Expectations regarding presentations, and presenters, have increased significantly in today’s dynamic, international environment. It’s no longer acceptable to stand in front of your audience, talk about what you need, present loads of slides stuffed with text, and expect a great outcome.
Presentations today are the most effective when they influence, persuade and inspire. And when this happens, we can facilitate positive change, growth and results within our organizations.
Your slides need to convey your key messages clearly and concisely because your presentation is seen as a direct reflection of your competence, professionalism and expertise. How can you accomplish this without having to be a Microsoft PowerPoint expert?
Techniques and Tools for Mastering Slide Creation
I find the easiest way to have clear and effective slides is to have a checklist to follow, perform my own review against the checklist as I create each slide, and then get a second opinion from a colleague I trust.
Here is the checklist I use for every slide presentation I create, whether it’s a presentation for a client or training material for a workshop.
Quality Assurance Slide Creation Checklist
- Have one obvious main message per slide.
- Have ‘enough’ white space on each slide.
- Use 18 pt. font at a minimum. 20 and 24 pt. fonts are even better.
- Avoid animation unless is it clearly supports your message.
- Use active slide titles rather than a topic, to convey the slide’s main message.
- Use meaningful images to convey ideas, concepts and messages.
- Choose elements/shapes/smart art that shows relationships between the information.
- Use bullet points not sentences.
- Include only one graph/chart per slide.
- Use callout boxes for key messages; not more than one per slide.
- Consider using appendices or back up slides for supplemental information.
Beware of dual-purpose slides
From what I’ve seen lately, companies often use slides for dual purposes. They are intended to serve as documentation to support new processes, status updates, recommendations, etc., AND they are used as the basis for a formal presentation. The same slides for both purposes creates a conflict.
Slides are a visualization tool that should support you during your dynamic presentation, rather than tell the story FOR you. If an audience is reading your slides, they are not paying attention to you. Most people cannot listen and read at the same time after all.
So keep the slides for your presentation crisp, clear, concise and meaningful, and keep your audience’s attention on YOU and your key messages.
The techniques and tips in this article are just some of the ones I teach in my Preparing Powerful Content workshop. If you’d like more support, contact me for your free one-hour consultation in 2015.
P.S. Check out my other posts on Presenting Powerfully:
- 3 Things You Can Do to Be Unstoppable in Your Presentation
- 4 Ways to Use Your Voice to Captivate Your Audience
P.P.S. Need doses of communication inspiration throughout the week? Like the Quality Assurance Communication Facebook page and get our updates in your Newsfeed. Browse past inspiring quotes and communication tips, and make sure you get great support.