PowerPoint Rules You Should Follow

If you want your PowerPoint presentation to move, compel, and inspire, then it’s important that you make it unique and creative. That being said, there are a distinct set of rules and guidelines you can (and should) follow that make it much easier to nail your presentation every single time.

The following rules aren’t designed to limit your creativity; they’re designed to make it shine even brighter.

Stick to 5/5/5
Slides full of long blocks of text are exhausting for your audience and more than likely will cause them to tune out. To avoid tiring (and boring) your audience, stick to the 5/5/5 rule. That means allowing no more than five words per text line, having no more than five lines of text per slide, and never having more than five text-heavy slides in a row.

Contrast Your Colors
More than anything, you want your slides to be as readable as possible. And a good trick to make certain of that is to always use a high contrast between your text and your background. White font on a black background or dark blue on a yellow background are good examples of high contrasts that make it easy for your audience’s eyes to read what you’re presenting.

Follow 10/20/30
It’s no secret that humans have short attention spans, especially now that most of us are carrying smartphones around all day. Rather than try to force your audience to pay attention for too long, which is always futile, follow the 10/20/30 rule for your next presentation: Present 10 slides in 20 minutes using a 30-point font on each slide. This helps you work with their short attention span rather than against it.

Keep Designs Simple
Busy patterns and highly-detailed images might look great up close, but more often than not, they look chaotic and confusing from the perspective of your audience. Using simple flat images and solid colors in lieu of crazy patterns makes it a lot easier for your audience to focus only on you and your message.

Adhere to 1-6-6
Given that bullet points make it harder for your audience to pay attention, we recommend staying away from them as much as possible. When you do use them, though, make sure to do so following the 1-6-6 rule. That means each slide should have one main idea, no more than six bullet points, and a maximum of six words per point. This ensures your content is sharp and concise.

Skip the Fancy Fonts
Just as you should keep your patterns and images simple, you should do the same with your fonts. Resist the urge to include anything too stylized, like script or curly-cues, and instead incorporate clean, standard fonts that will be clear and easy for your audience to read from afar.

Add Consistency to Your Simplicity
In addition to keeping your fonts and images simple, you’ll also want to make them consistent to achieve a cohesive, professional look. Pick just a handful of colors and fonts, say three or four, and use them throughout your presentation without straying. This ensures your presentation looks clean and cohesive rather than busy and chaotic.

Want more hands-on help designing your next presentation? Then check out Ethos3’s presentation design services.

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