Presentations have been part of our life since kindergarten. They have the power to create a long-lasting experience, making it all the more nerve-wracking for a presenter.
When presenting to your co-workers, clients, shareholders and managers, giving a report, pitch an idea, project, or strategy - you must get everything right. From designs to fonts to special effects - it’s a rollercoaster. Just having content and numbers won't cut it.
I’ve been in the presentation business for quite some time now. I understand how crucial it is to perfect it. Despite spending hours on the presentation, if the final draft feels like it’s lacking something your audience will pick up on it straight away.
Here are my four key things to keep in mind when creating a rounded, complete, and memorable (for the right reasons!) presentation:
Get Your Fonts Right
While it may be tempting to use one of those fancy fonts, stick to Ariel or Calibri or similar sans serif contemporary font. The less 'cluttered' your font looks, the easier it will be to read and be memorable. Be mindful of the size as well - not less than 20pt. Maintain the same font size and theme throughout, diverting only for subheadings and titles. If you don’t have a single thread to follow throughout, label each screen. If you want to highlight a word, write it in the bold version of the same font you are using.
Be Sure of The Font Colour
Your screen doesn’t need to look like a rainbow. Stick to safe, dark colours. Vibrant shades do not appear clearly on the screen and can be difficult to read from different angles. Using a dark hue, with a contrasting light backdrop is key.
You don’t need colourful words to make an impact. Your content should take care of that. If you are using infographics/flowcharts - be careful of the font colour and size.
Start With A Good Design
With the design, you need to maintain some longstanding design principles. Use the same form of bullet throughout (if applicable - try and find alternatives to bullet points if possible), use the same font across slides, avoid large and verbose sentences, add large and impactful images, and having a simple, yet common theme throughout are some vital rules to be followed. Be sure to tone down the transition effects. Adding too many of those will only make your presentation less impactful.
Less Is More
Its human nature to zone out when confronted with too much text. If you want your audience to pay attention, absorb the information and engage in your topic, remember to keep text, information, graphs etc to a minimum per slide. You want your audience to be listening to your points and not blocking you out so they can concentrate on reading the fine print. Also keep images to a minimum per slide. A busy slide can confuse or turn viewers off and tempt them to reach for their phones. It's not you and your important presentation... it is human nature.
Identify your audience before you create the presentation, and plan it accordingly. Never slack on research and double-check your grammar and punctuation. Once created, tweak your script and do a test presentation in front of a colleague/friend or in front of the mirror to perfect it.
You have the chance to give your audience an entertaining and informative audio-visual experience, be sure to make it a memorable one.