How to Effectively Use Animations in Presentations

About Presentation Design Pro

My name is Amy, and I am a freelance presentation designer, working in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. My passion is creating branded presentations that represent you as a trusted professional in your industry, strengthen your brand in the marketplace, and engage your audience with an elevated experience that will convert and make them remember you for all the right reasons.

Ready to get started? Book a free consultation with me today. I look forward to talking to you

Animations are a fun way to add some excitement to a presentation. Used well, they can really drive home the significance of a slide and take your presentation to another level. Used gratuitously, they can be a distraction and make your presentation look unprofessional.

Depending on the information you’re covering on a slide and in your overall presentation, here are some ways to use animations and some things to avoid.

The Good

The reason animations can be so effective is they help you to tell your audience a story. I believe storytelling is the best way to structure a presentation (you can read more about that here). Take your audience on a journey through the information you are presenting. For instance, if you think of your presentation as a movie, every scene isn’t an action scene. Action scenes are used sparingly to drive a story forward and to keep the audience interested.

The same goes for animations in a slide deck. They increase the audience’s attention and add interest to what otherwise might be a series of flat slides. However, what is even better about animations, is they can make a slide with dense or complicated information both visually memorable and easier to understand. Like an action scene, they can both simplify and dramatize the content.

For instance, you might have a graph showing the growth of a business over time, and then the addition of a new product makes sales skyrocket. Add an animation showing the graph with a line of slowly increasing growth, then a symbol of the new product appears on the graph, and the line skyrockets at a much quicker pace. Something as simple as that can really drive the point of the slide home, grabbing your audiences’ attention in an effective way that contributes to their understanding of the information you are presenting.

The Bad

On the flip side, using too many animations, or animating just for the sake of including them, can become distracting, make your audience remember the wrong parts of your presentation, or even just make your audience tune out due to overwhelm. Animations that don’t highlight your key information are just a distraction from your message.

For example, don’t use page transition animations unless they help visualize your information. Every page closing and appearing in a different way does nothing but make your presentation appear amateurish.

Another tip… don’t animate anything that isn’t key to your presentation goals. For instance, if your presentation is about a new service you are launching, and you’re looking for investors, but you add animations to the information about your competition, and your financial projections are a dense page of numbers, you have highlighted the wrong information. Your audience may walk away from your presentation remembering your competitors and not why they should invest in YOUR business.

Finally, if you think of animations as a way to take a presentation from a one-dimensional experience to an animated story, you will use animations more wisely than using them just because they are an available feature in your software.

Types of Animations

PowerPoint and other presentation software have several animation features you can choose from. Again, I recommend using these sparingly and only to drive your message home with your audience.

  • Entrance and exit animation effects for text and images
  • Motion effects for text and images
  • Timing effects
  • Sound effects
  • Embedded videos

So to sum it all up, when used wisely, animation features and effects can really give your presentation added dimension. Animations can help you add drama to the story you are telling with your slides. It can also increase your audiences’ attention, and it can make the information you are presenting easier to understand and remember.

If you would like help designing a presentation that has the perfect amount of animation effects, please contact me. I would be happy to design a presentation for you that will enhance your message rather than distract from it.