Do you relish the opportunity to share your expertise in front of an audience, PowerPoint at the ready? Love or hate them, you can make nice with presentations. Here’s how.
Let’s go back to your days in the science classroom, mixing a little of this chemical with a little of that one, kicking back and waiting to see what happens in your beaker. Okay, if your science teachers were anything like ours, you didn’t get to play mad scientist much in class; all the fun stuff that would blow things up was kept on lock down. But that mindset of openness and experimentation is what we want you to tap into before crafting your next presentation.
A big part of your PowerPoint is the visual component, so we think it is important to start there when creating your presentation. People remember what you say more often when visuals are included, but only when you are picky and use visuals that really connect with your thought or idea. This goes for any charts and graphs too. Don’t get me wrong, we love some bar graphs and pie charts, but traditional visualizations don’t stick in your viewer’s mind as well. Opt for something a bit more creative, and your point will make itself.
How you use color and fonts is also a big deal for your presentation. Colors evoke different feelings, whether people realize it or not. So if you want a livelier feel, opt for warm tones ranging from yellow to red. To convey a relaxed vibe, select blues and greens which people translate as easy going and trustworthy. Once you choose a color scheme, it’s time to think fonts. Stick with one, two max, and be sure that they play nice together on the slide. Remember to be consistent with your usage of both color and font, wildly jumping from one color to another or using multiple fonts on a page will only blur your message. Last, but not least, don’t be afraid of a little white space. Graphically it is a simple and easy way to emphasize your point without layering on a bunch of bells and whistles.
Keep it simple, sweetie (we changed that last bit, because we want you to like us!). Your presentation’s visuals should be straightforward and easy to follow. And if they don’t convey your point to your audience in three seconds or less, you need to rethink that graphic. No that doesn’t mean you should shy away from injecting a little drama into your presentation slides, just that it is important to balance your image and your type to create maximum impact.
A Few Words About Words
Our focus here has been on the visuals of your presentations, but we would be neglectful if we didn’t say a little bit about the text in your slideshow. You want to be concise above all. Yes, the fewer words on your slides, the more you will have to talk, but this is a presentation, not a read-in. Your audience is there to hear you. Truthfully, less text is more engaging anyway. Your presentation should feature only a few points per slide (no bullet points!) and try to minimize your total number of slides.