If the mantra in real estate is location, location, location, the PowerPoint mantra must be consistency, consistency, consistency. An extremely common flaw, easily fixable, is the creator of the PowerPoint using a mishmash of colors, fonts images, backgrounds, etc. Besides the lack of visual appeal, it looks unprofessional and as if it was created by multiple people who don’t communicate.
Let’s get one thing straight – consistency does not mean lack of creativity. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can be both creative and consistent. The consistency we are talking about here is the unintentional inconsistency, not the intentional creative flair. These unintentional inconsistencies create noise, draw the audience to focus on the wrong things, and just look unprofessional. Focus on the following areas when reviewing your work and you should be good to go, incorporating creativity and keeping things consistent.
- Fonts – Yes, there are hundreds of fonts available in MS Office. But, guess what – you don’t have to use all of them. Stick to two or three at most and use them consistently throughout, not just on a whim. Too many fonts look sloppy and serve only as a distraction. Also, keep your fonts simple and legible. No need for wingdings – I guarantee your point will get lost!
- Imagery – Choose images that are similar in style and design. (of course, make sure they are professional-looking in the first place). This will improve the professional look of the overall PowerPoint. For instance, if you are using an animation of a business executive on slide three, find a similar-looking animation for slide four – don’t insert a photograph as a stock image.
- Colors – There are seven colors in the rainbow. Mix them together and the combinations are endless. I know it’s tempting, Picasso, but restrain yourself to a consistent color scheme throughout. Again, it keeps up the professionalism of the overall work and does not distract from the points you are trying to get across.
- Format – This refers to everything from headers and footers to bullets and background templates. Very often in a corporate setting, John has a PowerPoint to create and he takes pieces from Bob, others from Sue, a bit from the corporate overview presentation, etc. We all have our individual styles, so put this together and wow, what a mess. Spend the time formatting fonts, images, bullets, colors, text size, etc., until it’s all consistent.
These key areas should serve as a checklist to help improve the professional look of your presentations moving forward. Just remember the mantra – consistency, consistency, consistency, and you will remove distraction, allowing your audience to focus on your key message.