I’m sure I’m not the only person who has experienced that feeling of despair when you’re sitting in a meeting that’s droning on and on with War and Peace on each and every slide. The presenter fiddles in their pocket, jangling their change or tapping their pen on the desk and anything- just anything will distract you; a blackbird on the adjacent office roof, a curling oak leaf that might just fall off the tree while you’re waiting for the meeting to end or the shapes you can make from the curious swirls on top of the vending machine cup of tea. Oh yes, we’ve all been there at some point.
Presentations done badly have forever been a delegates nightmare but could so easily be taken up a notch with a few simple pointers. Here are my top tips to engage your audience and create attention-grabbing moments.
#1. Plan your story
No presentation should be started without a plan for the journey. Think about your messages, the audience and their level of understanding. From this, you can shape your story so you provide a clear structure for delivering the content which is simple, informative and memorable.
#2. Refine your words – less is more
Slides become wordier the longer you dwell on your content. Keep slides succinct. Remember, the audience are listening to you, their attention should be on you and what you’re saying rather than on the projection wall. Slides are reinforcement to your message, a communication aid and shouldn’t tell the unabridged story. So limit the number of bullets to 4, with short phrases of no more than six words per line with a new slide for new ideas.
#3. Design your template
We regularly work with our clients to improve their presentations as we firmly believe that the power of a presentation is increased through better visuals.
To make presentation stand out visually, consider following some of our creative advice! Don’t use any clip art – it’s so dreadful! Buy professional images from a stock library or use ones you’ve taken yourself. You can use images from the internet, but be sure to check for copyright.
Use a clear stylish font in an appropriate size and don’t mix lots of styles and colours.
Try using clear and simple charts and graphs to make the best of facts and figures or, even better, use an infographic style design to represent data. We love Infographics at theblueballroom and run workshops to help you establish and create really effective material.
Transitions can destroy a well-crafted presentation unless they are simple fades. No text zipping on and flying off again, just clean, professional, slow fades which don’t detract from your words.
#4 Preparation is key
When you have taken the time to create your story, have gathered great facts and compelling messages and have a small collection of beautifully designed slides to share, the last thing anyone wants is a messy delivery. Preparing before you present is key and that includes testing the projector to make sure it’s all connected and running and rehearsing your presentation. (Not to mention removing any change from your pockets and pens to fiddle with!) You and the image you present are as important as the visuals you present with.
It all sounds very straightforward and it can be, but we are here to help with your presentation messages, content, design and delivery. Many of our clients use our services to ensure they deliver perfect results and we’ll happily help you with yours. You can find us here. For the bigger picture, talk to us about any aspects of your event production.