The best ideas can be let down by the worst presentations.
How you communicate your ideas is imperative to making a meaningful impression on your audience.
To get you started, we’ve comprised a list of essential tips to make sure your voice is heard.
Don’t get too hung up on what your presentation will look like before you’ve decided what you’re trying to say. Your message is the most important part of the presentation, and you need to make sure that it’s understood. Write down the points you want to get across – and then cut them down to the very essentials. A good test of whether your message is concise enough is the 15 second rule – try to summarise your idea in 15 words, if you can’t rewrite it and try again...
Make sure your presentation is consistent in message and design, it should all look and sound like the same presentation. Slides that look too different, or are written in different fonts or formality styles, can be jarring and interrupt the flow of your presentation.
Make sure your presentation is consistent by using the same font/s and the same colour scheme throughout. You can achieve this with ready-made design templates, but it’s always nice to see some original design that reflects the work you are presenting. Little touches like title slides help to create consistency and make your presentation easier to follow.
Images are essential in a visual presentation; however, any old images won’t do. Try to use high quality images that stand out on the screen – stretched out and pixelated photos lose their impact, and look unprofessional.
If you’re stuck for appropriate images for your presentation, try to use graphics that relate to your point. Whether it’s a funny joke or a metaphor, using an accompanying image can help what you’re saying resonate in your audience’s mind.
If you have the time, try to recreate graphs and tables using the same fonts and colours you have chosen for the rest of the presentation. It makes them more readable and adds to your presentation’s consistent look.
(3b: Don’t go crazy with transitions and effects. Sure, your audience will remember your presentation for the rest of the day – but that’s mostly because of the inevitable headache you’ve given them.)
Create an outline of your message so you know it flows well; you need to tell a continuous story will your slides and that story needs to make sense.
You need to put yourself in the audience’s shoes and ask yourself: is this easy to understand? Does this seem boring? Ask someone you trust to give you feedback on your presentation, in case there’s anything you might have missed.
(4b: when you’re passionate about something, it shows. Don’t be afraid to connect with your audience on an emotional level.)
The 10-20-30 rule, by Guy Kawasaki, insists that a presentation should have no more than 10 slide, last no longer than 20 minutes, and have text no smaller than font size 30. The text in your presentation shouldn’t be overwhelming and it’s important to push the most important information – don’t waffle on. If you have a lot to say, try and use bullet points to break up the information.
Remember, less is more.
Go forth and create! (And Good Luck!)