When you strip presentations down to their basics, the endgame is communication… pure and simple. The glitz & glam, cool graphics and nice colours are just tools to help you communicate. This means that there must be a message you want to convey to the people listening. Never forget this.
Your presentation defines how this message will be communicated. How do you want this message to be seen or heard? How should this message be received? These are some of the questions that need to be answered when creating your presentation slides.
In this piece, we intend to share a few tips to help you create presentation slides that help you drive your point(s) into the hearts of your audience.
- Define what you want to say
What exactly do I/we want the audience to leave the presentation with? Take a pen and a paper and answer this question. Be as detailed as you can. Then, review it; keep what’s relevant and remove what’s not. Proceed to organize your message into a professional document- with an intro, main objectives, action points and an ending.
- Keep your slides simple.
This cannot be overstated. You do not want your slides to distract your audience and take away from their experience AT ALL. Resist the temptation to impress the audience… that is not your goal. Focus on communicating. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative, just don’t overdo it.
Avoid using conflicting colours, let there be a blend. You want something that’s easy on the eyes and not painful to see; simple but not bland. There are a few free tools on the web that can help with colour combinations.
When it comes to fonts, use those best suited for professional presentations… you can never go wrong with Helvetica. Open Sans and Roboto are great too. By the way, Comic Sans is a no-no! The name should tell you what it’s good for. Also, stick to just 2 different fonts- a bold one for headings, a thin one for the body.
Your slides are for power POINTS (Now you know why Microsoft named their presentation app POWERPOINT, yes?). The idea is for you to put POINTS that guide the flow of your presentation. You didn’t gather people to just watch you read to them, you could’ve just emailed them the document. You want to be able to connect with them.
More videos charts and pictures, fewer words. These command attention and engage the minds of your audience.
When you’re done with the design and layout, have 2 or 3 trusted people review it for you. Hey, 2/3 pairs of eyes are better than 1!
- Practice, practice… practice!
This helps you to build confidence and establish a flow. It also enables you to spend more time making eye contact and connecting with your audience, which is essential for communication.
- Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!
You’re not Mohammed Ali, but you want to be able to think on your feet like him. Be prepared to “kill it” regardless of any obstacles that might arise. Have a plan B, in case plan A goes south. What happens if the WiFi has issues or if the projector has brain fog? Prepare!
- You’ve got this!
Remember that your audience gathered to hear YOU… give it your best