At some point in our lives there will inevitably come a moment when we have to stand in front of a large group of people and deliver to them a PowerPoint presentation. Those who have already had to face this will testify to how daunting an experience this can be: nerves frayed, sweat pouring down your face, mumbling through your notes, but in the end you usually get through it unscathed, integrity intact. But how do you go that one step further and grab the attention of your audience? Here’s five quick tips:
- Make It Readable.
Obviously what you say is important, but what people see is just as vital too. Nothing is worse than performing a stellar presentation to your colleagues and then realizing that your text is set to size twelve font and is in bright yellow colour. Ideally the colour scheme should be black or white text with an appropriately dark or light background colour. The font should be size twenty or above, spaced, and also make sure that there isn’t too much text on one page as your audience either won’t be able, or won’t want to read it.
- Make it concise but informative
Don’t be that person that just drags on and on, once you’ve made your point, move on. This isn’t to say that you should just write a sentence on one slide and try to pass it off as a full-blown presentation, but not so in-depth it’s yawn-inducing. One way to do this is to write most of what you want to say on the paper script and leave just the key points on each page of the presentation.
- Use images
As mentioned previously, people don’t like large clumps of text, but what people do like is pictures. Of course, make sure that the pictures are relevant to your presentation. Introducing your presentation about the five-year projection of the Chinese toilet-seat market accompanied by an image of a mongoose would grab attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead add an image or two that will engage the viewers and reinforce your points.
- Practice, rehearse and prepare
You need to know what you’re talking about in order to deliver a successful presentation, that means that you should practice performing the entire presentation at least a few times. Don’t be afraid to add some humour to proceedings, even if it’s a bad joke, it will capture attention. Make sure to learn most of the script off by heart so that you won’t have to look down at a sheet of paper rather than the audience, if you can’t even give them the courtesy of your attention, how can you expect to get any of theirs in return?
- Don’t over-do the animation
We’ve all done it, we’ve all seen the 30 second ‘spiral in’ animation and not been able to resist the urge to use it as the transition into EVERY slide. However, not only does it look amateur and clunky, but it’s also soul-crushingly dull, and it takes forever. Is there anything worse than sitting in awkward silence, watching text slowly crawl onto the screen? Yes actually, there is, watching the exact same animation for the tenth time in a row.
To summarise, if you really want to deliver a successful PowerPoint presentation, keep it concise but informative, and vibrant but not too in-your-face. Use these steps as the foundation for your next presentation and you should grab the attention of your colleagues and give them a presentation to remember.