Yes. But, as with most presentation advice, there are limitations.
Animation should aid, not hinder, your audience’s understanding of your presentation. Animation doesn’t work when it’s distracting. Flashy animations such as ‘Checkerboard’, ‘Boomerang’, or ‘Bounce’ just serve to irritate the audience and take their attention away from your message. The truth is that if you’re attempting to make your presentation interesting by using crazy animations (or ClipArt), you’ve already failed.
However, when used effectively, animation can significantly improve audience engagement and recall levels.
The most useful thing you can do with PowerPoint animation is use it to build your slide content gradually. Don’t throw all of your information on a slide in one go; your audience will not be able to absorb all of your content. Introduce it bit by bit in a sequence that helps you tell your story. Not only does this help your audience to absorb each point by reducing the cognitive load, but it also means that they will stay engaged as they want to find out what happens next. We refer to this as Visual Cognitive Dissonance and it is a technique we use in all of our presentations.
If you only use three animations, make sure they’re these: Fade In, Fade Out, and Motion Path animations. You can build an entire presentation – and make it effective – using just these three animations. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our PowerPoint animation tutorials.
What you absolutely shouldn’t do with animation is try to ‘jazz up’ your presentation. If it doesn’t help you get your message across, don’t use it.