You don’t realise your presentations suck until you see one that really does. And suddenly, all your hours spent copying, pasting, and playing around with the design in Powerpoint or Prezi just don’t seem to cut it. So how can you elevate your presentations from blah, to blah-dy epic? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Kill your darlings
And by that, we mean your precious data points, stats, and figures. Yes, we know you’ve spent hours (days or weeks even) sourcing valuable data to back up your presentation, but your slides are not their final resting place. When presenting data and information, keep the design consistent with information mapping best practices. At the end of this preso, ask yourself, “what are the three most important points I’d like the audience to take home?” Then design your preso to make sure that happens. You can achieve this by understanding How To Use Data in Presentations. At Missing Link, we do this by following two core rules: 1) The fewer better rule (fewer but better data points always have more impact. 2) The rule of threes (people retain knowledge better when presented in threes).
Utilise these two rules in your design to aid knowledge retention and drive the data points home.
2. Choose your visuals carefully
Adding visual elements to your presentation is crucial, but that doesn’t give the presenter free reign to insert their entire photo library into their slide deck. Remember that visual elements should support the point you’re trying to make, not distract from it. Rather than bombarding your audience with visuals, focus on quality over quantity. You don’t need your pictures to speak a thousand words – you just need them to support one really good point. Finding the holy grail of images, however, can be time-consuming – unless you know where to find pictures that don’t suck for your presentations.
3. Keep it short and to the point
Remember: slides are slides. Documents are documents. They’re not the same thing. Be sure to separate the two in your mind before tackling the design stage. Otherwise, you may fall victim to the dreaded Slide Stuffing. Prioritise clear and concise design – whether it’s headings, text, colour, or image. Your slides are a tool to support the story you’re selling; it’s not the story – make sure it’s sharp, memorable, and to the point.
Remember: slides are slides. Documents are documents. They’re not the same thing. Be sure to separate the two in your mind before tackling the design stage.
4. Easy on the transitions and animations
We all love a good swirl or swoosh transition, but overdoing it can easily make your presentation look cheap and amateurish. Limit transitions and animations to only when necessary and when they add meaning to the context, like a big reveal. Even then, be sure to focus on transitions and animations that are subtle, smooth, and non-distracting.
5. What the font?
Repeat after us, “I will not use Comic Sans in my presentation.” Fonts matter and can easily take away or add to the overall look and feel of your preso. Be sure to include bold and easy-to-read fonts. It’s also best practice to stick with fonts that are easily accessible on all devices, particularly if there’s a good chance you’ll have to give your preso on multiple devices. Also, be sure to avoid using fonts like Times New Roman, frequently associated with text-heavy documents. It’s also important to consider the size of your fonts depending on the presentation. Not 100% what the best pick is? See our PowerPoint Font Tips.
5. What the font?
The golden rule of presentation design is to stop what you’re doing and take it back a step. Every great presentation is written before it’s designed before it’s delivered. This means that each design choice needs to be aligned and intentionally made according to your action framework. The Missing Link Action Framework teaches your team how to define your audience, how to reach them, and what motivates their decision-making. It then equips you with the know-how to write, design and deliver a presentation that leads your audience to action every single time.
Are you ready to master the message, pimp the preso and stand and deliver in one fell swoop? Click here for the only presentation training you’ll ever need.