Every day at Chillibreeze we go through many customer emails and enquiries that revolve around one problem.
Visualizing Corporate PowerPoint Slides
They say that pictures speak a thousand words. So does visualization in any form.
Currently, people are more into visuals than earlier. It doesn’t matter whether you are a millennial or baby boomer. Browsing through your feeds on any social platforms, you will likely stop to read something that has visual or videos.
The same goes for PowerPoint presentations. Especially when your audience has been sitting through a number of other things through the day.
When you are being flooded with content every day, it’s hard to hold it all in your overloaded brain. Here is where visualization helps. Visuals leave a lasting impression. If not always, at least those that stand out, stick in your memory.
You want your presentation to be something that your audience will remember and recall easily. And great visuals are the only way to do that.
When you can’t cut/minimize text or move it to a new slide because it would mess with the thought flow, it becomes difficult for you to visualize slides.
We have compiled 15 such situations that all presenters face and have tried to give you a visual version.
1. Turn simple text into Graph
When your slide contains percentages, you can easily convert them to visual charts.
The above visual shows the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of a slide. If the ‘before’ version was used as is, your audience will be forced to read the slides. But when the percentages are converted to easy-to-comprehend visuals, the slide becomes more impactful.
2. Use of graphic icons
Icons help hold the attention of the audience. Replacing or supporting content with icons increases the attention of the audience. But avoid overuse of graphic icons just for the sake of visual effects.
Notice the impact a few icons can make to a text heavy slide. Just a little clean up here and there and ta-da!
3. Break down the content into separate boxes
When a slide is text heavy, it is best to cut the content down. You can convert it into points as shown here.
I am sure, most of us will not bother reading the ‘before’ slide, but the ‘after’ slide is easy to take in at a glance. When you break the content into points, it becomes more readable.
4. Break down the content into separate boxes with icons
In addition to breaking your slide content down to consumable pieces, the use of icons adds a perceivable visual impact to your presentation.
Here is a before-after look. The ‘after’ slide gives better clarity.
5. Flow diagram style
There are many ways you can visualize the content of your slides. You just have to get creative.
Here is an example of how to convert a plain text slide into a flow chart. Depending on the flow of the content you can design the layout of the slide.
You will agree that the ‘after’ slide is more readable and appealing to the eye.
6. Adding colors to slides
Colors are fundamental to design. They have high impact on the visual aspects of slides.
For a hierarchy diagram like the one seen here, color coding improves the visual effect, and it also makes it easier for your audience to follow the thought flow.
There are many ways you can visualize hierarchy diagrams. You can play around with the shapes, colors, orientation, and layout of the diagram.
Consider a slide like this, which shows seven steps in a customer journey. We can make it easier for the reader if we chunk it into thre
e groups. Chunking information helps but you still need to tell the reader what each chunk means. Add a label to each chunk as shown in the after slide.
If we have a chunk of information on the slide that is not labelled, it will take longer for the audience to comprehend the content. Labelling helps transfer that knowledge to your audience.
8. Section with shape
Sometimes you can’t spread out the content of a slide over multiple slides because it all falls under one topic. In such cases, it is wise to avoid adding graphic visuals. Even if you have to add graphics, make it as minimal as possible.
To make the content pop out, add shapes as a divider as done in the illustration above.
9. Line and Shapes and its functions
When you are showing a relationship between two sets of data, use two shapes to differentiate the content and use arrows to show the relationship between the two.
You don’t have to use two arrows, use just one with arrow heads on both ends like the example above.
10. Communicating via charts
Charts are the most effective tool for visualizing data. However, they are one of the most inflexible tools when it comes to design. Still, there are quite a few ways in which you can improve the visual aspect of charts.
The ‘before’ slide is not so bad, but it looks very cluttered with all the bars rubbing against one another. The ‘after’ slide is more appealing to the eye. In the illustration, telecom, high tech, and government are being highlighted as they show greater interest in the product. You can color code the bars according to labels or numbers.
A timeline displays a list of events in chronological order. The primary function of timelines is to communicate time-related information, over time, either for analysis or to visually present a story or view of history.
Timeline content can be fascinating, and there are a number of ways to visualize them.
The above example shows a simple way in which you can visualize timeline content.
12. Section lines
When you have a lot of text along with charts in one single slide, it becomes difficult for readers to comprehend the content.
When there is a huge paragraph, it is better not to stretch it out to the full slide as seen in the ‘before’ example here. Place the paragraph on 1/4th of the slide for easier readability as shown below. Breakdown the charts/diagrams into sections so that they are more prominent.
13. Use color coding and symbols
Tables are more or less like charts. Visualizing tables is very restricted to the boxes of tables.
Apart from designing the table, you can color code the rows and columns of the table to highlight content or emphasize it.
Here is an example of how you can improve the visuals of a table. You can color code words or use symbols if there are repetitive words as shown in the ‘after’ slide.
14. Picture Superiority Effect
Pictures say a thousand words. If you are using pictures to enhance the visuals of your slides, pick the right images that support the content. Don’t use images just for the sake of having one in your slide. Know when to use them and how to use them too. Picture placement also matters.
Here is an example of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ slide. See how the images balance out the slide.
15. Right use of lines
Using lines help accentuate the slide content. It also helps breakdown points for better readability in a slide. You should also know the right kinds of lines to use in terms of width, size and other such parameters.
If the lines are too thick, it is distracting. If the lines are of the same thickness, they show the content has same importance. See the ‘before’ slide to understand this.
Using different kinds of lines, based on the importance of a chunk of text, for better communication is shown in the ‘after’ slide above.
There you have it! We covered slides with plain text, charts, diagrams, images, tables, and timelines.
Corporate presentations are usually not too heavy with graphics; they are mostly filled with data and information. Visualizing such slides can be a challenge at times. Using simple visualizations as we did with the 15 visual styles is more effective, especially when slides are heavy with content.
Go ahead and try out these simple yet effective visualizations on your PowerPoint presentation!
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