PowerPoint® Power Strategies: Designing Slides That Get Your Message Across

PowerPoint® Power Strategies: Designing Slides That Get Your Message Across

When designing a learning event in which you will be using slides, PowerPoint® software offers a flexible vehicle for creating training aids that can grab and hold your participant’s attention while making your message visually effective.  This is important since brain research indicates that when someone experiences data through a variety of senses, they are more likely to be able to gain, retain, recall, and use the information effectively.

PowerPoint® – Designing Slides That Get Your Message Across

Making content visuals can also help learners better comprehend your meaning, especially in instances where learners have a hearing deficit, speak another native language, or have a preference for visual learning modality.

The challenge for many workplace learning professionals, educators, presenters, and meeting facilitators is that they attempt to use too many of the special animation enhancement features (e.g. transitions, sound, and inserted video). As a result, they overwhelm their learners and audience members or in some cases irritate them. Either way, learning, and retention suffers.

PowerPoint® Power Strategies: Designing Slides That Get Your Message Across

PowerPoint® Slides That Get Your Message Across

The following five tips can help ensure that your slides are designed to enhance rather than detract from your intended message.

  1. Make your title lines slightly larger than your text. For example, if your text is a 16-point font, use 20-22 point fonts for the headers.
  2. Use all capital letters to make your title line stand out from the text.
  3. Use the same theme throughout so that you are not continually changing color and format between slides. The latter can distract learners as they mentally try to adjust and search for information.
  4. Add graphics or visuals (e.g. clipart, photos, graphs, charts, or borders) to emphasize your written message and appeal to your visual learners. Just ensure that whatever you use is professional and relates to the written words. Do not use images just because you like them or they are aesthetically appealing.  For example, if you are talking about accounting, do not include a photo of a sporty looking car unless you are making a point (e.g. if you properly account for revenue and generate savings, you might be able to afford a sporty new car).

Note: Make sure that if you did not create the image yourself that you have permission from the copyright owner.

5.  Only address one topic or issue per slide.

For additional suggestions on adding pizzazz to your slides, get a copy of Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.