Mastering the art of presentation

A few presentations always stand out amongst the rest because they rise above mediocrity to display mastery in terms of presentation skills. Some presentations have great content, some have great designs, some have smart actionable takeaways, but the best PowerPoint presentations are the ones which has all the three.

Do you want to settle for ‘just getting by’ or you want to be a part of something more impressionable? We will give you some tips and advice to kick your presentation a notch-up.

Strategic Tips

 
 

Creating the PowerPoint presentation Outline

The most elementary mistake people make is to immediately start working on the presentation slides. Experts start the process by creating an outline in the form of scribbles, post-it notes, mind-maps or forming a clear storyboard in a diary. The most important thing is to recognize the key message you would like to deliver, organize relevant data which will support your key takeaways and identify correct examples. Only when you are done with the above creative exercise, should you start working on actual slides representing all the above information. PowerPoint presentations should be created like a story with a flow that resonates with the audience’s expectation instead of being a compilation of unrelated topics.

 

The KISS rule

You must have heard about ‘Keeping It Simple’. This rule referred to as Kiss is applicable to all presentations. Every presentation should be concise and easy to understand. It’s important to keep the slides to the point with a clear message supported by some good visuals if required. One very easy way to achieve the aforesaid simplicity is to keep the text minimal. If you support the text with good visuals, it will make an impact and resonate with the audience well. For e.g. Google CEO Sundar Pichai who believes in the KISS rule, likes to keep his presentations simple. He says that stories are always best told with good images and hence text-heavy slides are avoided in Google.

 

Minimize the use of complex graphics

A lot has been said about the use of graphics in designer slides. I would like to reiterate that complicated bar-graphs, pie-charts or excel sheets creates a lot of confusion. If you want to excel in the art of creating a master presentation you should be able to simplify those graphics and be able to display the real messages or key takeaways from those numbers. For e.g. you can always take the help of summary tables if you want to display excel sheets. It is often misunderstood that if you don’t show numbers or diagrams then the audience does not take you seriously- technically. It is important to highlight 5 metrics instead of 20 and make them understand the message you want them to take away.

 

The power of Contrast

It is a very challenging task to hold the audience attention during a presentation. Human beings have always paid attention and are wired to process information which is usually contrasted in the form of look and feel in presentation slides. Expert presenters usually deviate from patterns while presenting to keep the audience engaged and remember the key points. Popular presentation coach Olivia Mitchell once said that every 10 minutes, the presentation should deviate with contrast information to push the ‘reset button’ in the audience and help them to refocus.

 

Visual Highlighter

You must have heard before – A picture speaks a thousand words. The important aspect of the presentation is to engage your audience and hence visuals are an excellent way of doing that job for you. Visuals work like magic and maximize effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to engaging your audience. They also save a lot of time as the audience can understand everything at a glance. However, you cannot just throw some good-looking pictures without any relevance and strategy.

 

Identify your Big Idea

You must have a lot of information and interesting data in your presentation but at the end you must identify that one’ big key takeaway’ or overarching message. This key takeaway or ‘BIG Idea’ as we call it is important because even if your presentation was good it is this big idea which people will remember, and your objective will be successful. It needs essentially two points – ‘what is your point of view’ and ‘what will happen if people do not adopt your point of view’. Once you have identified your big idea then every small detail in the presentation from images to text to design should complement and support this idea.

 

Incorporate Multimedia

Audiences love examples. You can give the best examples, but sometimes you must see it in practice to believe them. According to HubSpot marketing statistics, 55% people consume video content and 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers as it can illustrate thoughts in a better way than images and words.

Hygiene Tips

PowerPoint Themes/Templates

PowerPoint templates though have been there for a long time, but they are in common usage. It is significant to use the best presentation template that makes your presentation unique and it should stand out from the rest which the audience has not seen before. Sites like Canva help design beautiful slides with the help of Canva’s presentation templates. Venngage’s free presentation maker also has some professional templates, icons and high-quality stock photos that you can use.

Colour Themes:

Research says that colours can influence our emotions. Especially in marketing, it is seen in a few cases that changing the colour of the CTA (call to action) increased conversions by 21%. Your presentation objective might not always need to establish numbers or facts. The strategic use of colours can invoke the right feelings or emotions. You can take some tips from Coschedule’s guide on colour psychology and why is it important for the success of your content.

Fonts

Of course, the use of text is always prominent in any kind of PowerPoint presentations. If you want your audience to fully consume and interpret your content and not get distracted, you should use simple fonts to start with. The density and size of the font are crucial for the audience to decipher the right information. It’s recommended by designers at Visage to use a font like Sans Serif which is simple yet prominent.

Consistency

Create a consistent look and feel so that each slide looks like they are a part of the same story. Use the same images, typography, colours etc. across all your slides. You can use pre-built master slides if you do feel restrictive.

 

Tactical Tips:

Don’t Overdo Effects and transitions

In my opinion PowerPoint and keynote presentations come with a lot of effects most of which do not enhance the audience experience. It is often thought because of the lack of good content such effects and transitions are being used. Therefore, you should use them judiciously and not overdo it.

Do not use auto play for video

It is easy to insert a video into a ppt. Sometimes it might take some time for a video to autoplay and so when you click again to start the video it jumps to the next page. Instead of autoplay, you should opt for click to play.

Reproduce charts in a simple way

Using charts in presentations may disrupt the look and feel of the presentation. You can try to make the graphs and charts simple, so that they blend well in the presentation and feel easy on the eyes.

Highlight Data Sources

If data, images or any factual information is used, you should mention the sources and references for the same in the presentation. Hyper-linking the data sources at the bottom of the slide are also a popular practice. By keeping them in the slide it is easy to refer to them in case you are asked by an audience to show the source.

No matter what your topic of the presentation is, effective presentations depend on three main factors: your knowledge of PowerPoint’s design tools, your attention to details, presentation processes, and your dedication to consistent style.

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