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8 Tips to Make Engaging Presentation Slides

8 Tips to Make Engaging Presentation Slides

Is there anything worse than a boring presentation? Probably the only thing worse than being on the receiving end of a boring presentation is knowing that you’re the one putting everyone to sleep with your presentation.

While the success of a presentation relies largely on the speaker’s ability to engage the audience, don’t underestimate the importance of well made presentation slides. Poorly made presentation slides will distract your audience from your word and undercut your credibility. Well made presentation slides, on the other hand, will engage your audience and help drive your words home with sleek, professional designs and impactful visuals.

Here are 8 tips for how to make engaging presentation slides:

1. Addresses a specific audience.

Think about who your target audience is for the presentation. What is the specific problem you are attempting to solve with your presentation? Are you looking to teach your audience a specific lesson? Ask yourself this question first and then design your presentation around answering this specific question.

For example, if your presentation is meant to introduce a new process to your coworkers, you could focus it around the question: How will this process help expedite their responsibilities?

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2. Have a beginning, middle, and end.

A great presentation will have a solid beginning, middle, and end. Begin with an attention-grabbing hook: a question or a scenario. Then, you may want to offer a summary slide of what your presentation will entail (the different sections, the major points you’ll be covering).

Keep text on your slides minimal and your points concise. Each slide should introduce just one concept and serve only one purpose.

End your presentation with a call to action (like asking your audience to follow you on social media, or telling them where they and go to contribute to a cause) or a reflective question (What can they do now with the information you’ve given them?).

3. Use a connecting metaphor.

Using from framing theme or narrative to structure your presentation will not only help your presentation flow, but will also make your points more memorable. Think of the classic hamburger metaphor for how to structure an essay; the buns are the introduction and conclusion and the fillings are the different paragraphs. You can use a similar metaphor (food-related or not) to explain a process, the solution to a problem, or a plan you are hoping.

4. Use a simple design.

Nothing is more distracting than a slide full of too many design elements, extra text, and glaring color choices. Stick to two to three colors at most. Use a white or neutral background. Use a simple font. Don’t overcomplicate the design with too many icons and text points.

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One simple design is to overlay a keyword or key phrase on top of an image. This will give your audience a visual touch point to attach to your information when they recall your presentation.

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    Another is to cut the slide in half, with some key text on one side and an image on the other. Keep text to only a few points or a short quote―don’t try to stuff a whole paragraph onto the slide.

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      Your entire slide could even be a picture, if you want. When it comes to text on presentation slides, less is definitely more.

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      5. Keep text to a minimum.

      We’ve probably all had that teacher that puts everything they say on their PowerPoint slides and then sends it to the class afterwards. If you’re a person who sees attending class as optional, you probably love this teacher. But we can agree that this isn’t the most engaging way to deliver a presentation.

      If you give all of the information on the slides upfront, your audience are more likely to focus on the slides than on what you’re saying. But if you use only a couple of keywords or phrases to drive home your point, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

      6. Use pictures as the focus of your slides.

      The most engaging presentations are highly visual, so take advantage of that and use beautiful, good-quality pictures. Look for pictures that reflect not only the theme of what you’re saying, but also the tone. For example, if your presentation is about how to be more productive, the images you use should inspire hope and happiness in your audience. That means you wouldn’t want to use images with dark lighting and crowded, cramped composition. Instead, you would want to use images with bright lighting and open composition, reflecting the possibilities for improvement.

      You can find beautiful stock images for free on sites like Pexels or Unsplash. Try not to use corporate stock photos, when possible―they’re corny and not likely to really inspire anyone.

      7. Use interesting graphs.

      One of the most effective ways to show a lot of information in few words is to use graphs and charts. What’s more, charts can actually help tell a story. For example, if you want to show a trend over time, a line graph will illustrate and emphasize the rises and falls of your data.  If you’re not sure where to start, try using a graph maker with preset designs.

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        That being said, keep your graphs simple. Keep in mind that your audience won’t have a long time to study and understand your graphs. As a rule of thumb, people should be able to read and understand your graphs in about three seconds.

        8. Make enough slides so you spend only 1-2 minutes on each.

        This is a general rule of thumb to keep the presentation moving along and to keep your audience alert. Switching up the visuals will keep things interesting and help stop your points from blending into one another. If one slide is particularly important you can come back to it after putting a slide or two in between.

        Remember to have fun with your presentation. If you’re bored while you’re giving your presentation, why would the audience find it interesting? Aim to create presentation slides that you would be happy to look at.

        Featured photo credit: TEDBlog via blog.ted.com

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        Sara McGuire

        Content Editor

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2019

        11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

        11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

        Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

        Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

        “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

        While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

        The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

        What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

        The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

        1. Cloud Computing

        “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

        There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

        This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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        2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

        Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

        Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

        his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

        3. Data Management

        All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

        We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

        However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

        4. Scheduling

        Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

        An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

        5. Financial Skills

        These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

        While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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        6. Research Skills

        These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

        Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

        So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

        If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

        If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

        7. Marketing Skills

        While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

        Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

        While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

        8. Network Security Specialist

        Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

        So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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        9. Communication Skills

        At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

        Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

        10. Computer Programming

        I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

        11. Graphic Design

        As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

        Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

        That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

        Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

        You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

        Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

        Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

        Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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        This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

        You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

        But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

        Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

        In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

        Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

        And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

        The Bottom Line

        We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

        We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

        We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

        As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

        More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

        Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
        [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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