10 Tips for Crafting Genius Presentations
The good old PowerPoint is alive and can still serve you a great deal in making your presentation. Moreover, there are other open source and paid apps to help in forming your speech into visual art. There are also free software giveaway portals where you can grab a piece of paid presentation software or exclusive templates for free, if you are lucky enough.
Whether crafted in desktop or via online presentation software, on a Mac or a PC, bad slides brought to the audience badly will have no second chance for a good first impression.
All of us have at least once suffered through awful slideshows cluttered with information in long lists of unreadable bullets or pixelated clipart, with a speaker focused on the slides instead of the audience, maybe even making the audience read from the screen. A horrible feeling and aftertaste.
We have great news for you! Step by step, we will lead you through 10 easy ways to make any presentation brilliant with common presentation software examples.
1. BUILD YOUR SPEECH FIRST
First of all, focus on your speech and try to make it exciting and unique. Only then start creating slides. Your slides are there to ADD to a well-designed speech, not to replace it.
2. YOU SHOULD BE THE STAR OF YOUR PRESENTATION
The audience comes to listen to you – your thoughts, ideas, experience and insights. If you use too many fancy transitions, YouTube videos and tons of text, you deprive yourself of the attention you’d otherwise be getting from your listeners. Remember: every time you push the button, the audience leaves you and goes to the screen. Try to find a healthy balance.
3. USE A PROPER THEME
The right theme pulls together the variety in your images and message, as you move from problem to solution. You could use the default themes supplied in presentation software, but we do not recommend you to do so, because you want a simpler, more unique look. Create a custom theme with titles, colors, a consistent white background and your logo. It’s actually quite simple even for total newbies.
4. MORE IMAGE, LESS TEXT
A properly selected image will convey what you are trying to say better than any words could. Text is often unreadable, which is a sure way to irritate your audience. It is always better to use an eye-catching image and less text.
Make your images larger and reduce the amount (but not the size) of text. Slides should add to your speech – not distract the audience away from you. Slides are to help visualize what you speak of.
The human brain can process images some 60,000 times faster than text – using a large image delivers your point quickly, without creating a distraction. Accompany the image with a short list of brief bullets to help your audience pursue your argument – that’s it! The secret is in your pocket.
5. ONE CASE PER SLIDE
Try to always stick to the rule: one story per slide, one case per slide. Each slide represents a complete story. Simple for you, simple for the audience.
6. REVEAL ONE BULLET AT A TIME
Here is a good trick: when presenting text consisting of a short list of bullets, reveal one bullet at a time and talk about it. Use animation effects to do so. In best presentation software titles, like PowerPoint, right click on your text box, select Custom Animation > Add Entrance Effect and then choose the effect you want. In Keynote, click Animate > Build in and choose the effect you want.
7. LEAVE THE FIREWORKS TO DISNEY
It’s super cool that you know how to add fancy animations to text and images in the presentation, but leave those fireworks to Disney. You are the star. Your presentation’s main purpose is to support your speech. Simple transitions, clean fonts and large, attractive graphics that a software tool like PowerPoint would have will benefit you every time.
8. USE THE 2/4/8 RULE
Looking at most successful presentations you would trace a pattern, the so-called 2/4/8 rule:
- one slide for every 2 minutes.
- no more than 4 bullets per slide.
- no more than 8 words per bullet.
Use this recipe as a guide and mix the content ingredients as needed.
9. FADE TO BLACK WHEN SPEAKING
Turn on black screen mode when you are speaking to regain your audience’s attention. It can be compared to a close-up in a movie – the director wants you to focus only on the speaker. Note that some remote controls don’t have the black screen feature – if you’re shopping for a remote, make sure it does.
10. WHEN IN DOUBT, OMIT IT
If you’re Al Gore talking about the trends in CO2 emissions, slides can be vital, but they can also be a distraction. When in doubt, trying to decide if you need a slide, I ask yourself: “Will it make my speech better?” If not, skip it.
Simply remember that nobody will miss what isn’t there.
The last but not least, if you are not supplied with an A/V crew to help you with your presentation, spend the $80 and buy a remote (with spare batteries.). There is nothing worse than a speaker who repeatedly leans over the laptop switchings slides.
In this article we feature a list of the best free presentation software that you might want to use while crafting your slides. With the right software and the above tips your speech is sure to be a success.