Out of the box, most Powerpoint templates are pretty cookie-cutter and boring. Newer versions of Powerpoint raise the bar, but the basic page layout is still heavy on bullet points and weak on effectiveness.
If you want to completely reach your audience you need to create effective slides for the three main learning styles. They are…
- Audio learners: Receive information audibly or by reading to themselves
- Visual Learners: Receive information with their eyes
- Kinesthetic learners: Receive information by touch or feel (hands-on)
Here are three common slide types and their overall effectiveness.
1. Basic Powerpoint Slide
Lets take a look at the common Powerpoint slide and see how we can improve it
You have probably seen this type of Powerpoint slide many times. It features the built-in Narrow Arial font in black with rounded bullets and a standard MS Office template background. If you’ve seen one, you have seen them all.
Unfortunately this slide will do nothing for your visual or kinesthetic learners in your audience. Very few visual people find a lot of text interesting. And it will only be helpful to your audio learners if you read it to them or they read it to themselves. This will take their focus off of you and have them reading the slide. The more information, the longer their attention will be focused on the slide.
2. Enhanced Powerpoint Slide
Let’s modify our font, customize our bullets, and add a photo to spice things up.
Notice in this slide we have added a bold title font with shadow, we have limited our bullets to main points only, and used custom graphics for the bullets. We added a photo that is large enough to see easily and added a custom frame to have it dissolve into the background. The template background features a custom gradient for added visual interest.
This type of slide is certain to draw the attention of your visual learners. The photo adds visual interest along with a colorful background and graphical bullets. The strong title font gets your message across quickly, and limiting your bullet points to just main points get your message across much quicker for the audio learners (they will be able to read it much faster) and returns the focus to you.
The only group generally left out with a slide like this is your kinesthetic learners (hands-on). If you tie this in with a hands-on worksheet, you’ll have a slide that works well for all groups.
3. Create More Effective Powerpoint Presentations With Emotional Slides
The final type of slide is one that can be effective for all learning styles. The power is in its simplicity. In just a matter of seconds you message is presented.
The text is generally one or two words in bold text. The emotional picture takes up the entire slide. The bold text is quickly read by your audio people, while the bold picture is a delight to your visual learners, and your kinesthetic people will feel the emotion of the photograph.
This type of slide tells a story without distracting from you, the presenter. Your audience can quickly figure out what is going on, and the slide reinforces what you are saying. You tell the story and the slide adds the emotion.
In figure 3 above, the gentleman in the front is frustrated that his football team just lost. His co-workers who were for the other team, hoot and holler in the background. We’ve all been there, but the picture quickly brings back the emotion! They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For a slide like this pick one that tells a story!
In conclusion, you can create effective Powerpoint presentations by using the enhanced slides to cover your facts and figures and the emotional slides to tell your story. Use both to create your next masterpiece!
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds
Beyond Bullet Points: Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire by Cliff Atkinson