Why your Presentations are NOT Creating Impact
A good slide presentation must support the presenter and avoid being a distraction. The audience need only to glance at the slide and know exactly what it is you are saying.
Here are a few guidelines to ensure you maintain impact.
- How many Slides:
The purpose of a slide is two-fold: firstly to assist the presenter as a prompt-card and secondly to help the audience create a visual picture of what the presenter is saying. This means that the amount of slides will vary as per the needs of the presentation.
- Uncomplicated Backgrounds:
A basic, solid-coloured background is less of a distraction than a busy, colourful one that helps to confuse the audience to decipher what is background and what is information. Company logos as a background are a no-no, even if watermarked.
- Choose the Right Font:
Select a font that is simple to read, e.g. any font similar to Arial or Times New Roman. Ensure the font is presented in lower case, as this is easier and quicker to read than capitals. The font size must be big enough and easy to read. A minimum size should be 28 point.
- Create a Story:
Just as your presentation is a story to create buy-in, so should your slides be a story that will also grab the attention of the audience. Use story-boarding techniques.
To assist in keeping the attention, how the slide is introduced plays an important role. Keep it simple. Any movement is a distraction, so when information comes flying through the room from different sides, this takes the focus off the presenter. Use animation only for effect, e.g. having a motor vehicle driving into the slide has more effect, but this must be limited.
- Does it really make Sense?
When designing the slide, you know what it is you wish to get across, but how understandable is it to the audience? Use pictures that say exactly what you want it to mean and ensure that there is no ambiguity. Keep taking a step back, question and re-question your information. To achieve success from your Presentation, do not confuse the audience as it will make it more difficult for them to make a decision.
Too much information confuses any audience, so do not make them work unnecessarily. A slide cluttered with long sentences and lots of words is enough to put any audience to sleep. Use short bullet-points (and the presenter can fill in the gaps) combined with a relevant picture or graphic.
- Prompt from the Screen:
Never prompt from your laptop monitor, rather gesture to the screen as this is the reference point for the audience. Resist the temptation of reading from the screen, word-for-word, as the audience are quite capable of doing that themselves.
Keep the graphics simple, easy to read and understandable. Line graphs are always more difficult to quickly grasp the message. A better method is either a bar chart or a pie graph.
10. Choose the Right Colour:
Keep colours in mind. Assume that at least one person in the audience is colour blind. Avoid colour combinations such as red on blue, red on green, and blue on green in your Presentation.