As a presenter you want your audience's attention on you. It's your presentation after all.
But you also want to build understanding and belief in your message. And good visual material helps you do just that. Note that it helps you to do that.
You still need solid workable objectives and speaker technique! At the first mention of visual materials most presenters revert to PowerPoint® and incessant bullet points. That's an issue with your audiences. PowerPoint presentation skills are needed here.
But there is an alternative approach. An approach that emphasises design and content. An approach that gets to the heart of the message you and your audience want.That alternative approach is the one that accounts for some simple presentation design choices.
Themes. Most of us will revert to PowerPoint or Keynote when we build our presentation deck. But that doesn't mean we should use one of their pre-built themes. Pre-built themes show little imagination. The same theme might even be used by members of your audience. That is embarrassing. Aim to design your own theme, with your own style. Alternatively you can always revert to your corporate theme…albeit they can also be a bit constrained.
Large Photographs. Most if not all presentations will benefit from large photographs and images with plenty of impact. Try to source pictures that are suitably big and allow for projection when you are presenting.If you can't take your own pictures there are plenty of stock photograph businesses online with either free or low-priced stock photographs for sale. Take advantage and include some in your next presentation. That's one presentation design choice you can't afford to ignore.
Powerful Colours. Aim to use strong colours in your presentation. Again there are many online sites that can help you as you build a colour theme or a colour palette. Try them out as it's really worthwhile building up some colours that match and provide contrast in your next presentation.
Simple. You should try to keep your slides simple…with plenty of space, either white or coloured background. Don't try to make your slides too busy. Yes, you want them to work for you. But your audience wants to hear from you and listen to your message.
Minimise the Text. Clear out all the old bullet lists and the bullet points. They really don't work when you are giving a presentation. Minimise the resulting text to a quote, a number or a statistic. That's really all you need. Make the text really big so that your audience can read your presentation slide.
Beware of PowerPoint Transitions. PowerPoint transitions can work…sometimes. They are really effective with graphs in your presentation…helping you to make a series of points about your graph as it builds, for example. Where they don't work, is for text, text boxes or images flying in or out of the slide. Be careful with them in your presentation.
Use Charts. On the subject of charts, try to use them when they help you to tell your story or hit your points. Be alert to information overload with any graph or figure that you use in your presentation. And try to use a graph format that works with the information you are showing in the presentation.
Pick a Font and Font Size. Your choice of font and font size for your presentation might well be made for you by your corporate guidelines. That's the case with many corporate presentations. If that's the case, just make sure that you restrict your choice of fonts to one or two in any single presentation. Any more and it all starts to look a bit messy. Use a font that's readable when your slide presentation is projected onto a screen. That will probably be a sans-serif font. In terms of font size, a size 30 font is likely to be readable from a distance…any smaller and your audience might struggle. This is another presentation design choice that you can't afford to overlook.
Get Organised. Your presentation needs a good beginning, a good middle and a good end. So your presentation slides should mirror that approach. Aim to build more structure and order into your slide deck. You might want to use the PowerPoint slide sorter view to help you see the running order of your slides. Be picky and selective about this running order. Question the place and position of every slide. Then practise each slide and slide transition. If it doesn't work in practice, it won't work when you give your presentation.
Remember the Video and Audio. Video and audio files resonate strongly with a presentation audience. You can use them in your introduction, your conclusion and the middle of your presentation. Multimedia helps you to make a point or two. It helps you to illustrate a case study or assist an audience's understanding of the point you are making. Try to keep the multimedia relevant, timely and short in length. And it goes without saying that the quality must be high.
Managing your presentation visuals is critical. You want to use your work again and again–when needed. But you also want to add to your content, borrow from your colleagues or introduce new ideas quickly and easily.
With the right presentation design choices, this presentation slide approach should help you.
You can always discuss how more effective presentation design management can help your audiences.
"What could be delivered on PowerPoint could not necessarily be delivered on Earth."
Sir William Patey