Being that I make a living at making things look appealing (at least what I think looks good anyways!) I thought I might be able to shed some light on how to avoid a few of the presentation blunders. Some seem rather simple, but the moment someone has “creative” license to do as they please, this is where so many go off the rails even before setting foot in front of an audience.
Now, I do realize not everyone has a budget to hire a designer to create a snazzy looking presentation, but by all means it is worth it if you do! If you are taking the bull by the horns and creating your own presentation, there are some basic things to remember.
- Look at the colours used in your company’s logo. Usually, there has been a lot of time and effort spent on creating that brand and it’s in your best interest to follow it. Using the same colours, tones and look as your company brand is a huge piece of bringing everything together without having to say a word. If you chose to go a different route, you confuse your audience when they came to hear about the sleek new BMW series being released but instead are looking at a screaming McDonald’s Happy Meal!
- Choose a font. As in ONE font that is a close match to that in your company logo. That consistency will help give your presentation a more professional feel. More is certainly not merrier in this case!
- Include visuals that support your topic. Please don’t slap any old photo in there, just to fill space. And don’t you dare stretch a photo to fit into a space. Ratio is vital for photos of any kind. If you need to enlarge it, every pixel deserves its given space.
- Speaking of visuals, chose images that evoke some sort of emotion, whether it be joy, sadness or what have you. As with the content of what you say, encouraging people to connect to what you are speaking about on an emotional level is huge to connecting them and “selling them” on your pitch.
- Just as you like your personal space, so do your points. Don’t squish as many as you possibly can on one page, chose a max of 5 per page, perhaps less if they are wordy. They need room to breathe, room to stand alone, proud and free and to be noticed for the goodness they are!
- Keeping along the same route as the” less is more” train, there is no need to include your whole point verbatim in your presentation. It’s rather distracting and takes away from what you are actually saying. People have a need to read and most are not great at listening and retaining what is being said while reading at the same time. Once sentence should suffice and capture your thought but allow your audience to focus on what you are saying, rather than just on the slide.
It comes down to keeping it similar and simple. Use your company brand to guide you on colour and font choices so you look like you work at the same place as who you’re talking about! And if all else fails, call your favourite graphic designer to create a template that has your company look and feel with colours and a font that match, and off you go for the best presentation of your life.