- Hayley Milne Payne
PowerPoint looking good - fast!
Are you fed up spending too much time on your presentations and feel like the quality still isn’t what you had hoped for? These top 3 tips are just what you need!
Through my experience working for my clients, it amazes me how frequently I observe my clients re-inventing the wheel over and over again.
You want the slides to be impactful and fresh, so some ingenuity isn’t a bad thing, right? Well, yes you want the presentation to be contemporary and relevant, however if you are working within a team or representing a large brand, creating new designs and layouts every time is not necessarily an advantage.
Firstly, it’s crazy time consuming. The best teams share their presentations and content, so that they can copy and paste the coolest layouts. This naturally saves each other a considerable amount of time and effort.
Secondly, consistent formatting and styling helps to build and strengthen your brand. If every time the same client is pitched to, they get presented the bar charts in different styles and colours, it doesn’t portray you as a brand at your best. A consistent approach is a great way to gain and maintain your clients trust.
Regardless of what software you might be using to create your presentation, making your formatting accurate will make your presentation appear more polished and professional.
I have been training professionals in a PowerPoint environment for many years and one thing that is incredibly common is the approach my clients have to making their documents accurate. They squint and try to line up their objects one by one by sight. Ok, not everyone, but a lot do it!
So here are my top tips to getting your presentation accurate quickly!
Without a doubt – use the alignment tools and don’t guess! Maybe you already do this.
Make sure you have installed the Quick access toolbar (below the ribbon!) and customized it – it is significantly quicker to access tools this way.
Learn how to repeat commands – for example the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Y, works well for this. When you need to make a repetitive change throughout your document then apply that change to one object. After this, select the next object and hit this shortcut to repeat the command. Rather than re-doing the action. When your presentation is 100 slides long, this will save you a lot of time. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can whizz through your slides making this repeated corrections.
One of the biggest time savers for any business is making your base template ‘actually a template’. Not a design for a cover, divider and contents page in the form of 3 jpegs inserted on top of your slides. A dedicated formatting style embedded within the master slides, and a substantial and flexible scope of layouts relevant to your business needs, is the ticket! In addition to this I always recommend creating a master toolkit. So a collection of pre set up slides with plenty of useful graphics that you often encounter. So for example, icons, tables, org. charts, styling for testimonials and captions, and logos of your clients and partners. Elements you are using over and over again. Even something as simple as a line with an arrow on it. Then you can make sure everyone in your team use the same arrow. It's the little things that all add up. By having this toolkit, you are saving your team lots of time and making sure they are all on the same page, as to what styles are required.
The clients I encounter that don’t invest their time or money in building a thorough template are those that spend the most time finessing their presentations, rather than focusing on the content. It’s small price to pay, for a long term solution that will enable you to have good looking presentations where you spent most of your time on the actually story and words rather than making it look better.
Benefits of getting a high quality template built are:
You can significantly limit the time you spend on the aesthetics of your presentations – everything is predetermined.
You can ensure when you work in a team, your presentations all look consistent – absolutely paramount!
You don’t have to be reliant on a designer to build your presentations – this can get expensive and unnecessary.
You wouldn’t believe how many clients I have come across over the years that pay agencies to make their slides, who in return provide to them flat un-editable jpegs that they used as slides in PowerPoint. Don’t become a victim of this approach. If it is a flat jpeg, it is most likely the same design can be entirely replicated in PowerPoint and fully editable. You just need to know how to do it.
I am often asked why some agencies can’t provide these template solutions and I’ll be honest many times, buy no fault of their own classically trained designers don’t really know their way around PowerPoint enough to be able to do this. It's just not what they spend most of their time doing, plus there is a good chance they are using a Mac. It’s important to appreciate that PowerPoint on a Mac has limitations and therefore I always recommended to have your base template built in a PC environment, so you can benefit from all the tools it has to offer. The Mac version is constantly getting more and more sophisticated, but it is still not quite there. It also can be advantageous to build the template in PowerPoint on a PC, to then be used as a google presentation for similar reasons. If you are interested in gaining more insight and support into best practice Presentation design, check out our website for details on courses that we offer, individual and team programs are available and are always fully customized to fit with each clients specific business needs.
Crafty Chameleon also offers professional design support for clients, providing competitive freelance rates to design and build templates and to design and finesse presentations.