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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cathcart

Power Up Your Presentations: 5 Tips to Escape the Grip of Death By PowerPoint

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

In today's world, PowerPoint presentations have become an essential tool in many fields, such as education, business, and science. However, poorly made presentations can become a source of boredom and frustration. It is no wonder that "Death by PowerPoint" has become a common phrase in the business world. Here are five tips to avoid that fate and make your presentation engaging, informative, and effective.

First, stick to one message per slide. Too often, presenters cram too much information on a single slide, overwhelming the audience's ability to focus on any one point. Research has shown that the brain can only handle one message at a time. Therefore, presenting a single point on each slide will make it easier for the audience to digest and retain the information.

Second, be mindful of the working memory. Our working memory can only hold about four to five pieces of information at once. Therefore, it is essential to keep the information on each slide short and sweet. The shorter the bits of information, the easier it is for the audience to remember.

Third, size matters. Human eyes are drawn to four things: moving objects, signaling objects, contrast-rich objects, and big objects. Therefore, make sure that the most important part of your slide is the biggest. For example, if you are presenting data, make sure the most critical data point is the largest.

Fourth, use contrast to control focus. Contrast is a powerful tool to direct the audience's attention to the most important part of the slide. For example, you can use brighter colors or a bolder font to emphasize essential information. It is also a good idea to avoid white backgrounds in slides as they can overpower the presenter's presence.

Finally, don't overload your slide with objects. The magic number of objects on a slide is no more than six. Anything more, and the audience will need to count and process the information, which can be exhausting. It is essential to make the presentation easy and anxiety-free for the audience.

If you follow these five tips when creating a PowerPoint presentation, you will enhance engagement from your audience, and your message will be more informative. Remember to focus on one message per slide, keep the information short and sweet, use size and contrast to direct focus, and limit the number of objects on each slide. With these tips, you will be sure to avoid "Death by PowerPoint" and keep your audience engaged and interested.

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