Whether you’re giving a presentation at a business expo or a classroom, the way you display your information matters. Even if you spend hours perfecting your speech, a poorly prepared PowerPoint can make you come across as unprofessional or unprepared in front of an audience. Presentation design mistakes, such as using too many graphics or selecting the wrong size font, can distract your audience from the main message you’re trying to convey.
In order to make sure your next presentation enhances your speech and helps you engage with your audience, you can utilize these 7 tips to create stunning visual aids that people won’t soon forget:
Choose the Right Color Scheme
When choosing colors for a presentation, less is more. Using too many colors can be distracting, and the lack of a consistent color scheme throughout your speech can make your presentation seem unprofessional and hastily designed. Stick to just 3 to 4 colors to achieve a modern look and create seamless, consistent transitions between slides.
One simple way to balance the colors of your presentation is to follow the 60-30-10 rule. This design principle recommends devoting about 60% of your presentation to your chosen primary color, 30% to the secondary color, and 10% to the accent color.
Keep It Readable
Have you ever struggled to read someone else’s slides because the font was too small or didn’t stand out from the background? The key to avoiding this situation is to make sure every word is in high contrast with the rest of the slide. For example, if you have a pale yellow background, using white font would make it nearly impossible for people to make out the letters. To fix this, you could either change the color of the font to a darker color, or create a simple color bar around the white font to set it apart from the pastel background.
Know Your Audience
Before you begin composing your speech or typing facts into your PowerPoint, do some research into your audience. If you’re going to be giving a speech at a conference, for example, consider what information most of the attendees will already know. Researching the events taking place before your speech and the primary professions of those attending the conference can help you determine the amount of time you should spend explaining concepts vs. expanding upon your own points and observations.
Incorporate Photos and (Some) Graphs
Instead of boring your audience with slide after slide of bullet points on a plain background, use some relevant images to draw more attention to your messages. Free sites such as Flickr and Pexels provide high-quality, royalty-free photos that you can download to make your presentations truly unique and memorable.
When it comes to sharing key data points, resist the urge to share several graphs and charts to prove your research. Instead, pull a few of the most relevant statistics from the data and write out the information to give your audience a better understanding of the situation at hand.
Don’t Be Too Professional
Remember that the main goal of giving a presentation is to establish a connection with the audience. Therefore, an overly formal speech riddled with nothing but business terms, facts, and statistics probably won’t lead to thunderous applause or immediate excitement! Feel free to add some humorous elements to your presentation and maintain a conversational tone to put your audience at ease.
Encourage Questions and Discussions
If possible, ask your audience if they have any questions after you conclude your presentation. Answering their queries directly will show them that you care about assisting them, and it will improve your listeners’ overall impression of you. You can even ask your audience questions throughout the presentation to encourage participation and create personal experiences. A few good questions might include:
- Why is this topic important to our team?
- How much has our company improved this quarter?
- What is the purpose of this meeting?
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Great speakers make giving presentations look easy, but it takes some serious practice to become comfortable with speaking in front of an audience. You have to make sure you can stay within time constraints, switch slides at appropriate times, remember the key points of your speech, and avoid using too many filler words, such as “like” and “um.” In addition, you’ll also have to remember to monitor your body language, speak up, make eye contact, and smile at your audience. Rehearsing your speech several times before doing it for real will help you feel far more prepared and relaxed than deciding to “wing it!”