Perception and PowerPoint Presentation Design

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Perception Perception is a funny thing.  When we look at a picture, I may see one thing while you see something completely different.  Take this picture for example.  Do you see two faces or do you see a vase/chalice?  It's an interesting phenomenon of the brain and it applies to presentations, especially presentation design.

Your audience may perceive you in many different ways.  Some may find you interesting, while others may be fighting to keep their eyelids open.  Regardless of those audience members who perceive you positively, those who were bored to tears will attribute their perception of your presentation to who you are as a person in general.  Boring slides = Boring Person.  That's the danger of perception. 

If your slides are full of text, bullet points, and lacking color and images, they WILL be boring.  If your audience sees boring slides, many (if not all) will perceive you in different ways.  Some may find you unoriginal, boring, bland, lazy, pretentious, or to put it bluntly, dumb.  Let me explain.

Could this be running through your audience's collective minds?

  • He created text heavy slides because he needed a script and doesn't really know what he's talking about
  • She created slides with no images because she doesn't have an eye for beauty
  • He created text heavy slides because he was too lazy to create slides I would enjoy
  • She created black and white slides with standard fonts because she is simply a bland person
  • He created slides strictly within the template because he's too afraid to be bold and take chances
  • She created terrible slides because she doesn't respect us care about our time

Your slides are a reflection of you.  Granted, you may be able to physically deliver a whopping presentation in spite of your boring slides, but without a doubt those slides will make your presentation less enjoyable than it could have been.  That's a shame because with the state of presentations today, even a few hours spent on your presentation design will give you an advantage over your competition. 

Avoid leaving their perception up for interpretation.  Make sure they keep a positive perception by embracing your slides.  Make it evident that you spent time on them.  Make it evident that you don't need text heavy slides because you know what you're talking about.  You can't completely control your audience's perceptions, but you can steer them in the right direction!

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