I have seen it all! Literally, I have seen thousands of presentations: great, good, bad and just plain awful.
Presentation visuals are meant to support the speaker and should reinforce the verbal message. This means if the visual has text the audience is reading your slide instead of listening to you deliver your message. Text should be broken down into small sound bites using bullets to organize these important points and help guide the speaker through the items that need to be covered on that particular slide. By reinforcing key data with bold, larger fonts and color you can make the information stand out.
My list of the top five things to enhance your presentation is:
1. Use the master template
The master allows you to organize data that will appear on all of the slides into one template. This format master keeps the logo from shifting and the titles from jumping up and down. As an audience member, we want to see consistency. Set up your master once and use it on every slide.
2. Select colors that work when projected
Select your colors wisely it can mean positive or negative things, red infers trouble or losing money and green usually means good! A well-defined color palette for your slides is key. Use a primary color for titles and bullets. Black is best on a light colored background, and white or yellow on a dark colored background. Using color for the content in your presentation can make it difficult to read and red on a blue background the most troubling.
San serif fonts work best in a projected presentation. The delicate script and serif elements of other fonts are lost on the big screen. Some examples of the best fonts for clear, concise presentations are Arial, Geneva, Helvetica, or Verdana.
Use visuals to support your message. A picture is worth a thousand words but be sure it is relevant to what you are talking about. Graphics enhance a point when they are used properly. Simplify the data as much as possible to get your message across with immediately.
Use sparingly! Animation is good when you are conveying a message with multiple points or in steps. You can set it to auto automate, allowing the speaker to focus on the content and the computer to animate the visuals. My favorite animation is: swipe left to right. Simple and effective!