Join a gym. Start a new hobby. Finally trying out those purple highlights. If you’re like us, chances are you have a list of resolutions that you are seriously, definitely going to get started on this year. It’s happening. Really.
But there’s one resolution you may not have considered that needs to be on your list for 2022: get better at PowerPoint. And to help you achieve this important goal, we’re going to show you how to end 5 of the worst PowerPoint habits out there.
Fortunately, this is the easiest resolution on your list to achieve! So put down your new knitting needles, fire up PowerPoint, and let’s learn how to be a PPT Pro in 2022.
PowerPoint Resolution #1: Stop stating the obvious
You may think that being direct and to the point is the best way to write a PowerPoint. “This slide has the objectives for the project,” you might say, “so I’ll title it “Objectives.””
Don’t do that. Here’s why.
How many meetings have you been in today? What about this week or month? How many of those included a slide titled “Objectives.” Now, how many of those can you remember?
Research into cognition and memory shows that people remember stories much better than individual statements. So if you want people to 1) pay attention to your presentation, and 2) take away key information, you need to use storytelling techniques.
Essentially, that means putting your information into a larger context. Not just saying “what,” but really focusing on the “why.” You can do this by building to a larger point, changing your headlines from features to benefits, or by adding more of your own personality and voice to the writing.
However you do it, stop stating the obvious, and start telling stories. Your audience will thank you, we promise.
PowerPoint Resolution #2: Using fewer words
Without even looking at your slides, we feel pretty confident in saying that you’re probably cramming too many words/ideas onto each one.
The goal of a slide in a presentation is not necessarily to offer comprehensive information about every aspect of your message. Many presenters take the approach of putting everything they want the audience to know on one slide, thinking that it makes the point easier to follow and keeps individual ideas self-contained.
The problem is, while you’re presenting, your audience isn’t focused on you – they are half-listening and half-reading, which means they aren’t really focused at all.
And rather than offering clarity, adding too much content or information on a slide can actually add confusion, since it’s less clear what the key takeaways are for each slide.
So the next time you have more than 3-5 sentences on a slide, stop and break up your content across a few slides. Not only will this make your core information easier to follow, it will allow you to use more storytelling techniques in your headlines, which will benefit your overall presentation.
PowerPoint Resolution #3: Master visual storytelling
Visual storytelling is the practice of using visuals – photographs, infographics, icons, shapes, breadcrumbs, and any other non-text element of a slide – to support your messaging.
But it doesn’t just mean adding these things. For visual storytelling to be successful, every element on your slide needs to be purposeful. If it isn’t adding something to emphasize your point or clarify your message, it’s only getting in the way.
To get started with visual storytelling, get your content onto slides, then start to think about how adding visuals can support the key message on your slide. When you’re getting started with visual storytelling, more is less, so keep it simple and keep it clear.
PowerPoint Resolution #4: Paste content, not slides
In PowerPoint, it’s common to grab slides you’ve used before, or from different presentations, to reuse in a new one. And that’s a good thing! Once you get it right, you should get the most from your work.
But if you want to make sure the quality content you are adding looks as good as it sounds, don’t copy and paste entire slides. Instead, copy over the individual elements, and then add those to your slides.
The reason why is that when you copy a slide over, PowerPoint also pulls the master slide template from your original deck into your new one. That means if the two presentations don’t use the same template, you’ll end up with some formatting that doesn’t really work.
So save yourself some time and copy the elements rather than the whole slide.
PowerPoint Resolution #5: Build your brand
From social content to OOH and everywhere in between, your company is probably very protective of your brand. But the decision makers that truly influence growth and trajectory might not be seeing your advertising, and they are definitely seeing your presentation.
So the same care and attention to detail should go into crafting your story, using visual storytelling, and designing your presentation as would go into an ad campaign.
Because presentations are one of the few types of marketing that you can fully control the audience experience. So if you aren’t using your presentations as a brand building tool, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
That could mean engaging your internal design team, choosing a presentation design partner, or simply using this blog to become a presentation design expert yourself!
PowerPoint Resolutions Checklist
Tell a story
Break up content
Use visual storytelling
Copy content, not slides
Build your brand
With these 5 tips, you’ll start the year with some new skills that will last well beyond 2022. Try them out, browse our blog for even more tips, then let us know what else you want to learn about PowerPoint this year.