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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 May 22, 2019

        50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

        50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

        LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

        Job Search Experts

        You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

        1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

        2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

        3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

        4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

        5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

        Management Experts

        They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

        6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

        7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

        8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

        9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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        Productivity Experts

        By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

        10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

        11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

        12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

        13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

        Marketing Experts

        14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

        15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

        16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

        17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

        18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

        19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

        20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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        21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

        22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

        23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

        24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

        25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

        26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

        Personal Branding Experts

        Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

        Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

        27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

        28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

        Other Notable Experts to Follow

        29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

        30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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        31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

        32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

        33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

        34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

        35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

        36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

        37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

        38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

        39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

        40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

        41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

        42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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        43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

        44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

        45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

        46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

        47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

        48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

        49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

        50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

        These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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        Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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