The Do's and Don'ts of Designing a Presentation
Standing up in front of a group of people to give a presentation is pretty unbearable (for me at least). If your presentation slides are hard to look at or packed with too much information it will be just as unbearable for your audience. This blog post will give you a few pointers to keep in mind when putting together your presentation slides so that your audience stays engaged and you get your message across. Microsoft Powerpoint is a great tool for business owners to use to make presentations, if you do not own a copy I suggest buying one.
Color is an important part of your presentation, it helps convey your message and evoke certain feelings from your viewers. Powerpoint has theme colors you can choose from and I suggest using them. They have been selected to be complimentary with each other and convey certain messages. Stick to four colors max. Avoid bright yellow, red or green they do not translate well when projected onto a screen. Pay attention to the types of colors you choose, using a light yellow, cream and mint color pallet may not translate well to a bunch of legal executives. On the other hand, if you're presenting to a group day spa investors, go for it.
If you read my previous post about typography for the web verses print, you will know that typography plays an important role in getting your message across. When designing slides for a presentation it is important to use only words that are completely necessary. You don't want people to get stuck reading your slides, you want them listening to what you are saying. A good rule of thumbs is use MAXIMUM 32 words per slide. If you have a section of text that is more than two sentences long use a serif font and if you have bold key words or headers use a sans serif font. Selecting the type of font is also important. Avoid fonts that are too decorative and hard to read stick to fonts like Futura, Helvetica, Arial, Times, Garamond or Typewriter (see image). Also, keep the size of your font over 16 points so it can be seen from across the room.
Be sure to use high quality, non cheesy, non stereotypical images. If using a Google image search, be sure to credit your source. Better yet, purchase the rights to a stock image, that way you can use it over and over again with worrying about copyright infringements. Avoid using clip art graphics, they are dated and cheesy and will make you look the same.
Keep It Simple
This is the most important thing to remember. If your presentation content is strong your slides will act as a supplement not a crutch. Keep your slides simple, clean and to the point. Avoid detailed animations or flashy transitions, your audience should be engaged with you and your message, not too busy trying to decipher what your slides mean.
Stick to four colors max, use theme colors
32 words maximum on the page, no decorative fonts
Use a font size greater than 16 points
Use high quality images, no clip art
Keep it Simple
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