How to make good presentation slides: The 8 most important tips

Most presentations have one big problem. The simplest things are written down on PowerPoint slides. This bores the audience. But there are more things you should pay attention to when designing your presentation slides. How to make good presentation slides I will show you in this post.

1. Good presentation slides are based on good planning

Before you open PowerPoint or any other software to create your presentation, it is especially important to think about your presentation beforehand.

You should clarify the following points in preparation for your presentation:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. How much time do I have available?
  3. If I had only 30 seconds, what would be the most important information I would give to my audience?
  4. What technology do I have available?
  5. What is the spatial environment?
  6. In which context do I hold the presentation (does my presentation tie in with a previous speaker, do I hold the presentation in front of a professional audience or is it available online for everyone?)

These considerations should form the basis of your presentation. Because then you know how complex you can approach a topic and how you can win over your audience. For a good presentation structure i recommend you the 10/20/30 Rule from Guy Kawasaki

2. Keep your layout minimalistic

Listeners usually have a limited attention span. After 10 minutes, concentration drops significantly. In addition to time, the amount of information that can be grasped by the audience is also limited.

Overloaded presentation slides and distracting animation effects often impede communication between the presenter and the listener. It is therefore important that the presentation slides are well visualized. In addition, each slide should have a clear communicative goal.

3. Use clear titles and headings

The same applies here. The shorter the better. Use a keyword or a short name for what is shown. You can also consider removing the title on the slide completely if the presentation is only going to be delivered and not provided as a reference.

4. One info per sentence

If texts are unavoidable in your presentation, you should also pay close attention to the length of the sentences.

I use the following rules apply to texts in my presentation:

  • Only one piece of information per sentence
  • maximum seven words per sentence
  • use simple and understandable expressions

5. Good presentation slides use a maximum of 3 colors

If the colors are not already given by a corporate design or a template, we have free choice at the color slider. Well, not quite. Besides aesthetics, there are also a few functional things to consider when choosing colors:

  1. Use a maximum of three colors per visualization
  2. Bright colors are often hard to see from a distance
  3. Colors can be used to separate content from each other, but there should still be a consistent use of color.
  4. Dark font on a light background is easier to read

6. Fonts have a great impact on the layout of your presentation

  1. Use a maximum of two different fonts
  2. Use bold in a maximum of 10% of the text passages, so that the highlighted text really comes into its own.
  3. Do not choose a font that is too small
  4. Use simple print fonts (better sans than serif)
  5. Avoid capitalizing all letters. Use upper and lower case

7. Radically sort out slides

The goal of a good presentation is to get to the heart of the information. The fewer slides are necessary for this, the better.

When creating presentation slides, I often use a small checklist to find out whether I really need a slide. If I can’t answer at least one of the questions with a clear “yes”, the slide is thrown out.

Checklist to sort out presentation slides:

  1. Does the slide make a complex issue understandable?
  2. Does the slide highlight a key message of my presentation?
  3. Does the slide clarify a context?
  4. Does the slide shorten an explanation that I would have to paraphrase in many words?

8. Use charts, images and icons

A major benefit of presentation software is to visually support one’s presentation. Ideally, what is shown complements what is spoken. Diagrams can thus replace a multitude of words of the speaker with just one look at them. Emotionalize your presentation with pictures or show complex processes in a diagram. The use of icons also allows you to communicate better with your audience and to convey your content.

When does it make sense to use a chart / image?

  • Is there a funny photo that fits the topic that I can use to capture the attention of my audience?
  • Can I use a picture or illustration as a metaphor?
  • Is it a complex enough topic that it’s worth making a chart for it?
  • Can I use a diagram to give my audience a better overview, a better orientation?

How to create good presentation slides with the right layout.

Finally, I would like to summarize the most important points for you:

  1. Place the most important information in the middle of the presentation slides.
  2. Use charts or icons instead of text whenever possible. You can find a comprehensive icon library here
  3. Always remember. Less is more. Keep your presentation simple.
  4. Unify colors and fonts on your presentation slides.
  5. If design is not your strong point, then use templates
  6. Use simple and subtle backgrounds
  7. Use a maximum of three colors
  8. Legible fonts are important. Try to always use a sans font if possible.
  9. Dark font on light background is more readable
  10. Page transitions and sound effects should be used only very discreetly, if at all.

I hope this article has helped you for your upcoming presentation. If you are looking for more information on how to create good presentation slides, I recommend my post about the perfect presentation.

Otherwise I would like to invite you to use my Icon-Collection for free. It will help you to make your presentation slides clearer and easier to understand.

2 responses to “How to make good presentation slides: The 8 most important tips”

  1. […] course you can just download a template. But you should know a few essential rules. In the article How to make good presentation slides you will get all the information you need to reach your audience on a visual […]

  2. […] for the company in a single style. The search for matching icons in complex diagrams, e.g. for presentations, becomes much easier and faster. In addition, all the company’s media look uniform and […]

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