In our last post, we discussed the fundamentals of being an excellent presenter and how beginners can start off. If you haven't caught up with that yet, read it here.
This time, we'll be delving deep into the preparation process for presentations - the slide deck. About 30 milllion powerpoint presentations are made everyday, and we spend 15 million person hours viewing presentations everyday. We've all sat through dreadfully dull and insipid presentations before - it's a universal experience. And whether you want to admit it or not, you might have also given one of those tediously boring presentations that you hate. One major aspect that stands out in making a presentation painful to sit through are the slide decks themselves: when the presenter doesn't create visually appealing and easy-to-read slides.
Check if you make any of these common mistakes when creating slide decks:
1. You make the slide deck incredibly dull from the get-go with walls of text and zero visual stimulation
2. You get carried away and make the visual stimulation much too overwhelming for the viewer to take in and the focus shifts away from the main content of the slides
Of course, these examples are an exaggeration (or maybe not) of the mistakes people make. You might have made the mistake yourself, or seen others make similar mistakes, though not necessarily to the extent shown in the examples above. So how exactly do you create an awesome slide deck that is the perfect blend of content and visuals while maintaining a sense of professionalism?
Here's 3 tips for achieving that!
1. Explore all the tools available to you
Don't get stuck on using the same application to create your slides every single time! With various applications and tools out on the market and available with a quick click of the search bar, you can try things like Powerpoint, Keynote, Canva, Google slides or Zoho. The possibilities are endless! Test outa few to figure out which tool best enhances your ability to achieve your desired slide deck style. If you aren't too savvy with design, you can even search up some pre-made templates that can guide you!
2. At the end of the day, you are the storyteller and the slide deck is not
The average powerpoint slide has 40 words on it - that's too many. Place a couple of lines on there, or even a few words. You should put just enough words or graphics on the slide to ignite what you want to say. Steve Jobs demonstrated an excellent example of this. A few words and simplicity can be powerful.
3. Use visual elements as appropriate
Not all good slides have to be 5 words against a simple background with one image like the one shown above. They can also include more words, images and brighter colors - they just have to be used to an appropriate extent. For example, you can stick to using just 2 contrasting colors instead of using an excess of different colors and shades. Contrasting colors can draw a person's attention to points that you want to emphasize. Visuals can also be used to increase emotional appeal, such as using an image in the background as opposed to a plain background.
[Using visual stimulation by choosing an image of the ocean as the background]
[Using minimal visual stimulation by using a blue background]
Can you see the difference simple changes to the background of a slide can do for visual stimulation? With the current technological boom, everyone who is anyone should have this skill as a tool under their belt. It only takes a few simple changes to improve on your slide deck, so apply these tips and avoid making the mistakes pointed out to create a beautiful slide deck. Why does the look of the presentation matter so much?
That's because a great presentation gives smart ideas an advantage.
And by combining the right mix of visuals, text and presentation style, even the driest of subject matters can be made invigorating and exciting!