So it’s you and your trusty visual aid on the stage, in front of a looking, anticipating crowd. You’re about to deliver a pitch. You fire up your presentation and start talking away, only to find halfway through the engagement that your audience is uninterested. Was it you? Was it your presentation or its design? What went wrong?
You’re confident it’s not something you did or something you lack. You’re confident you did it as perfectly as you can: clear and audible voice, open body language, inviting and warm atmosphere, great connection with the audience, and avoiding habits like over-smiling and overacting. If nothing points to you, then something’s wrong with your visual aid, right?
Less is More
There are common mistakes when it comes to presentation. One is there’s too much stuff on the slides: walls of texts, images that fill up white space, pictures that are unrelated to the topic, flashy transition animations or object effects, or any combination of these. Another is its complete opposite: having too little, whether it’s one line of text that isn’t the main point or the lack of interesting images that can drive a point home. Those kinds of mistakes are really presentation killers.
Read more on what presenters do to influence their audience.
So how you do avoid mistakes? Let’s go back to the basics with this infographic from SlideGenius.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Nobody becomes a master overnight. Becoming good at something takes a lot of effort, even more practice, and precise mastery of the basics. The last is not easy, but you’ll get there. Work towards it.
But don’t put yourself on a last-stand position. As with anything, preparation is key. Take this exercise as part of that. Study the basics over and over again. You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot more to gain.
Design is not a small matter to just do willy-nilly. In today’s world of short attention spans, retaining attention becomes harder than arresting it.
So when are you going to create the next best PowerPoint presentation?
McSpadden, Kevin. “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish.” Time. May 14, 2015. www.time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish
Pinola, Melanie. “How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck.” Lifehacker. June 9, 2011. www.lifehacker.com/5810271/how-to-create-presentations-that-dont-suck
“Presentation Design 101: How to really presentations that really engage [with templates].” Canva. May 5, 2016. designschool.canva.com/blog/presentation-design-101