Are you using PowerPoint to its full potential?

By 17th August 2017Blog, PowerPoint Series
PowerPoint presentation design services

We all LOVE PowerPoint don’t we? Don’t we? Well Forbes recently published an article suggesting that there are minimal advantages to using PowerPoint and, based on research undertaken by Harvard University, that businesses should stop using it. Well… here are some of the advantages of PowerPoint.

We’ve all heard the term ‘death by PowerPoint’ all too often. At SomeBrightSpark, we take a less simplistic view…

I tend to think that PowerPoint is a bit like Thai food… stay with me. Good Thai food is cool fresh and thoroughly enjoyable but bad Thai is worse than terrible.

At SomeBrightSpark, we use PowerPoint to do some of our most vitally important work – winning pitches. We believe that when we add the right mix of ingredients to our presentations, we can make ourselves and our ideas look exciting, well thought out and as zesty as a slice of lime.

And we’ve been converting our clients to our way of thinking too, convincing them of what can be achieved when we use this powerful tool properly.

We provide a dedicated PowerPoint design service, successfully transforming brand communications into tasty morsels that help you achieve a meaningful connection with your audience. A perfectly balanced presentation can help ‘take them with you’.

OK I’ll stop with the food analogies now.

So what happens when we compare PowerPoint with its biggest rival, Prezi?

What do the Bods at Harvard say?

The study by Harvard’s research team found that when PowerPoint is misused it’s not effective at engaging with audiences or transferring information for businesses. If you get someone else to design your PowerPoint’s  maybe you’re not using the right creative agency. Ultimately, the results show that bad PowerPoint fails to improve the standing of a brand in the eyes of it’s audience.

In fact, some of the participants of the study voted in favour of presentation tools like Prezi. They felt the ‘Zoomable’ user-interfaces, seemed more organised, and persuasive.

What do the Creatives at SomeBrightSpark say?

Firstly, I would like to know if the Bods at Harvard chose to present their findings through the zoomy medium of Prezi. And therein lies the problem for me, it’s all that ‘zoomy-ness’. It’s one thing sitting through a 20 minute slide show, it’s another thing sitting through the equivalent of a 20 minute Helter-skelter. We want your audience to be focused on you and your message, not ‘jazzy graphics’. I say lets work together on making your story engaging and we’ll create some supporting content for you which is slick and effortless – that way you won’t have to compensate by adding some ‘zooms’.

So yes, we do LOVE PowerPoint, and to celebrate, we’ve decided to create our very own PowerPoint series which aims to prove it’s power and worth. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing some PowerPoint templates, providing the elusive answers to some of the most commonly asked technical questions, and you’ll also get to hear from our experienced PowerPoint Design Team who are out there helping our clients look good on stage and in meetings every day.

Here are some upshots to get us started…

1. No limitations

PowerPoint offers an almost limitless amount of potential. Use it for mocking up landing pages, designing infographics, and creating slick presentations. I’ve even used Powerpoint to create an animated video sequence.

Basically anything that you need to communicate visually can be done using PowerPoint.

2. It plays nice

In the olden days, PowerPoint was pretty limited and, dare I say it, bloody-minded. It wouldn’t ‘play’ with video embedding very well at all. In the noughties there was a frantic race to develop high quality digital technology, but PowerPoint seemed to ignore all that. Thankfully, this versatile tool has now joined the party and embedded video, vector graphics and animated GIFs can all come together to raise the quality of your presentations.

3. Powerful Master Layouts

When I’m sitting down to ‘bash out some slides’, the very first thing I do is set up my Slides Masters. This is the ultimate under-used power play in the whole game of creating consistently polished presentations.

Within this area you can set up your Fonts, Colour Pallet and Content layouts. 30 minutes spent in this area will save you hours when it comes to building your presentation.

The reason this function is under-used is because it seems complex and intimidating if you don’t know how to use it – and that’s where we come in! Keep an eye out for our tutorial on simple Slide Master set ups in the coming weeks.

4. The final layer of polish

So, you’ve got your compelling story, you’ve thought about the rich media you might embed into your slides and you’ve set up your Master and ‘bashed out’ your slides, what next? Animation! This is the fun bit, but remember, this is NOT a competition to see how many crazy/zany/eye-torturing ‘fly ins’ and zoom ups you can cram into your deck. That approach is for people who haven’t got a strong enough message but your message is strong right? So your approach is to chose a nice subtle animation for any builds you want to add to your slides. This is the time to choose a suitably calm slide transition. This last touch will add the final layer of sophistication to your slide deck.

Wrapping up

What the study from Harvard does highlight is the lack of user knowledge. Over the next few weeks we’re going to be adding helpful guides and free templates to our blog. So, follow us to get alerts and be the first to get your hands on our goodies.

Alternatively, you can always get in touch with team if you need help with an important presentation.