If you’re like other managers you’ve sat through or given more presentations then you can remember. While presentations are an important part of business, many presenters fail to get their message across because of their slides. If you don’t have good slides, the probability of your presentation going well is pretty low.
Here are nine tips on how to prepare a good Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.
- Choose a relevant layout. When you choose the layout or template for your slides, pick something that’s simple and non-distracting. If you’re presenting yearly earnings, a background of flowers probably isn’t the best choice. Under no circumstances should you put your company’s logo as a background, this can make slides incredibly distracting. Put it in the header or footer instead.
- Colors. It’s important to pick a good colour scheme for your slides. The keyword here is, “contrast.” Pick colors that contrast and are easy on the eyes. A white background with black text is good, a red background with black text is bad. If you want to use your company’s colours and they don’t contrast well, pick one of your colors and another that’s a good contrast.
- Images. Pictures and graphics capture our attention, text puts us to sleep. The general rule of thumb is to have more visuals than text. Don’t have images for the sake of images, instead pick ones that convey what you want to say. Many good presenters will have a slide with nothing but an attention grabbing image, and use it to talk about their main idea.
- KISS your text. KISS stands for Keep It Stupidly Simple. Text should be kept to a minimum, at most five lines or bullet points per slide. The best presentations use only keywords or showcase the utmost important data and save explanations for the presentation.
- Eliminate animations. It can be tempting to have text or images pop up every few seconds. Resist the temptation, as it’s incredibly hard to match your presentation speed with that of the animations. Having to speed up or wait for animation will make you look unprofessional.
- Remain consistent. If there’s one key rule with presentations, it’s remain constant. This applies to everything in your presentation. Keep the font size, font, image type, colour scheme and layout the same throughout the presentation. If you put your logo in a header on one slide, it should be in the header on all the slides.
- Audience. When developing a presentation you should always keep in mind who your audience is. If you’re presenting to a marketing firm, they probably don’t need to see more than one or two slides with financial information. Beyond that, be sure to prepare a version of the slides for your audience. Any explanations and extra information should be put in here as well.
- Keep the file size down. If you’re presenting on another system or will be emailing the slides, it’s a good idea to ensure the file is as small as possible. The bigger it is, the slower it’ll load and the higher the chance it will stutter or crash.
- Practice. Go over the slides ahead of time and be sure you know the content inside and out. Another benefit to practicing is you will often catch mistakes and knowledge gaps that you can fix before you present.