Improve Your Presentation in Thirty Minutes
You’ve got a presentation tomorrow, and you’ve just looked at your slides and realised they look terrible. You really want to look credible and create a great impression, but you really don’t have time to start over, or engage with a presentation designer. So what methods can you use to improve your slide deck when you only have a very limited amount of time?
In any presentation, the rationale for using PowerPoint is to display information, and to help convey information in a simplified way. Too often our PowerPoint presentations appear too complicated and end up giving the audience data overload. Ultimately you want your presentation to be clear, concise, and to look professional. Follow these 7 steps to quickly improve the look and feel of your presentation.
- Use a PowerPoint template. Download one, create your own, or use one of the pre-designed templates readily available within PowerPoint. Using a template is by far the easiest way to ensure that all your content is part of the same design scheme – a properly programmed template will not only give you a constant, professional background, but will create any new content in the correct font and colour. You can even have your own branded template designed, to ensure that you are always in line with your company branding.
- Cut back on text – don’t have all of the text on your slides that you’re going to be reading. Remember, PowerPoint slides are for the audience – not a cue card for the presenter. Absolutely do not use full sentences – it is not a document! If you can’t remove bullet points entirely, at least dramatically reduce the text in each one by cutting each phrase down to a few words. For example, rather than ‘Get the information over to the audience’, you could simply shorten it to ‘Communicate’.
- Replace text with images. A picture paints a thousand words, and the correct picture can help an audience quickly grasp a concept, whilst listening to you. It allows the audience to interpret the message on the slide quickly and relate it to the point.
- Keep it simple – all information, whatever format, on a slide should be easily readable and easy to understand. Otherwise the audience will have a data dump of information and not be able to process what the presenter is saying and the information on the slide it correlates to. Cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary on screen – remember, you can deliver any extra information in your patter when you present. The details do not have to – and in fact should not – be present on the slide.
- Use colours to differentiate between different concepts. Different pieces of information should be displayed using different colours, making it easier for the audience to interpret the data. This is a really simple way of taking a step towards visualisation on a complicated slide. Use one colour to represent e.g. senior members of staff, and another to represent the less senior team. If you continue to use these colours in the same way throughout your presentation, it will really help your audience grasp your content.
- Add some basic animation to help you present your content in a way that makes it easier on the audience. Help to tell the story in a linear way via the use of a simple fade animation, by having content on your slide appear at the appropriate point in your narrative. This can hold back key points of your story, helping build it along to keep your audience engaged as it progresses. This also reduces the cognitive load on the audience, meaning that they don’t have to attempt to process all the information on the slide at once.
- Standardise. If you have different fonts, different colours but no scheme, and different types of images throughout your presentation, it will look unprofessional. Try to make everything look like it belongs together, and you will ultimately look much more professional.
Following these basic steps should ensure that your presentation looks more professional, and that you make a better impression. Of course, these are only the first steps to making your presentation more effective. If you find that you have a little more time before your presentation, consider m62 impress – we take your slides and make them look more impressive and professional, with our quick and simple entry service. But to make your presentations more effective by ensuring that your presentations really pay attention to your presentation and remember your key messages, you might find that m62 recall could really benefit you.
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Angela Norton, Project Manager, Idis
m62 was the best of all the companies we looked at because there’s a great deal of intelligence behind the presentation theory, and it seemed to make absolute sense – both in terms of theory, and in what we were trying to achieve.