Power up your presentation
The slides on the screen is only part of your presentation; consider your own appearance and manner. (Shutterstock)
Have you been on the receiving end of a boring, lifeless powerpoint presentation lately? Who hasn’t? Sometimes it’s you who is giving this dreadfully numbing presentation because you don’t know better.
Here are 6 tips to help you spice up your presentation.
1.Tell us a good story
Since the point of your slides is to illustrate and expand what you are going to say to your audience. Write down what you intend to say as the slides are supposed to guide you and your audience through the actual presentation.
After that, make a short scenario of how things are supposed to happen: in the beginning, middle and end. Follow good storytelling conventions; have a clear plot where things build up towards some sort of climax to capture the attention of your audience and make them anxious to find out what’s next. If you can, always leave them wanting more.
2.One thing at a time, please
Create your slides so that only one new point is displayed at any given moment. Your audience will almost instantly read every slide as soon as it’s displayed; if you have the next four points you plan to make up there, they’ll be three steps ahead of you, waiting for you to catch up rather than listening with interest to the point you’re making.
3.Only headlines, no paragraphs
Never put everything you want to say onto your slides. Seeing big chunky blocks of text is overwhelming to the audience.
Use the paragraphs for your scenario (see first point). You can add all the text you want as notes to the presentation that do not get sent to the projector, or put them on notecards if you need to, just don’t display them on screen.
4. Design matters
With all those options to add animation to your text and pictures, avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design basics:
- Use a sans serif font for body text. Sans serifs like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri tend to be the easiest to read on screens.
- Use decorative fonts only for slide headers, and then only if they’re easy to read.
- Put dark text on a light background. It is easiest to read.
- Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Line up all your text to a right-hand or left-hand baseline. It will look better and be easier to follow.
Avoid clutter. A headline, a few bullet points or an image as anything more than that might cost you an audience.
5. Engage your audience
Remember, the slides on the screen are only part of the presentation. Give some thought to your own presentation manner; how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room. People will focus on you no matter how interesting your slides are.
6. Break the rules
As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules or any other rule you know won’t apply. If you know there’s a good reason to break a rule, go ahead and do it. Rule breaking is perfectly acceptable behavior; it’s ignoring the rules or breaking them because you just don’t know any better that gets you in trouble.
By Shaden Abdulraman
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