We've all been there, sitting in front of a long and boring presentation filled with charts and small text you can't even read. Now that it's your turn to present, don't make the same mistakes you see all too often.
The most important things to consider when preparing your presentation are the content, design, and delivery format.
Presentations should have a structure that makes sense, and the content should support your main message and goal. And design isn't all about making it pretty; you want something that will grab your readers' attention and keep them engaged without being overpowering. Finally, in what format you intend to deliver your presentation affects its content and design: Are you presenting it live, sending it to prospects via email, or delivering it some other way?
Your presentation should have an introduction, the middle, and a summary. Each section should engage the viewer while keeping your product, company, or idea in mind. Every slide you write should support your main message and the objective of your presentation. If it doesn't, toss it!
Plan out your presentation before starting to write the content so that you can create a logical flow from one topic to the other. You don't want to jump around between topics and lose your readers' interest
The introduction of the presentation differs depending on the type of presentation you're creating.
In a presentation about your company, the introduction will have a paragraph or a few bullet points about the company. If you are introducing an idea or innovation, you may want to write about the market size or market need in the introduction slide. If your presentation is for teaching a subject to your audience, you might want to write out an entire introduction (assuming you'll hand out the presentation or otherwise provide it to the audience).
Finally, if your presentation is long, consider adding a slide with the table of contents before the introduction slide.
The middle part of your presentation is where all the important content will be. This is where you want to include all of the information that supports your main message and helps you reach your objective. If you are promoting your product, then you'll want to add slides about the market opportunity, your solution, your competitors, etc.
Add a summary slide at the end of your presentation that encapsulates the important points, particularly those you want your readers or audience to remember. The summary should consist of only one slide, with either a very short paragraph or a few bullet points.
Your presentation's design is important, and you should take the time to create a look and feel that matches your brand and your content and helps rather than hinders your content, or hire a professional designer to do it for you.
You can find great designs by using presentation platforms that allow you to simply choose a template; you just add text and other content. Just make sure to choose a template that is in line with your brand language and the content you will be presenting.
Again, your design should be eye-catching and engaging, but not too much so that you don't overshadow the content and take away from what really matters. That balancing act can get a little tricky, so you'll have to take the time to review and edit your presentation until it's just right. Don't clutter your slides either with images or content; otherwise, your readers will lose interest from information overload. Make sure the backgrounds and colors don't make the text hard to read. And although music and videos can be a great addition to a presentation, don't get too excited and add them to every slide.
The most important thing is getting your message across. If you see that the design is not helping you do that, change it.
You might think that swirly and fancy texts look impressive, but they won't help you in a presentation if you want your readers to actually read the text. Instead, use basic and familiar fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Helvetica for the actual content.
Be consistent with your font shape and size throughout the entire presentation so that it looks polished and professional.
Visuals vs. Text
Why do readers love infographics? Because they are a good combination of visuals and text and allow the reader to "get the message" at a glance. When possible, use visuals, including graphs and charts, to present your data instead of just a table with numbers.
Through which channels you deliver your presentation influences the content and even design.
If you are going to present it live in front of an audience, you won't be standing there just reading the slides, so you need the presentation to have less content and to simply support what you will be saying. If you plan to deliver it via email to a prospective partner, investor, or client, you need the presentation to have all of the information they need because you won't be there to explain or answer questions as they go through it. In that case, you'll have more text and more slides.
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Don't expect a presentation to be a one-hour project. These things take time and require your full attention if you want them to get results. Expect multiple drafts and lots of edits before reaching the presentation that you feel properly conveys your message.