From corporate pitches, nonprofit presentations to personal/public movements, there is no denying that presenting with a combed PowerPoint presentation is one of the most fundamental aspects in driving a message home. After all, a distinguished presentation design developed by either yourself or a qualified presentation designer is an outlet for you to enhance your presenting performance, create meaningful engagement, and build trust amongst your audience.
But here’s the zinger – As important as a PowerPoint presentation design may be across industry landscapes, many presenters still have a hard time developing one that keeps audiences engaged. In fact, 2022 Visme data found that 45% of presenters find it hard to design a creative layout, and 41% of them state that it is challenging to find great visuals to use. Because of that, below is a list of several structural presentation design tips worth implementing into your creative strategy – ones that will not just make you a better presenter as a collective, but ensure that the slides behind you are memorable, engaging, and all-around successful.
Keep Your Presentation Design Simple, Clean, and Easy To Follow
One of the most critical avenues in ensuring a presentation design is structured for engaging success is optimizing the design itself. That being said, the key to an effective and overall engaging PowerPoint is keeping it simple, clean, and easy to follow. You can accomplish this by using interactive color schemes (i.e., eye-popping but not blinding), staying away from visual/word cluttering, and keeping the design flow consistent from start to finish to avoid distraction.
All in all, you should have an appealing yet professional foundation that helps you elaborate on the various points, keep eyes peeled without strain, and draws logical conclusions that leave your audience(s) with a clear takeaway message. Remember, the goal should be to form a naturally flowing, ‘less is more’ presentation design that accentuates eyes on YOU rather than the inverse.
Leverage The Rule of Three
Not to be confused with the common composition technique ‘Rule of Thirds’ in photography, the Rule of Three is a renowned concept that can help you as a presentation designer succeed with audience engagement. Initially coined by Greek philosopher Aristotle in his book Rhetoric, the Rule of Three is the idea of sticking with only three core ideas so you can seamlessly get to the point using a breakdown structure. Meaning, each of the three ideas you want to address can be further broken down into three more parts that you can explain in more detail. The goal of this PowerPoint presentation structure is to help keep audiences on the same page and reduce the risk of them losing interest due to information overload.
Fun Fact: The Rule of Three was standard practice in the many Apple presentations Steve Jobs gave.
Avoid Unnecessary Animations
PowerPoint animations can be fun, engaging and can even instill some splashes of humor. However, there is a fine line between animations that help elevate the presentation design and message and animations that distract. With audience attention at stake, be exceptionally mindful of the type of animations you put into your slides, such as transition motions. The aim should be to add a bit of flare to your slides without removing the intended focus or dimming the content influences.
From a presentation designer standpoint, animations are usually not necessary. But if you do intend on using them in your structure, go with professional and modernized animations that help push the story you are delivering. For example, a quality PowerPoint animation between the segments may help enhance audience engagement if you are telling a linear story.
Use Only High Quality and Relevant Visuals
With presentation design on the pedestal, another intricate part of solidifying audience engagement is using only high-quality, relevant visuals. In the world of PowerPoint presentations, good visuals are much more engaging and emotionally investing than reading text alone. But again, that only holds true if the visuals are quality driven and align with the message you are delivering. For instance, if you are hosting a PowerPoint presentation on marketing, you will want to avoid visuals/visual data on something that is not marketing related. To help you further on this, before using any quality derived chart or picture, ask yourself if it supports the point you are trying to make. If the answer happens to be no, then remove it.
Bonus Tip: No matter what visuals (and text, for that matter) you implement, your slides should always be legible from every corner of the room you are presenting in.
Do Not Use Your PowerPoint As A Teleprompter
As any new or seasoned presenter knows, the best way to keep an audience engaged is by engaging with them! This means speaking to them on an immersive level, asking questions, using proper body language, and inspiring them to get involved. That said, it is nearly impossible to perform those necessary things and get that kind of positive reaction if you are simply reading off your sides.
Too often, presenters can fall into using their PowerPoint slides as a teleprompter. Unfortunately, doing so results in your back being turned often and can quickly cause audience disengagement. Instead, design your PowerPoint with bulleted keywords (which can also help with the decluttering aspect mentioned in point #1) and rehearse what you plan on saying as well as your charismatic stance beforehand. In short, focus on speaking to your audience rather than reading to them, and use your slides to add value to your speech, not distract from it.
Summary – Master Audience Engagement Smarter, Not Harder
In summary, there are many moving parts when it comes to not just building an influential presentation but doing so in such a way that keeps audiences engaged simultaneously. From the overall presentation design itself, color/visual incorporations to formatting intricacies, addressing it mindfully equates to a PowerPoint structure that instills invested attraction.
Still, it is no secret that mastering audience engagement is still something that can feel both time-consuming and foreign. Because of that, consider hiring a presentation designer who can optimize your slides for success while helping you get back what you value the most – time, energy, and confidence. In the end, everyone deserves the opportunity to put their best foot forward, and sometimes all it takes is connecting with a PowerPoint designer who values your message as much as you do to begin capitalizing on that.