Your slides should have plenty of “white space” or “negative space.” Do not feel compelled to fill empty areas on your slide with your logo or other unnecessary graphics or text boxes that do not contribute to better understanding. The less clutter you have on your slide, the more powerful your visual message will become.
We’ll talk more about this in the delivery section below, but as long as we are talking about text, please remember to never, ever turn your back on the audience and read text from the slide word for word.
I often use images of people in my slides, as photography of people tends to help the audience connect with the slide on a more emotional level. If the photographic image is secondary in importance, then I decrease the opacity and add a Gaussian Blur or motion filter in Photoshop. If the photographic image is the primary area I want the audience to notice (such as a picture of a product), then the image can be more pronounced and little (or no) text is needed.
Used to show percentages. Limit the slices to 4-6 and contrast the most important slice either with color or by exploding the slice.
Used to show changes in quantity over time. Best if you limit the bars to 4-8.
Used to compare quantities. For example, comparing sales figures among the four regions of the company.
Used to demonstrate trends. For example, here is a simple line chart showing that our sales have gone up every year. The trend is good. The arrow comes in later to underscore the point: Our future looks good!
In general, tables are good for side-by-side comparisons of quantitative data. However, tables can lack impact on a visceral level. If you want to show how your contributions are significantly higher than two other parties, for example, it would be best to show that in the form of a bar chart (below, right). If you’re trying to downplay the fact that your contributions are lower than others, however, a table will display that information in a less dramatic or emotional way.
You do not need to be an expert in color theory, but it’s good for business professionals to know at least a bit on the subject. Colors can be divided into two general categories: Cool (such as blue and green) and Warm (such as orange and red). Cool colors work best for backgrounds as they appear to recede away from us into the background. Warm colors generally work best for objects in the foreground (such as text) because they appear to be coming at us. It is no surprise, then, that the most ubiquitous PowerPoint slide color scheme includes a blue background with yellow text. You do not need to feel compelled to use this color scheme, though you may choose to use a variation of those colors.
If you will be presenting in a dark room (such as a large hall), then a dark background (dark blue, grey, etc.) with white or light text will work fine. But if you plan to keep most of the lights on (which is highly advisable) then a white background with black or dark text works much better. In rooms with a good deal of ambient light, a screen image with a dark background and light text tends to washout, but dark text on a light background will maintain its visual intensity a bit better.Learn more: