Why is there so much junk on PowerPoint slides?
Olivia at Speaking about Presenting asks the question, "what would you like to see in PowerPoint slide design in 2009?" This is aimed at an audience already on the better presentation bandwagon. But I still see a lot of basic mistakes in PowerPoint design. So before talking about what I'd like to see in PowerPoint slide design is a discussion of what needs to come off of PowerPoint slides.
There is a direct correlation between the amount of unnecessary junk on the slides and the boredom of the audience. This isn't cause and effect, they both result from the presenter not really understanding the needs of the audience.
So take some time to figure what the audience needs are and get rid of the following elements from your slides.
Company Logo. The audience does not need a reminder of whom you work for on every slide, especially if you all work for the same company.
Animated Logo. One company I worked for had an animated logo in the top left corner of their standard template. Every 30 seconds the logo would spin around and explode in a fountain of color. I can only imagine what went though the mind of the audience, "I think I might buy . . . whoooaaa look at the pretty colors . . . what was I thinking?"
Page numbers. Page numbers are for books and documents. There is absolutely no reason the audience needs to know that a particular slide is number 42 of 168. Unless you plan on giving the audience a printed version of the presentation as a document . But don't do that either. If you must, print it with the page numbers and present it without.
Document control information. I've seen copyright notices, trademarks, file names and revision numbers (e.g. Company.Training.Pres ver. 2.00.1.15) appear in slide footers more than once. Again, this might be appropriate if you print them (please don't), but take them off your presentation. The audience does not need to see these.
Standard Templates. All of the standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates stink. Horribly. The ones that aren't completely awful are so overused that they've become a cliche. Don't use any of them. It is possible to get a well designed, thoughtful and useful template. But be careful, some designers think putting an animated logo on every slide is a good idea.
Bullet Points. Don't get me started on bullet points.
All of these things have one thing in common: they don't serve the needs of the audience. Once you take all of that junk out of your presentation, you can keep a professional, brand oriented appearance using the tips in part 2.