So much in the world of business takes place online that it is often easy to underestimate the continued importance of face to face presentation skills. The use of market-leading software extends further than just the office too, and an excellent presentation can make all the difference whether at work, college or anywhere else that benefits from a manageable share of information.
Crucially, there is such a thing as a poor presentation. First off, you never want to waste your own time or that of the audience – everyone present should come out of a presentation better-informed and raring to go. If the goal is to impart information, then they need to receive it in a manageable and memorable way. PowerPoint remains the de facto software for the delivery of such presentations, and the following tips will enable any presentation-giver to make the most of the time that they have with their audience.
1. Style Matters
You may not be the world’s best graphic designer, but it is important to add snap and style to your presentations – and PowerPoint makes this relatively easy. The last thing you need is for the attention of your attendees to wander elsewhere, and eye-catching slides will ensure that you retain their focus for the duration. It is also essential to keep the same kind of style throughout. The goal of an effective presentation is to impart one message or smaller but connected ones, and your design should reflect the fact that each point is part of an overall plan.
2. Show as Much as You Can
When you have gone to the trouble to style your slides and make them look good, you need to leverage those attention levels to deliver your message. The whole point of a digital presentation is to alleviate the need for more talking around each point, and if you can present some information visually rather than saying it, it will lead to better results overall.
3. Infographics are a Hugely Effective Tool
If you spend any time online in any context, then you have probably come across infographics. They are a favourite tool of marketers and often represent a massively effective means to convey information in a digestible format. They also have a part to play in presentations, especially if numbers play a big part. They also represent a direct upgrade on information that you might otherwise present as bullet points.
4. Expand on Bullet Points
While infographics may be superior in many cases, bullet points still have a part to play, and PowerPoint itself will often encourage their usage. If you must use them, then make the most of them on each slide. Present the bullets on one side of a slide and use the rest of the space to illustrate or expand on them. If you have too much to say and run out of space, don’t be afraid to split each point into a separate slide.
5. Consider the Size of the Audience
When you design your PowerPoint presentation, you have the best view in the house as you’re often just a few inches away from your monitor. That’s great for you, but you need to think about where your audience sits and their viewing angle. Use a suitably large font so that everyone can see the text clearly, and consider colour schemes that enable the text to stand out.
6. Use Font Choices for Engagement
Your audience is more likely to respond to engaging fonts, and they are an oft-overlooked tool in the design of a presentation. There are some fonts that you should avoid at all costs as they are largely unreadable, and default fonts often do just what you want. They are readable, familiar and engaging, so don’t feel that you have to stray too far from the likes of Times New Roman, Calibri and Verdana.
7. Create Visuals that Pop
Images and photographs should be used in your presentation wherever they are relevant and useful, and you should take advantage of their role in any presentation to make a difference. If you’re not a designer, your hand-drawn graphics will probably not look the best, but if you can get your hands on stock photos, either free or paid, it is easy enough to manipulate them to enhance your message.
8. Bold Colours Make a Statement
Colour is another key tool in any presentation, and you should go as bright and bold as possible. You might face some constraints, especially in business, as your company colours will play a part whether you like it or not. However, strong colours and the effective use of them throughout will engage your audience and encourage them both to pay attention to your message and also remember everything they have seen.
9. Adjust Your Design to Suit the Purpose
An important consideration is to tailor everything we cover here towards the goal of your presentation. You should know what this is before you even create the title slide, and it can often be the case that you seek to funnel your audience towards a specific action. If presenting on a topic that ultimately builds toward selling a product, ensure that the sales intent plays a part in every slide. If your goal is to train your audience, design the slides in a way that viewers will take information on board and know how to put it into practice.
10. Develop a Working Knowledge of Design Trends
Again, you do not have to be a designer to make a great-looking presentation, and a working knowledge of what works is always handy. Websites are a great way to see what works and you can use what they do for your presentations. Like you, these websites have a goal, and the best ones use design to achieve them. Keep an eye on fonts, layouts, and how you can emulate different pages across your slides to make the most impressive presentations possible.