Sticky Presentations bite size article: Designing High Impact Presentation Slides

Designing High Impact Presentation Slides

Jan 05, 2018

What makes a slide a high impact slide? Some might say, it's the colours. It's the layout. It's the animation. It's the picture. It's the content. It's …

It's actually many things combined. Ultimately, it's going to be the clarity of the content that matters, combined with tasteful aesthetic. Content that is clear and it's easy to understand speaks to your audience. Therefore creates an impact that leaves a lasting impression.

You don't need to be an expert in PowerPoint
Presentation software, such as PowerPoint plays a part in getting you the slides, but you don't need to be an expert in PowerPoint to design high impact presentation slides. Much of the work to designing high impact presentation slides is done without the presentation software. Once you have decided on the content of the slides, you will realise that you only need to know about 15% to 20% of PowerPoint to get your content into PowerPoint.

Have a clear objective
Before we embark into building our slides, we must have a clear objective. A clear objective will ensure that we are focused and specific in the content we put into our sides. Without a clear objective, we will have no direction and we might end up being messy and not knowing exactly what content to focus on. Presentation is after all a form of communication, and for it to be valuable, it must be focused and specific.

Be relevant
Think again before you decide on each content that you want to add to the slide. Does it meet the objective? Is it really necessary? Many of us tend to add too much onto a slide making it cluttered and difficult to understand. Remember that less is actually more. Be selective about what content you add to each slide and keep it to the minimum. Be relevant.

Keep it simple
Being relevant also means keeping content simple. If you can't remember what you see at a glance, your audience can't too. Use keywords, short phrases, simple diagram, illustration, clean chart, and images instead of lengthy sentences. Design your slides for your audience to see, not for them to read. Reading takes too much effort. Seeing is better for presentation slides.

Draw your ideas
We are too used to writing to express our ideas. Writing is good when it's for a report or document. Drawing is better when you want your ideas captured at a glance. Content for presentation slides should be drawn if want your audience to glance and remember information that you throw in the slide. We are likely to remember visuals better than texts.

Plan on paper in a storyboard
Try doing your planning on paper, arranging your ideas for each slide into a storyboard. Planning your slides on paper gives you more freedom to express your ideas in pictures. You are more likely to build your ideas in blocks and diagrams instead of just paragraphs of words. Planning on paper also makes you look at the whole presentation as one story rather than individual slides. As you plan your ideas on paper, you will also internalise your ideas, thinking through how you will want to deliver the content of your presentation.

For your next presentation, try the above process to get your high impact presentation slides. Start with a clear objective and move through planning the content on paper. Think about drawing your ideas instead of writing them. Then arrange each idea into a storyboard before transferring them into PowerPoint. You will be surprised how much more impact your presentation slides will be, and how much time you have saved overall.


The author, ANG Tian Teck is a coach, trainer, and speaker, specialising in inspiring organisations and business leaders to deliver high impact presentations. He has coached, trained, and infected over 10,000 individuals across the region with his Amazing Sticky Presentations® approach. Tian Teck is also the author of two books, Sticky Presentations®, and Spinning I.D.E.A.S.

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