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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 20, 2018

        How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

        How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

        If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

        Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

        But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

        Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

        If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

        1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

        For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

        Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

        If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

        But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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        So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

        Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

        In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

        2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

        Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

        Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

        Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

        Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

        For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

        Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

        Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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        For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

        Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

        Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

        Bonus:

        If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

        3. Take meaningful time for yourself

        We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

        Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

        If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

        Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

        This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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        No time for me-time? Try this:

        If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

        This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

        Bonus:

        Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

        4. Get productive and feel accomplished

        Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

        When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

        While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

        Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

        No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

        So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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        Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

        This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

        Try this:

        Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

        The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

        Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

        The bottom line

        There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

        The only question is — which tip will you try first?

        Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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