Giving a presentation need not be a challenge: Revamp mediocre slides and present with confidence using some basic tools.
Almost every class, meeting, or get-together these days, seems to be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. While this is relatively easy to put together, it takes a little finesse to create a memorable presentation.
* Evaluate your need for a presentation: Not every get-together needs to be accompanied by a presentation. Ever heard of “death by PowerPoint?” Some topics lend themselves to be presented, while others do not.
* Keep it simple: Once you’ve determined your need for a presentation, then develop it as simply as possible. The presentation is there to compliment your message; it is not THE message. Resist the urge to write a lot of text on your slides; as the speaker you will fill in the gaps, so your text should consist of main phrases and keywords.
As you build text in your slides, use a Sans Serif font (Arial, Tahoma, Comic Sans, etc.). This type of font presents better than a Serif font (Times New Roman, Courier, etc.). The reason for this is a Sans Serif font does not have the “tail” on each of the letters, like a Serif font does, so the readability for these fonts on the screen is better.
* One font is enough; if you must use more than one, then try to cap it at three. You may change the fonts when appropriate, e.g. when you need to make a point, or call attention to one item.
* Be smart with colour choices: There are varying shades of every colour, so keep to the same shade every time. Also consider your colour contrast; Use a light coloured text on a dark background, or a dark coloured text on a light background.
* Stick to the same style of clip art and graphics: Your graphics should enhance and compliment your message, so if it doesn’t need to be in there, take it out. Too much can be overwhelming.
* Use simple charts and graphs: Have you ever been to a meeting where the presenter showed a graph that looked like spaghetti, and were you able to accurately interpret the graph? Enough said.
* Use natural transitions: Some transitions are better for viewing and reading than others. Text that drops from the top, or comes in from the left, are more natural transitions and easier to read.
Use minimal transitions or animations through your presentation; Too many twirling graphics and flying text makes your audience dizzy and affects readability.
* Your content, that is the topic; should have a clear purpose. Keep the content to a small niche, rather than a broad subject. Presenting on Diabetes for example,may be a bit too much to handle. Consider breaking the topic into a sub-topic such as Managing Diabetes with Diet.
* Do your research, even if you are the expert: We live in a world of change. New practices are developed and new sciences are discovered everyday. Make sure you present the most current information.
* As the speaker; know your material and practice a lot. You will feel more comfortable when speaking in front of your audience and they will know the difference.
By applying these tips you will create a more memorable presentation. However these tips are not exclusive to PowerPoint. Whether you’re using PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, or Keynote; apply these tips and you will be a speaking guru.