You may be new to making presentations, or you may have already given one but it didn’t go so well, or you have just been to a few ones and you know how boring it can get and you don’t want that to happen to you.
Perhaps you are someone who knows how to do good research on your subject, and perhaps you have a good skill at incorporating images, statistics, ideas etc. all to support your argument during your promised presentation. In addition to the good knowledge of using presentation software, especially PowerPoint. However, you are not sure of what to do and not to do then.
You’re not lacking in skill, but you may need a few simple tricks to give your presentation more quality and liveliness, and make viewers more excited and focused on what you’re saying. At its core, your presentation is always about sharing knowledge, but you want the audience to be engaged with you. The problem is that people have short periods of attention and focus that you have to capture and keep their attention to you. To do so you should consider the next 10 tips on making a great presentation.
10 Tips to Improve your Presentation Slides
1. Make a strong start
Just saying “hello” or “let’s get started” isn’t the way to do it, but you have to dominate the scene in the first seconds. Don’t be afraid to bring up some of your flaws or negativity, or maybe share something embarrassing because it makes you more open to the attendees and will simply make people treat you more. Start with a story, anecdote, controversial question or quote that really grabs your audience’s attention.
Just like the best books, the best presentations spark the curiosity of your audience from the start, and then attract them to complete the presentation, so open your presentation in a way that raises eyebrows or interest, and attracts the attention of your audience. Amaze them, or frighten them if possible, and then effectively complete the rest of the presentation to make them know what happened next.
2. Focus on your main message
It’s better to have three key points that emphasize your core message of your presentation. If you overdo your presentation without focus on certain topics, people will find it difficult to follow you and nothing will get them to the point. If your presentation is related to a business topic such as accounting, it is not worth deviating from that topic to talk about managing for example. If there’s something in your presentation that doesn’t support this main focus, just drop it.
3. Do not use a pre-made scenario
Doing a presentation with a pre-recorded script will seem harsh and shocking to the audience, and will probably make them very bored. So it’s really important that you use your natural language, don’t only read what is on the screen, and be prepared which means you have to practice and try absorbing the subject you are going to talk about.
4. Don’t rely totally on the software
Don’t think too much about the tool you will be presenting with, whether through PowerPoint, Keynote, G-Slides, Prezi, or any other digital software. The presentation is who you are and how you present it and how you speak. PowerPoint is just there to support you, so your display shouldn’t repeat what you’re saying, it should be different, ideally funny, or contain pictures or videos that confirm what you’re saying and explain.
A great rule of thumb in this regard is: 10-20-30. This means that your presentation should not be more than 10 minutes, you should have no more than 20 slides, and the font size should not be smaller than 30. This means a larger font, fewer words, no full sentences, and keeping it concise so people can have fun and understand what you’re saying all the time.
5. Build your presentation about your audience
This means that you have to know who this audience is; Ask yourself, what do they expect from you? Do they think you’ll show in a full suit or just a T-shirt and sweatpants? Most importantly, ask what they will get from my presentation? Better to give knowledge plus some entertainment. Also, ask yourself, how would they dress and what would they choose to come with for the presentation? And what do they find entertaining? Because if you can connect with them and get their sense of humor, you are definitely a winner and they will find you a great presenter.
If you’re presenting in a professional setting, humor or storytelling can sometimes be dispensed with, and understand that it can unfortunately backfire. However, your main goal in a non-professional presentation should be to entertain and engage the audience.
6. Pay attention to the design:
PowerPoint and other presentation software provide various methods for adding visual effects to your slides; It is very easy to apply the effects of fading, dragging, blinking text, etc. with just a few mouse clicks. But avoid the temptation to decorate slides with cliched effects, and instead focus on simple design basics:
- Use a sans serif font, such as Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri, to write the body; It is one of the easiest fonts to read on screens.
- Use decorative, easy-to-read fonts for slide titles only; It is difficult to read decorative fonts which should be used for large headlines only at the top of the slide, however, it is best to stick to elegant serif fonts such as Georgia or Baskerville.
- You must write texts in a dark font on a light background, because it is also easy to read, and if a dark background must be used, such as if the company you work for uses a unified template with a dark background, make sure that the text is very light (in white, cream, or gray light), and increase the font size by two or three degrees.
- Align the text to the left or right, because it will look better and be easier to follow; Instead of centering it, which makes the text difficult to read, and shows your inexperience.
- Avoid cluttering your slides with details; Just write a title, a few bullet ideas, maybe include a picture or diagram, and if you add anything more than that, you risk distracting your audience as they try to understand it.
7. Moderately use images
There are two contradictory opinions about the importance of using images in presentations. Some believe that the images add visual interest and attract the attention of the audience; Others see it as an unnecessary distraction.
Both views have some logic; So take the middle road, use photos, infographics and diagrams to add important information, or to depict an abstract idea more concretely.
Never use the clip art embedded in PowerPoint; All of your audience has seen everything about the previous versions of this software earlier a thousand times, to the point that it has become so cliched and repetitive. Try using some creative and well-made infographics maybe in a pre-made professionally design template that make good use of space and shapes.
8. Show Each Point Separately
You have to always make sure that only the idea you are talking about is shown on the screen, because the audience reads each slide as soon as it is presented; If you show the next four points you plan to discuss, your audience will precede you with three ideas, and they will wait for you to finish instead of listening intently; So plan your presentation one new point at a time.
Formatting ideas using bullets, for example, allows you to display them on the screen one by one when you reach them, and you can insert tables on the next slide for reference when accessing the data presented by the table while you talk about it.
Your job as a presenter is to control the flow of information so that the audience keeps up with the information you provide.
9. Encourage The Audience To Participate
One of the simplest ways to get your audience to interact with you is through eye contact. Always swipe the whole hall, and go with your eyes from left to right, while making sure you’re looking straight into people’s eyes. But most importantly, if you can engage your audience in a way that supports your topic, that’s the best. For example, you can do a few simple interactive exercises with some or all of the audience.
Ask the audience a lot of questions; It sparks their interest, curiosity, attracts them, creates suspense by asking a question, keeping your audience in anticipation before moving on to the next slide, showing the answer, testing their knowledge, showing them how much they know, asking them questions, and letting them answer.
10. Don’t worry about being nervous
Simply admit it. Most audiences, especially senior ones, expect you to be a little nervous. But if this is holding you back, the best thing you can do is admit it up front because that way people will relate to you because they can get in touch with your true feelings and you will let it go so it will be easier for you and accept and be accepted more. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, it always happens!
At the end, don’t forget to give a quick summary of your presentation, highlighting the most important points so people go home with at least one clear idea they can think about after your presentation. And those were the top 10 tips for making a successful presentation that will be a pleasure for your attendees and a piece of cake for you. If you are still not sure, worry not, we have an article on how to create a wonderful presentation and another on the common mistakes that are made during one. Read them all and be fully prepared for your next awesome presentation!
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