Presentation Tips – Getting Prepared (Part I)

One of the keys to making a great presentation is being prepared. This doesn’t mean throwing a presentation together the night before. It means researching your topic, putting valuable information into the presentation, reviewing the slides, considering the audience you are presenting to, and making sure that the presentation is visually appealing.

Addressing the last point is extremely important. A presentation that is drab, boring, hard to see, and full of text is a sure way to lose the interest of the audience. So when you are creating or reviewing your presentation, here are a few guidelines that you should keep in mind to address all these issues:

  • Limit the amount of text on a slide. Only include in the key points. PPT is not a word processing application. A general rule of thumb is to use no more than 5 bullets per slide.

  • Check the formatting of your slide, including contrast and font size. Make sure that people will be able to easily read any text on the slide. Ideally, you should start with 18 and go up from there if necessary. Anything less is too small.
  • Use pictures instead of text when ever possible. Pictures are more powerful than text and are often more effective in getting a point across.
  • Make sure that charts and graphs are not too complicated. Otherwise your audience will be trying to figure out the information instead of listening to you.
  • Create your own notes to go along with each slide. This is a great way to remind yourself of important points you want to discuss without having to include it in a slide. PowerPoint allows you to add notes to each slide.
  • Run through your PowerPoint presentation before hand so there are no surprises. Stumbling across something in your presentation makes you look unprepared and even unprofessional.
  • Think about where you are presenting when putting the slides presentation together. Don’t use a white background with black font if you are going to be in a dark room.

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