5 Reasons your slide presentations need animation

I remember a time when Powerpoint experts were scathing about animation in slide decks.  They believed they were gimmicky, unnecessary and distracting.

Many business leaders and academics agreed. “The facts are the important thing.” But fortunately things have moved on, today we understand that animation is a powerful tool to help engage an audience and ensure your content is remembered.

Here are five key reasons why you should use movement – plus some guidance on how to – and how not to.


Transitions between similar slides or topics may not be noticed

If you are trying to show change, particularly if you have a strictly structured slide template, the important change may pass unnoticed by some. Transitions can be used to emphasise changes in content or topic.

More emphatic animations can be used for key section changes, while gentler ones can indicate progress within chapters.


Movement captures attention

As animals we’re hard wired to spot movement. It’s an evolutionary trait that’s vital to both hunter and hunted. So, movement on a screen immediately stands out against static material. Studies suggest that it may also increase retention and recall as it reinforces learning.



Used judiciously, animated content can really help establish your key point in a viewer’s memory. Obviously you or your supplier need to put a bit of work in to ensure that your impact point has plenty of ‘Wow’ factor.

Like a movie, it’s all about pace. A quiet narrative – then a build up, then a memorable climax, then resolve to a steady finish. You don’t always need to end on a bang – but it can help!



Demonstrate dynamic content

Static slides are not good at conveying dynamic data, such as showing change over time, or the result of two actions combining or conflicting.

Use animation to show those changes. Let your data build to visually show outcomes. If results are dramatic- it’s time to use a bit of drama.



It’s the age of the 6 second ad

Maybe our attention span is shorter, but one great product of fast online culture has been creative talent’s ability to craft wonderful gems of communications around 6 seconds long. It began with interstitial ads getting a message over fast, without alienating viewers. Soon they were appearing in gaming, and bumper ads on YouTube and TV sponsorship.

With some clever creative animation, think what 6 seconds could do in your presentation?


… and time to stand alone

So far we’ve looked at animation in speaker-support presentations. But what about when the speaker is not there?

A Powerpoint style presentation can easily be turned into a stand-alone video for social media or website use – or perhaps a kiosk system. Without the speaker though, it requires something to tie the whole together. Of course you can use a voice over, but this is not necessarily ideal, or even possible in cases when audio is not available.

This is where animation can tie the slides together. Carefully considered transitions and subtle movement creates a narrative flow that engages the viewer.

A speaker support presentation turned into a stand-alone video

Animation and transitions retain attention when used to support an otherwise static blog post.