PowerPoint presentations have been around seemingly forever. Case in point, it\u2019s hard to find someone who doesn\u2019t relate to the feeling of being stuck in a meeting, hostage to someone slowly flipping through slides and reading directly from them. Not only is that scenario an ineffective way to share information, but it\u2019s also a surefire way to put an audience to sleep. And, unfortunately, it\u2019s still a common practice. As an event or meeting planner, you already know the power of drawing in an audience and using compelling elements (especially visual ones) to keep them engaged. So when you set out to design a PowerPoint presentation, you already know more than the average Joe. But I hear questions all the time (even from savvy professionals like yourself) about how to up the ante with digital presentations. So whether you\u2019re using a deck to show off your services to a prospective client, to reveal your vision to an existing client or for some other purpose entirely, I can help. As the founder and CEO of Design Pickle, unlimited graphic design for a monthly flat rate, I\u2019m tapped into achieving goals through powerful design. Allow me to lead you through the steps necessary to producing your most perfect PowerPoint presentation (alliteration, anyone?). Out with the Old Let me start by clarifying something right off the bat. I\u2019m using the term PowerPoint, but I highly advise you leave this old system in the dust. PowerPoint is limited in its functionality, and will end up giving your presentation an outdated look no matter how fancy you try to get with it. Run away, and don\u2019t look back. Instead, get on board with newer, more highly performing software that can hook you up with an impressive look and feel. I like to recommend\u00a0Keynote or Prezi, but there are other options out there that will also fit the bill. Just, please. Do me (and yourself\u2026 and your audience\u2026) a big favor and do not use PowerPoint. Clear and Concise Now that we\u2019ve gotten that out of the way, let\u2019s talk for a minute about the decline of America. Kidding \u2013 well, sort of. Blame it on whoever or whatever you want, but the fact remains that our collective\u00a0average attention span has somehow been reduced to about eight seconds. That\u2019s a very short period of time if you haven\u2019t noticed! With this in mind, your presentation should be as brief as possible. Since you naturally want to retain your most important content, parsing down can be tough for some. One way to start is by creating the presentation with all the information you think it needs, and then once you\u2019re done \u2013 cut it in half. It may seem impossible (and painful) at first, but you\u2019ll find ways to get down to the bare bones. This will only serve to make what\u2019s left even more powerful. The other important factor to keep in mind is how much you put on each slide, in the way of verbiage and images. The rule of thumb I\u2019ve found to be most effective is to limit yourself to one sentence and one idea per slide, maximum. This will hold your audience\u2019s interest, and discourage you from falling prey to reading your slide. Instead, it gives your listeners something visual to look at but doesn\u2019t bog them down with reading material. They\u2019ll be tempted to read whatever is on the screen, so if you limit this, they\u2019ll zero in on what you\u2019re saying. Then it\u2019s your job to naturally and conversationally present the information. And did I mention to do this without reading from the slide? Just double checking. Become a Storyteller I understand that the reason many people read from their decks is because they\u2019re nervous and don\u2019t want to ad lib, for the fear that they will mess something up. But here\u2019s the thing \u2013 you\u2019re going to do better than you think. And even if you flub a couple sentences, people are going to appreciate the fact that you\u2019re actually speaking to them rather than reading at them. If you\u2019re struggling with how to deliver real impact through your presentation, turn to stories. Look to the massively successful\u00a0TED Talks for inspiration on how telling stories throughout a deck can pack a mighty (and memorable) punch. First, don\u2019t tell a story for every slide you have, as this is far too time-consuming and will lessen the appeal of hearing a story. Second, think about your audience. If the people in front of you are C-level executives from a software corporation, they\u2019ll likely be interested in hearing how your event planning will satisfy their technology needs and affect their bottom line. Plan to tell a couple (true) stories along these lines that reinforce the information you\u2019re conveying, and weave them into the presentation at appropriate times. They\u2019ll know you\u2019ve practiced, but you want to appear as off the cuff as possible. Your audience will react more positively if they feel like you\u2019re conversing with them at a cocktail hour. Keep it Real I\u2019m just going to come out and say it: Stock art and stock photos are the worst. I\u2019m well aware of their prevalence, but I also have seen time and again how much they turn people off from websites and marketing collateral. That same girl laughing as she gazes off beyond her computer? Yeah, we\u2019ve all been there. Seen that. It doesn\u2019t tell us anything new, and certainly doesn\u2019t make us feel anything. Unsplash is the best new site I've seen that offers free high-resolution photos you can use for practically anything. Either plan to use pictures from a resource like this or real photos taken of real people (or real landscapes) by a real person. See the theme there? Real is your goal. Consistency is Key Something else you want to remember as you design your presentation is to keep your slides consistent, one to the next. Recruit the same person or team to design your slides so that your brand\u2019s identity will be a constant throughout the presentation. This is something that can be outsourced to an individual, or to a company like mine. At\u00a0Design Pickle, we consider ourselves a secret graphic design weapon to you. We can create compelling digital presentations that retain consistency and project the precise company image you\u2019re seeking. A lack of uniformity looks unprofessional and makes your audience question your credibility. Details Matter Now that you\u2019ve taken care of the rest, it\u2019s time to zoom in to the details of your deck. What will make your presentation noteworthy? For one, use big-ass font sizes. You\u2019re not trying to cram a lot of words onto one slide, after all, so take advantage of the space you have. Bigger means easier for your audience to read, which means they\u2019re more likely to retain your message. Don\u2019t be shy. And second? Let\u2019s talk ratios. The old 4:3 ratio is dead, unless you're presenting on a tube TV at your grandparents\u2019 house. Go with a 16:9 slide ratio (a.k.a. widescreen). It\u2019s just one more detail that will make you look like you know what you\u2019re doing. So there you have it; all the essential tips for designing the perfect PowerPoint Keynote or Prezi presentation. I highly recommend you share this with all of your presenters coming to your event to ensure you have Perfect Presentations all around! Have any questions? You can find me at\u00a0www.designpickle.com. Happy presenting!