Whether presenting to colleagues at work or giving the keynote at a major conference, Microsoft PowerPoint and other slide presentations have become an absolutely essential way to share information.
It’s easy to use, offers a great way to combine images, video, and text, and requires almost no training.
So, why are so many presentations so BORING?
All the elements are there for creating effective, eye-catching, and engaging presentations, but so often we’re forced to sit through slide after slide of overcrowded, hard-to-read text and fuzzy (or non-existent) images.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need to be an expert at public speaking or worry about giving a Ted Talk level presentation.
You can make your presentations dazzle with just a few easy tips.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The crucial mistake that makes most presentations boring.
- How you can use video (YES, VIDEO!) to enhance your presentation.
- Why animated GIFs can give life to your slides.
- How using custom screenshots is better than stock images.
- A better way to share your slides.
Why are so many PowerPoint presentations boring?
There are a lot of reasons that presentations can be so boring, but here are a two key issues:
1. Too much text
Many people believe they need to put everything they want to share on their slides when they create PowerPoint presentations (or presentations with any slide deck software, such as Google Slides or Apple Keynote). So, they fill their slides with huge bulleted lists or long paragraphs that you have to squint to read, even if you’re in the front row.
I get it. There’s a lot to share and we want to get it out in as few slides as possible. Besides, what if someone wants to download my slides? They’ll need to be able to see everything I talked about to understand, right?
Trying to cram all your information into your slides is a crucial mistake that leads to cluttered, overcrowded slides, and almost guarantees that your presentation will be boring and difficult to comprehend.
Here’s the truth: Your message will be more powerful with less clutter on your slides.
2. Not enough visuals
A recent study found that poorly constructed PowerPoint decks can lead to “distraction, boredom, and impeded learning,” while a well-crafted one enhances audience engagement and information retention.
Plus, let’s not forget that PowerPoint is a visual medium. People didn’t come to your presentation to read text off a slide. They came to listen to you present important information. And, the best way to present information is with visuals.
In fact, our research on the Value of Visuals shows that people actually absorb information faster and remember it better and for longer when it’s presented visually vs. text.
And a visual presentation doesn’t just help your audience, it will help you too!
Another recent study found that 91% of people feel that a well-designed slide deck would make them feel more confident when giving a presentation.
So, not only will your audience enjoy your presentation and get more out of it, you’ll feel like a better presenter!
It’s a win-win!
How to make a boring presentation interesting
Like any good content, a great presentation starts with great planning. You can’t just throw something together and expect it to work. Here are some essential ways you can ensure your presentation will be effective, informative, and captivating.
1. Structure your presentation
The best presentations should tell a story. And you can’t tell an effective story if you don’t know for sure how it starts, builds, and ends.
Of course, not every story will be an epic tale. Sometimes you just need to share sales or financial data, but you should still have a point to it all. What are you sharing? Why is it important? What can your audience do with that information once they have it?
To properly structure your prsentation, first you need to know its purpose. There are four common presentation puproses, though many presentations can be a combination of two.
- To inform.
- To persuade.
- To inspire.
- To entertain.
For example, you may want your presentation to entertain and inspire. Or, you may want it to persuade and inform. Choose your presentation type (or types) and stick to a structure that allows you to accomplish your goal.
What ever your presentation’s purpose, it should have a beginning that introduces your topic, a middle that expands your audience’s understanding of what you’re presenting, and an end that pulls together everything you presented and offers a call to action.
To help structure your presentation, I highly recommend you use an outline. You’ll be able to layout exactly what you want to say in the order you want to say it. Plus, you’ll help ensure you don’t miss anything or go off on any weird tangents.
2. Break up complex information over multiple slides
Let’s face it. Most people put too much information on their PowerPoint slides. There’s a huge title, and then everything the presenter is going to say, verbatim. In that situation, it’s almost like you don’t need a presenter at all.
Your slides should highlight or add context to what you’re saying. If you have a lot of information to share, don’t be afraid to spread it out over multiple slides. Your slides should have white space that allows your audience to focus on what’s important.
Sometimes that might be a few words or an image or two.
Don’t fill your slides with walls of text. That almost guarantees a boring presentation.
3. Give your presentation some life with videos
Videos in a PowerPoint presentation? Yep!
One of the most common questions I see is “how to make a PowerPoint presentation interesting?”. And video is an easy way to make a dry presentation come to life.
Videos help capture your audience’s attention and can help you pace your presentation.
Strategically, videos can help you emphasize points or provide a needed break from the monotony of listening to one presenter for an hour or more.
You can use a variety of types of videos:
- Before-and-after footage to demonstrate project progress.
- Screencasts showing data results.
- Quick, informal tutorials on how to perform a task.
Adding a video is easy and there are several ways to include one. You can either upload it from your computer or embed a link to an online site. Be wary of using an online video, though. It’s a good idea to have a backup on your computer ready to go in case the venue’s wifi is spotty.
Screencasts: Your presentation video superpower
One of the best ways to use video in a presentation is a screencast. A screencast is a recording of your screen while you walk through a process, demonstrate a user interface or similar function.
hey’re like screenshots in that you can capture what’s happening on your screen (including audio), but as a video recording, not just a static image.
Start by using your screen recording feature, set to video recording capture. Then edit the footage as needed (like cutting for time) and insert into PowerPoint.
To upload a video from your computer:
- Stop on the slide where you want the clip
- Click on the Insert tab at the top of the screen
- Go down to Video and then click on Movie from File…
4. Harness the power of animated GIFs
Animated GIFs are not just for social media anymore.
There are many practical uses for animated GIFs today. If you need a simple way to demonstrate a step-by-step process for a coworker or client, a looping GIF is a perfect tool — especially if it’s a short clip that doesn’t need audio.
They’re also great for demonstrating a process, showing cause and effect, or depicting a before-and-after comparison. And, unlike a video, there’s no need to press play with a GIF, so using one won’t slow down your presentation.
Another good use for animated GIFs in PowerPoint is for humor. Try to include an animated GIF as a bit of comic relief after a string of text-heavy slides. Everybody loves funny dogs, reactions, and movie clips.
A word of caution: Be aware of your GIF’s size. If it will be longer than 30 seconds, it’s probably better to use a video.
Adding an animated GIF into your PowerPoint is as simple as:
- Save the GIF you want to use to your desktop and navigate to your desired slide.
- Choose pictures in the Insert tab of PowerPoint and select your file.
- Click Insert or Open and then run the Slideshow to get a preview of your GIF.
With Snagit, you can create a GIF from any video and share it directly to PowerPoint.
5. Use screenshots to emphasize your point
Screenshots are valuable tools that can be used to illustrate your point as you talk about it. This allows the audience to follow along with you and connect what they hear to what they see.
A screenshot is a picture of your computer screen. This captures whatever you have up on your screen and saves it as an image file. You can then edit and insert your screenshot into your presentation.
Start by opening Snagit, then drag the box to your parameters and lock it in.
You may want to include a screenshot if you’re referring to data, like results of a survey or analytics. You can further enhance those screenshot by adding in arrows and customized callouts. Adding in elements that highlight interesting insights adds more weight to an important point.
6. Use customized screenshots instead of stock images
As a general rule, the more unique you can make your visual elements, the better your presentation will be. Even though stock images may be appealing because of convenience, they limit your presentation’s impact.
A recent study showed that imagery can affect a person’s mood without the person even being aware. This means that inserting more vivid pictures in a presentation will have a greater impact on the viewer.
Take matters into your own hands with Snagit, which allows you to customize screen captures and images to enhance your presentation.
For instance, you can use the blur tool to focus the audience’s attention on what you want them to see. Remove distraction from the equation by blurring personally identifiable information. You can also remove image backgrounds that might clash with your presentation.
What if I need to share the slides with people who won’t attend the presentation?
Sometimes you need to share your slides with people who won’t be able to attend your presentation. Or, maybe you want to share them with people who attended so they can review them later.
If you don’t include all kinds of text and context on your slides, how will they know what you were talking about?
There are a couple of ways to deal with this.
1. Use the notes feature
PowerPoint allows you to put notes on each slide that people can read as they view your slides. The notes can also print with your deck if they decide to print it out for later viewing. You can put in whatever context is necessary so they can get everything they need out of your presentation.
2. Make a video
This is my favorite option. Rather than just following up with the slides, why not take a little extra time and record your presentation? It’s a great way to ensure your audience can understand everything they need to — whether they attended or not!
Plus, it is WAY easier than you might think.
Snagit makes it simple to record your screen and microphone as you go through your presentation. You can even add your webcam for an extra bit of personality.
Your audience will appreciate the extra effort and — as a bonus — you’ll be ready to send it out the next time you present, as well!
How to make interesting slides? Ditch your boring presentation with images and video!
We’ve all had to sit through boring PowerPoint presentations. The topic may be great, but endless slides of text are enough to make even the most exciting presentation seem like a real snoozer.
But you can do better. By embracing images and video, you can create memorable presentations that captivate your audience and leave them wanting more.
While not every presentation can be riveting, boring presentations usually boil down to two things: 1) Too much text on the slides and, 2) not enough visuals and videos.
You can add a lot of interest to your presentation by using more images and videos.
Yes! It’s quite easy to add a video to PowerPoint slides.
1. Select the slide where you want to add a video.
2. Click Insert > Video > Movie from File
Try breaking up information over multiple slides to avoid too much text at once. More importantly, use more images.