Slides ... A Great Visual Tool
Slides can be a very effective tool that can help you get your message through to your audience with an impact specially when you want to focus their attention on something specific or to stimulate interest or reinforce key ideas or information. Unfortunately many speakers use slides in ways that reduce rather than enhance, their presentation's impact, slides can negatively impact your presentation if you use it to avoid interaction with your audience or if you stuff your slides with overwhelming amount of details or really kill your audience by reading the slides instead of using them as supporting material.
Tips for Great slides and visuals
When considering what type of visual representation to use for your data or ideas, here are some rules of thumb to consider:
1- Keep slides to a minimum
One of the biggest problems in presentations is the overuse of slides. A useful rule of thumb is one slide for every two minutes of presentation time. Also if you can avoid a slide by saying something, then do it, always remember the less slides you have the better it is.
2- Add pictures.
It's true that a picture speaks a thousand words so try to use graphs, pictures, flow charts, etc., all give the viewer an insight that would otherwise require many words or columns of numbers.
3- One key point per slide.
Keep the focus of the slide simple and clear by focusing on just one idea per slide. Presenting more than one main idea per slide can seriously detract from the impact.
4- careful with your colors
Make sure everyone in the room can see your slides walk over to all corners of the room to make sure people sitting there can see clearly.
Basic principles for using color in slides:
1. Keep a consistent theme or template throughout the presentation.
2. Generally, use a clear background for slides.
3. Use high contrast to increase legibility (e.g., black text on clear and yellow on dark blue).
4. Colors should not clash-they should have a high degree of harmony.
5. Avoid clutter by using no more than three or four colors.
5- Keep animation to a minimum
The point is definitely not to impress your audience with animation and flying text and pictures, the use of simple animations is much more professional besides using a lot of animation can interfere with the content of your message.
6- Create a roadmap and a conclusion slide
Share the way you organized the presentation with your audience by creating a roadmap slide at the beginning explaining (with illustration if possible) the journey you are about to take them on with the key points along the way. Also a conclusion slide at the end of your presentation with a summary of the key messages and the conclusion you want the audience to reach or the action you want them to take.
7- Five bullets Max.
For bullet-point slides. Limit the content of each slide to a maximum of five bullet points (including any subpoints) and a maximum of five words per bullet. Keep the grammar and style of bullet points consistent, and use a parallel construction for each point on a slide.
8- Use Keywords
Try to use descriptive key ideas and key words, if long sentences or lengthy explanations are needed, keep those for the handouts. Avoid using long bullet points with full sentences.
9- Number every slide.
This can help viewers catch up if they join the presentation late or if they lose the thread of the discussion.
10- Follow a consistent color Scheme
Adapt your company's color and scheme guidelines or if you are free to choose, then use a consistent theme with dark colors for backgrounds or objects and light color for text for clarity and to improve readability
11- Use Sans Serif fonts
Sans Serif fonts that are easier and faster to read like Arial and Helvetica, specially if you have a large audience, a sans serif font improves readability.
12- Use Large font size
try to keep your font size as large as possible to ensure clarity and readability, your audience may have difficulty reading any font less than 20 points.
13- Pictures, photographs, and video clips
Are always great to use and can break the monotony of slide after slide of bullet points. However, it is important to keep drawings and diagrams simple and to the point.
14- Using Animations
Animating drawings is one of the simplest ways to keep an audience's attention. Just don't overdo it.
While animation can help explain the flow of a complex process, too much animation keeps your audience waiting for the next visual trick, rather than paying attention to what you are saying.
15- Have a backup copy.
If you are not sure that you will be able to project your presentation from your laptop computer, have a version printed as a backup.
16- You are the messenger
Remember your slides should not be the focus but you are the messenger and slides are just there to support you deliver your message with impact. slides are just a communication aid.
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