In today’s fast-paced and dynamic environment, clarity and influence of communication are the key to achieving your objectives. Whether you are a student or an executive or even trying to raise funds for charitable work you need to put together coherent and lucid arguments that keep your audience engaged and appreciate your point of view. It can be very helpful for arguments to be presented with an audio-visual aid like a PowerPoint presentation, and in fact, increasingly audiences expect you to come prepared with one so that they can easily and quickly comprehend the salient points. While the content and structure of every presentation will differ there are certain common design and structural principles that are vital to making great presentations.
You Are the Star So Keep the Presentation Simple
Never forget that the audience is there to hear your point of view and not to see your presentation. Thus, the presentation is as best a tool to make your argument more impactful. The benefit of PowerPoint presentations is that you can keep on flipping back and forth so that the audience does not lose track of vital issues. Too many presenters make the mistake of letting the slides become the star and content to be merely reading out the matter. This is easily the best way of derailing your presentation. Make it a point to keep the slides extremely simple and to the point and let them act as points of reference for you to make the presentation.
Limit the Amount of Text and Clutter
Make sure that your slides contain text matter that is simple and concise. Stick to bulleted points, preferably one-liners. Do not include superfluous content in the form of text, charts or images as the audience can very easily get distracted – the lesser the clutter, the better the communication. See if you need to have any text at all on some slides – maybe a chart or a visual would work better to focus the attention of the audience on the point you are trying to make. It may be worthwhile preparing some notes that have more detailed explanations that you could distribute to the audience to take away instead of copies of the presentation that are invariably requested but which, have limited value due to their brevity.
Use Special Effects Judiciously
Special effects such as slide transitions and animations should be treated as very special and used extremely sparingly. Remember that these used indiscriminately can be very distracting to the audience and used repeatedly can even make the audience yawn. Remember in the matter of special effects; less is more. Even when you use animations or transitions make certain that these are smartly executed and do whatever they do at a fast clip; there’s nothing as tedious as a slow wipe right to left when all that the audience and you want is to get to the next discussion point.
Employ Visual Images That Are Relevant and of High-Quality
The nature of the topic will decide the sort of images that you would like to use. While a certain amount of humor can work wonders to lighten the mood, using it in excess can dilute the presentation considerably. If possible, shoot your own photographs and selectively use high-quality stock photography. The quality of the photographs is important as poor quality images will get blurred when projected onto large screens and look positively dreadful. Avoid using clip art that the audience has possibly seen many times earlier. Pictures of people work far better than that of inanimate objects as the audience can connect with them better.
Make Your Own Templates
Presentations always work far better when the contents are supported by a visual theme that is consistent. The easy way of achieving this is to use PowerPoint templates but the trouble is most people tend to stick to the few common ones making the presentations look stale even when the actual contents may be quite interesting. It helps greatly if you take the time to develop your very own templates or purchase the ones developed by professionals from online platforms.
It is a guest post by James Madison, he is a trainer in public speaking skills. He frequently consults for leading corporates that require improvement in the presentation skills of their executives. He has also developed a number of unique PowerPoint templates for various commercial sectors that are available online.