Patrick Johansen asked some great questions about optimizing use of PowerPoint for training and got a ton of input. In particular, he asked about use of color, layout, and animation. Following is an organized synopsis of the feedback he received.
First and foremost: CONTENT!
- Make sure the content is engaging before you worry about the slides
- Focus on activities to engage your group, more than on the slides to show them
- Think of slides as helpful take-aways for audience
- Think of the PowerPoint as the supplement, not the star of the show
- PowerPoint is a tool
- Use as few slides as you can
- If you want to distribute content after the fact, you may want a second set of slides or distribute slides with notes
- Remember training is not the same as presenting
- Use PowerPoint to help with visualization
- Stick with images and graphics that support your spoken words
- Slides should be for the audience, not the presenter/trainer
- PowerPoint is sometimes used for other purposes (as a selling tool or record of what was discussed). These uses should be treated differently.
- Stick to a small range of colors that provide consistency and solidify brand.
- Use complementary colors (sparingly) to break up the monotony, and make something stands out
- “I tend to use blue for Key Points, as we have many red/green colour blind participants”
- Too many colors distracts the learners and reduces the retention.
- Keep it Simple
- Match colors to the Corporate brand.
- Try to put one big picture on a slide and build the discussion around it
- Use this tool for color schemes: http://colorschemedesigner.com/
- Less is more
- I tend to keep my layouts the same unless I really want to emphasize something
- Feature a diagram, picture, quote or bulleted list
- No more than 3-7 bullets per slide
- Establish a consistent template, use this as a base to derive others.
- Introduce variation to ward off boredom, but keep returning to the template format so people feel they haven’t strayed too far from their comfort zone.
- Have some visual indicator showing where people are in the presentation
- Use a single picture or a few words as a prompt, not to tell the whole story
- Vary the location of pictures for interest
- AVOID: overcrowding, small fonts, long paragraphs, fonts that blend into the background
- Indicate number of slides in the presentation
- These tend to be distracting
- Use them sparingly to indicate emphasis
- DON’T JUST READ FROM YOUR SLIDES!!!
- Don’t even use PowerPoint
- Try Prezi.com as an alternative
- Use whiteboards and flip charts instead
- If people are reading, they probably aren’t listening