Imagine having to present 70 slides to a group of uninterested people who are busy in their phones, yawning or just waiting for you to finish. Terrifying, isn’t it? As per a study, over 4 out of 5 professionals said that they shifted their focus away from the presenter during the last presentation they attended.

That’s not surprising because retaining the audience’s attention while presenting is not an easy task. If your presentation is not engaging and interactive enough, people are bound to lose interest.

So, how do create a presentation that captivates your audience and makes them want to listen to you? By designing a creative and engaging one. Here are six design tips that will set you up for a stellar presentation.

Clean and simple layout

Choosing a clean and simple layout does not mean you go with the first default template you see on PowerPoint. Let’s face it – all these templates have been done to death.

Go the extra mile and create your presentation from scratch. Make sure you opt for a clean and uncomplicated layout that helps you communicate the message effectively.

The trick is to create a visual hierarchy and place the elements on the slide such that there is a balance in the messaging. Play with the size, contrast, and proximity of elements to establish the flow of information.

Avoid being wordy

One of the biggest mistakes people make while creating presentations is making them wordy and text-heavy. Presentation slides are not the place for long sentences. You should not incorporate so much text that you end up reading out the slides while presenting.

Give people a reason to listen to you. How do you do that? By limiting the text you include. Instead of sentences or bullet points, aim to devote one idea to one slide.

That way, your slides are easier to digest and focus on the core message, giving you ample scope to elaborate and make your point while delivering the presentation.

Include relevant and distinct images

Considering that you’re limiting the number of words on your slides, what’s important is using enticing imagery that tells a story, evokes emotion and supports your point.

The image needs to be relevant while complementing the content on your slide as opposed to being a source of distraction.

While you can pick visuals from a stock photo library, it’s also a good idea to use photo editing software to customize the image and make it more suited for your presentation. For example, you can choose to crop a certain section, add an overlay or change the color contrast.

Insert GIFs and memes

Why restrict yourself to static imagery?

Inserting relevant GIFs and memes (sparingly) is an effective way to break the monotony, and deliver your message while adding humor.

The best part about this tactic is that they perfectly communicate an emotion or elicit a reaction, making the presentation more relatable and enjoyable.

You can find some of the most popular GIFs and memes on Giphy, Imgur and Meme Generators.

Use timelines and charts

While stock photography and GIFs are an option, there are instances when you should consider using original graphics such as timelines, charts, and graphs to illustrate the information.

This helps you highlight key points and convey information seamlessly without overwhelming the audience.

Pick the right colors

Colors are an important design element and picking the right ones can add life to your presentation.

Apart from making your slides look good, you need to also focus on the readability factor which means pairing colors that enhance your presentation while making it easy to consume. For example, pair a dark background with light text or vice-versa.

Another trick is to use colors to evoke specific emotions. For instance, using red to convey urgency, blue for tranquility, green for security, etc.

It’s also a good idea to design the presentation in line with your brand colors to maintain consistency.

When your slides are well-designed, you’re bound to be more confident about delivering a good presentation. So, abide by these smart design tips to create slides that truly engage and captivate your audience.

Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter

Presentations stock photo by nd3000/Shutterstock