Have you ever been giving a presentation to a room full of people, only to look up midway and notice that nobody is paying attention to you? Perhaps the reason is that your public speaking skills aren’t at an all-time high, but the reason could also be that the PowerPoint template you are using in your presentation is nowhere near captivating.
Before you panic and fall into a state of depression because your PowerPoint templates are simply not up to par, rest assured that there is a way to remedy the issue! The first step, of course, is to understand why no one is paying attention to your PowerPoint templates.
Are You Using the Right Colors?
If you’re in a rush it’s natural to stick with the basic “blank” PowerPoint template offered by Microsoft Office. But did you know that certain colors and tones can affect your audience psychologically?
Take a look at the infographic below that highlights various colors and their relative emotions:
In a study called Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending what your product is. That’s a powerful statement! So naturally, the choice of color used in a presentation you are giving to a room full of people can hugely determine whether or not they continue to pay attention to what you have to say.
Have You Included Images or Data Visualizations?
The use of images in your PowerPoint templates is crucial to holding on to someone’s attention. In fact, blog posts, emails, and presentations that contain visual content are retained by the brain 60,000x faster than text.
On top of that, the brain can register images that are displayed for only 13 milliseconds. By complementing the text in your presentation with an image, the chances that your audience will remember the context increase substantially.
If the thought of having to find visual content online to add to your presentations is freaking you out, there exist plenty of free and paid services online that offer PowerPoint templates for download. You can also use a tool like an online infographic maker to produce captivating images and icons clusters.
Another point to keep in mind is that data visualizations make understanding complex data, or big numbers much easier. Again, you can use a tool like Beam which is a chart maker to produce visuals in a matter of seconds making the process of creating a visually appealing chart easier to do than a using a post-it note.
Are You Using a Respectable Amount of Text?
It’s very common for presenters to include paragraphs of text in their PowerPoint templates. Unfortunately, no one really wants to read during a presentation, and individuals tend to lose interest very quickly.
So what is a respectable amount of text? There is a rule called the rule of 33, which refers to the fact that a single slide should contain no more than 33 words, and no more than 4 to 5 bullet points.
Think of it this way: your presentation is meant to act as a summary of the subject you are trying to relate. Too little text won’t provide the proper amount of information to your audience for them to learn anything of importance. Too much text will simply make it too difficult to keep up, and their focus will be on trying to see all of the words, rather than listening to your instruction.
Unless the words included are incredibly crucial to understanding the topic at hand, they aren’t necessary. Try to stick to 1 or 2 important sentences per slide.
Preparing PowerPoint Templates
When I was in school, I always considered PowerPoint templates a final step in the presentation process. I would plan and write out my speech, make notes on all the important elements to mention, and then the night before the presentation, copy and paste all of the information into a slide. The result would often be a boring slideshow and a monotonous presentation.
What I later realized is that I should have been preparing the template along with my speech the entire time. The reason: to ensure that the presentation flows smoothly and cohesively, rather than as two separate entities.
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