I've now been in my new role for just over a month, and have at last got my turn to share some thoughts on the Momenta blog. For my first blog I wanted talk about, well actually share, some tips on some of the things that make a great presentation that are often overlooked. We’ve all done them, all attended them and there are plenty of people who will give you advice so here is my simple list on a few different things to try:  

Make Images BIG

If possible, show images full screen and try to add little or no text to the slide. This is an incredibly simple way to make your presentation more effective, because:

  • People sitting in the back might not be able to see small images as well as you can, when you created your slides sitting in front of your computer
  • Full screen images can break a stream of text slides and create some variation, helping the audience to stay attentive
  • People are better at listening to your words when they are looking at non-verbal content
  • It simply looks good, with zero design effort

Don't put content at the bottom of the slide

Why waste good screen space? Your audience might not be able to see it. Try not to put any important content on the bottom third and keep essential content on the top half. If you feel you need the bottom part of your slide, you probably have too much on your slide anyway (see next point…)

Reduce bullet points wherever possible

Ah yes, bullet points: (I did a few above) the most ubiquitous feature of many a presentation. We can probably do with a few less of them, if only to make the slides feel a little less heavy. So why not remove them? Some strategic spacing can do the trick as well. And remember if you have a single point on your slide, NEVER use a bullet point (a list of one isn’t really a list, is it?)

Don't use more than one font

Combining the wrong fonts is a sure way to make your presentation look messy. If you find it hard to mix and match, simply don’t use more than one font. Instead, vary with font weight, size and shade (maybe occasionally italics). Don’t use multiple colours unless you have a good reason and know how to mix colours well. There is really no need for it, most of the time.

Try writing white text and graphics on a black background

This is a smart trick I like, and I have seen some designers use when they need to put together a presentation quickly. White text on a black background feels quite stylish, especially when used with a clean font like Helvetica. It works especially well when projected, because it will hide the edge of the projection, making it look like only the text is projected. Without the edge, composition of content within your slide also becomes less sensitive. Simply align all content to the left for a classic, clean look.

Don't even think about using…

…Clip Art, Comic Sans or Word Art. This is not the 90s anymore, no matter how badly you wish it was. If you want to communicate some concepts visually, have a look at the free stuff, now widely available pretty much everywhere. For text, it’s safe to stick with pre-installed classics like Arial, Helvetica, Palatino and Lucida Sans.

If in doubt, use a template

Afraid that you will make a mistake in font size, maintaining sufficient contrast or alignment? Use a programme template. They aren’t the prettiest, but they at least provide a good basic structure. Best stay away from the “Ancient Roman” and “funky” themes, and stick with the black on white or white on black.

And finally, need something really different and impressive?

This is the one tip in my list that will cost you money, but seriously: consider it. If you have a small or medium-sized business, chances are your presentation is the first visual representation of your company people see. If you get a designer to create your website and business card, why not your presentations from time to time? Get a designer who knows how to build templates for PowerPoint or Keynote, and you will be able to use it over and over again. Don’t forget to ask them for some tips as well!.

So there you go, my first Momenta blog. Yes it's a bit of a list but I thought I would break you in gently before I offer much more by way of my thoughts in the coming months. If you would like to know more about how you, and your sales forces can improve their chances in presentations, please contact us today.