We’ve all been there:  You’ve created a presentation, you’re happy with the content, you’ve got figured out the structure, your slides look great and you’ve added animations to make them more dynamic. You set up a quick run-through with your boss to make sure they’re just as thrilled with your masterpiece as you are. Things go well, the material works well, you’re on the ball with your narration, you get to the last slide, completely knock it out of the park and … silence.

After a few awkward moments your boss clears his throat …

‘It needs to pop’.

‘Pop?’, you say.

‘Yeah, it needs to be sexier, a little punchier, jazz it up a little – I want to see the x factor, something to bring it alive’

You retreat to your desk.

Do not be defeated. Below are five quick tips to make your PowerPoint pop.

Trash the text

Remove any full sentences of text from your slide. Ideally, replace all the text with images or shapes that tell the same story. If you need to use text, it should be keywords – perhaps in boxes or shapes – that animate in one at a time. Holding back information in this way allows you to control how the audience takes in your story. No one will read prose on your slide, and it certainly won’t help the presentation to pop.

Amaze with animations

Replace any ‘appear’ entrance animations with ‘zoom’ or ‘wipe’ – these look much more dynamic, and are a more exciting way of introducing content. Try to choose an effect that matches what you are saying about that element. For example, if something has increased or moved, it might be best to use the wipe to hint at that direction of movement.

Contrasting colours

Use contrasting colours for important elements. Sticking to corporate guidelines is important, but moving away from them for a particular element on the slide allows that object to stand out and immediately draws your audience’s attention to it. If something about an element has changed, try using the ‘colour change’ animation.

Create your own style

Move away from default styles. Play around with the colour, outline and shading of objects – make them consistent but try something different than the standard styles included in PowerPoint. Everyone has seen these styles countless times before and adopting a different style consistently in your slides will make your deck much more visually appealing.

Plot your success

Use circles, squares and arrows to bring charts alive. Graphs and charts are a great way to show data, but try to bring them alive by ‘annotating’ them. Good examples include having a circle appear around an anomalous or exceptional result, drawing a simple trend line over a graph or using an arrow to highlight important findings.

Simple as that!

These five tips are a quick fix. We also have three great design hacks you can put in your arsenal as well – check that out here. However, if you REALLY need to impress, let us know and we’ll revamp your slides.

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Written by

Kieran Chadha

Principal consultant

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