Good Presentation First Represents Your Idea On Your Behalf And then Represents You.
Presentation – This word is not new, even for a school going student now. Revolutionary progress of various office applications like MS-Office and Open Office has made this word more popular. It has got the importance as an essential element like other important skills, for an institution. Presentation helps you to represent your idea, product or view very easily and effectively. Short and to the point presentation successfully passes pinpoint message to the audience, which may be a notable reason for closing the deal or sale! There are some factors responsible for the success of a presentation. Application doesn’t matter here, but skill of creating effective presentation matters!! A presentation greatly helps to visualize complicated concepts or focus attention on a subject.
On the other side, a poor presentation or presentation having too much animation, colors, non-readable text, fast colored text or titles, pictures etc. can distract and irritate the audience. Despite the best idea and beneficial proposal represented in it, one can lose attention due to such presentation.
Here we’ll discuss few tips and fundamentals that will make your presentation more effective, impressive and professional avoiding most common, obvious and “invisible awful” errors!!
Design, Lay-out and Background
Design of the slide is the most important part of each presentation. It must me elegant, decent and most of the times represent the key concept/idea. Proper lay out creates proper thrill. It helps to manage and prepare slides by dividing the matter in various pieces like Text, Clip-Art, Word-Art, Charts, Table etc. Background should be light or in proper contrast of the text colors.
This is a very crucial part of the presentation preparation. Choose proper font and size. Never choose heavy, curved and very thin fonts. Font should have sharp and proper spacing that reader can easily recognize. Its size should be medium or in proportionate to the key message’s font size.
Never copy directly from available sources. Just read the content for reference only. Write the content according to your ideology. Your original thoughts will make you more comfortable during the presentation.
Arrange your text with proper spacing, allowing you to represent your key message properly. There should be enough space surrounding the key message. It may be a picture, chart, Table or anything. Also keep in mind that this part also should not restrict the other text.
Have you ever observed successful and popular books? Their cover-page also plays an important role in attracting the readers. Similarly your presentation must have impressive title slide with proper and cluing subtitle.
Many Presentation Experts suggest 5/5/5 rule.
Try to maintain a line of text with minimum 5 or maximum 6 words in case of the end of sentence.
Place appropriate word at the end of the sentence. Adjust text/word accordingly. Replace proper synonym for words if required.
There should not be more than 5 lines of texts per slide
There should not be more than 5 slides in a row having descriptive texts
Manage color, slide design and font consistency through-out the presentation. Create or use the theme that makes your idea more clear and helps you to represent it easily. Theme based presentation leaves long lasting impression. Never import the whole slides from different sources. This may distort the theme of the presentation.
You may use company logo, highlight titles and/or headers to make them noticeable. But don’t overload slide with these elements or presentation with such slides.
“Life is full of vivid colors.” But here, this will not work!! Yes! Without colors, presentation won’t work, but it is also true that a lot of colors may irritate the audience or shatter a presentation. Use proper contrast for every slide, considering the key message. Black text on White background is the best contrast but it is boring and the most used colors. The same problem is there with the White foreground and Black background. So, choose proper background and foreground (text) color.
Here are some examples of various contrast colors. It is strongly recommended that you check and verify the contrast before putting it in the live presentation. It may look good on the computer screen, but may not look proper on a big screen. Carefully used contrast helps to highlight the key message properly. Annoying color contrast not only weakens the message but also bores the audience.
Keep It Straight and Simple!! Presentation Experts have introduced this attractive abbreviation to explain the importance of simplicity. As discussed earlier, never write full/lengthy sentences. Write only key words. This will look professional and also help you to remember the discussion content. Don’t read all the words in a line. Audience can read it too. Presentation slides are only for your support, not replacement to your discussion. Talk freely, because audience will be attentive to you only if they hear something new and interesting.
Weight Your Key Message
Key message is the message that says everything about the presentation in short and leaves a long lasting impression to the audience. Key message is the most important element of the whole presentation. It must be short and easy to understand & accept. To express the key message effectively, you should highlight the required/main points/words properly in all the slides, which can form a message. It also doesn’t mean that you decorate slides with excessive formatting and objects.
Usage of Symbols and Images
“One picture says thousand words.”
This proverb exactly works here. Use meaningful pictures/symbols with the text. Observe the below two slides. A picture helps to clarify and convey the real message to the readers. Do not decorate the slide with too many pictures. Use pictures to just indicate and convey the real meaning. There are tons of images available on the internet. But be careful of the copyrights, if the presentation is for the Government or public.
Multimedia Objects and Special Effects
Video Clips, Audio Clips and various Animation effects are a powerful tool to convey the key message in a much better way. But do not overload the slides with too many effects. Use animations to create and maintain the thrill of the audience. E.g. there are five points in a slide. You can use an animation that will let each line fly-in one-by-one, as you present them. This will allow audience to read and think. If you don’t do this, there are chances that a question related to the next slide topic will be raised during explanation of the current slide! Proper animation/effect increases understand ability and makes the presentation more professional.
Study and Think about the Audience
“Audience” is very important to make the presentation effective and successful. Consider the below questions about the audience:
Who is going to view the presentation?
On which subject the presentation is going to be shown?
What do they know? What do they want to know?
How they have represented their requirement and studied?
What will they expect from you?
What is the main focus of the audience?
Which matter will keep them thrilled through-out the presentation?
E.g. a presentation on ‘Country Economics’ will be different for the school students and for the professionals.
Lower or higher level of discussion may zone out the audience or bore them.
“Practice makes a man perfect.”
A healthy discussion will make you more confident and help you to keep your audience attentive throughout the presentation. The presentation will get more improved, as you practice. You will get unique ideas to represent the topic dynamically. You can even include suitable examples and authentic figures wherever required. Practice will help you to improve your speech tempo. Neither speak too slow nor too fast. Talk freely with proper gestures and maintain body language etiquette. Keep eye contact with the audience and wisely answer their questions raised during the discussion. Just like a film, presentation too needs to be ended with “Thank You”!