep the following in mind:
Be mindful of colors. Colors are a great way to bring life to your slides, but too many can be distracting. Use colors sparingly — sticking with one or two (not counting monochrome hues) is the easiest way to make your slides look cohesive.
Be smart about fonts. A mix of text styles is an eyesore and can hinder comprehension. Just choose one to two fonts throughout; the same goes for font size. It’s okay to pick a font with a little bit more personality if you want to emphasize something, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice legibility in any way.
Be thorough with alignment. One wonky line is enough to make a whole slide look awkward. At worst, it can confuse your audience about the thought you’re trying to convey or the hierarchy of ideas. Make sure your texts are aligned and neat for that extra polished look.
TopVA Hack: If the slides are for a brand presentation, adjust the design elements in line with the brand’s style guide (if available).
#4 Go Through It Several Times
Just like a diamond in the rough, presentation slides need a few rounds of polishing to reveal their best form. So don’t be afraid to start messy; an unconstricted approach at the beginning allows you to explore your ideas and outline your thoughts better. Once you’ve laid out all your points, edit, edit, and edit some more until you’ve fully streamlined your presentation!
TopVA Hack: Ask a colleague or a mentor to review your work. A fresh pair of eyes can help identify gaps you might have missed and refine your presentation slides even further.
Are You Ready to Slay Your Slides?
Practice makes progress, and that's no different when it comes to making presentation slides. The only true way to master it is by taking on as many opportunities that will allow you to engage in this ‘craft’.
But in the meantime, we hope these 4 tips help you nail your next presentation. Good luck—you got this!
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