Creating a slide presentation can be a nerve-wracking experience. From the organization of ideas to the selection of slide styles to use, everything must be flawless (or nearly so!) if you’re going to keep your audience engaged.
A PowerPoint presentation isn’t just about getting the facts up onto to the screen. You’ve got to keep that audience with you, interested, paying attention, and absorbing what you’re trying to tell them.* Boring them to death and driving them to doodling or texting or daydreaming can get in the way of those worthwhile purposes! Eye-pleasing slide designs can be a strong influence in the right direction.
While spending a lot of time choosing which slide template to use isn’t advisable, it’s important for you to have a cohesive, attractive, and relevant PowerPoint presentation slides to support your point. Before downloading, keep the following tips in mind:
▪ Is the slide template relevant to what you are presenting?
Whether you’re presenting a sales report or a market study, your template should be somewhat related to or in harmony with your topic. Cutesy slides in a rainbow of colors won’t be appropriate for presenting a report on environmental changes or other such serious subject – though they might be just the thing for a presentation about a daycare center.
Whatever you’re presenting, the important facts — not the look of the slides—are what should stand out. If the template design takes people’s attention away from your topic, then your presentation becomes ineffective. Finding a template theme appropriate and relevant to your topic, and then using it consistently, goes a long way toward giving you an effective presentation. Take note that consistency is not the same as uniformity—your slides should have a little bit of variety to ward off monotony, but the variety needn’t and shouldn’t be too drastic.
▪ Is the template viewable in multiple formats?
Before you download presentation slides, think about where and how you’ll be delivering your presentation. Although most computers these days can accommodate a wide range of formats, you need to think about the compatibility of your template with older computer models and operating systems. If you’re going to be delivering your presentation using your own computer, this won’t be a problem, obviously. If you will be (or even might be) delivering the presentation using a different computer (at the presentation site, for example, where it might be required that you use their computer and equipment, for one reason or another), it’s a good idea to keep broad compatibility in mind. If you can find out about such a requirement or restriction in advance, you can take steps to prevent a presentation-day fiasco.
▪ Does it contain everything needed for your presentation?
Pictures, videos, charts, and graphs can do a lot to add interest to what might otherwise be a dull report. Most people are visually oriented, so adding such elements helps sustain audience interest. Check to see if the template you wish to download will support such features. Once again, balance and moderation are important, though – there’s nothing wrong with some bells and whistles as long as you don’t go overboard. (Unless you’re deliberately aiming for an over-the-top show!)
▪ What about cost?
In many cases, paying for a top-quality slide template isn’t much of a big deal – and it can be well worth while to pay a reasonable fee to make your presentation the best it can be. There can be times and circumstances, though, where economy is a definite concern. Although paid-for templates generally look more professional, and aren’t the same as what so very many other presenters are using, you can still find a wide range of free presentation slides that may suit your present needs.
* For more on keeping your audience riveted, check out this recent post.