People are visual learners, so using slides does nothing but good for reporters. Experienced speakers know that, and it comes as no surprise many of them consider slides an integral part of successful presentations.
Seemingly easy to prepare, slides have their secrets of creation.
How to create presentation slides? What points to take into consideration to awake audience’s interest in presented information?
1. Slides should support ideas.
Newbie speakers believe slides can save their presentations, and they have no better idea than stuffing slides with as much information as possible.
The problem is, such trick demonstrates their reading skills instead of speaking ones. And this is one of the most popular blunders.
This mistake decreases authority and credibility of a presenter:
- people start reading slides and don’t follow a presenter’s ideas;
- overloaded slides are illegible, and people lose interest in such a presentation;
- a reporter can’t track the feedback from his audience and control the narration process, as he’ll be busy reading texts from slides.
Taking the above into account, slides should be:
- Short. A presenter should try making phrases as laconic as possible. It can be a short sentence, phrase, word, or even an image. Such info is capacious, and it can be read faster.
- Simple. Too complicated phrases are hard to understand, distracting the audience from presentations.
- Complementary. A presentation should be 100% clear even when slides are turned off.
2. Slides should deliver a message.
When used right, visual elements can strengthen ideas, while their abuse distracts an audience and brings no emotional response.
With that in mind, a presenter should
- avoid unnecessary animation effects;
- avoid unnecessary sound effects.
One slide should support a single idea, so good presenters avoid
- adding several ideas to one slide;
- adding funny elements to serious slides.
3. Slides should be designed professionally.
Even when not a designer, a reporter can create slides that will look professional and deliver his message in whole.
How to do that?
a) To use personal visual themes.
It’s tempting to download a free theme, but it has several soft spots:
- another presenter may pick the same design.
- free themes make presentations less authoritative.
On the other hand, original visual themes will help to keep the flow. So, a presenter can:
- Add his name or logo to each slide;
- Use one and the same color scheme;
- Apply the same style to all graphic materials.
b) To choose right colors.
Cold colors work best when used for backgrounds, and warm colors are good for foreground objects.
Other tips include:
- Dark backgrounds with light texts are perfect for dark auditorium; if a presentation room is light, it’s better to use light backgrounds and dark texts.
- It’s better to highlight the most significant messages with an accent color.
c) To choose right fonts.
The best advice here would be:
- To not use more than two fonts (usually, one is enough);
- To pick easily scannable fonts (Serif fonts are highly advisable).
4. Data presentation: charts, graphs and diagrams.
Data visualization helps to support and appeal, which makes presentations more descriptive.
Visual data must be:
- Easy to understand. A reporter shouldn’t overload his presentation with elements, using large numbers and contrast colors.
- Congruent with a message. A reporter shouldn’t look decent when speaking about growth.
Presenters use different types of charts for different purposes:
- Pie Charts - to show the distribution of values.
- Vertical Bar Charts - to show change over time (as a rule, annual and monthly values are compared).
- Line Charts - to show change over time (and add predictions for the future).
When supported with professionally designed slides, presentations have more chances to catch the eye of the audience and make them understand and consume the message a reporter tries to get out. This slides preparation checklist is aimed to help speakers prove they follow every single piece of advice from the article.