- The Do’s and Don’ts of Presentations
- 6 Practical Tips To Help You Give Better Presentations
- Tip #1: Design better slides (follow the ‘less is more’ principle)
- Tip #2: Implement cohesive slide design
- Tip #3: Work on your people skills
- Tip #4: Disrupt your presentation from time to time
- Tip #5: Make your call to action easy to follow
- Tip #6: Give handouts or reference material after your presentation
- Can’t wait to give better presentations in 2019?
Are you still using the same old, default templates in PowerPoint? Are you still letting your audience read off your slides by putting way too much text in there? If yes, then you’re in dangerous territory. You’re literally letting your audience suffer from the phenomenon known as ‘death by PowerPoint.’ Want to find out how you can finally put a stop to it? Well, I recommend you give this article a read, so you’d know how to give better presentations in 2019 and beyond.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Presentations
We actually published an article on this very topic a few years ago. But we wanted to add several things that weren’t included in the previous post, hence this article you’re reading right now. If you’re not up to reading that, here’s a quick summary of the do’s and don’ts of presentations we’ve shared back then:
- Keep it real
- Don’t be afraid to get passionate while making a point
- Keep your speech uncluttered and clear
- Maintain eye contact
- Keep the flow going
- Introduce and exit each of your slides gracefully
- Avoid beating around the bush
- Avoid speaking in the first person
- Don’t delay and stretch out a point with unnecessary conjunctions such as well and but
- Don’t be repetitive, it gets boring fast
- Never apologize
- Think of the big picture
- Finish your presentation as you began
All the tips above still hold true to this day. However, a lot has happened since then. Nowadays, you need to do more to stand out from the crowd and make an impact.
6 Practical Tips To Help You Give Better Presentations
It’s time to step out of the past and give your presentations a total makeover. As soon as you apply all these tips, no one should ever accuse you again of being a boring presenter. Or have people say that your presentation slides are nothing but an exercise in mediocrity. From slide design to the presentation itself, these tips will help you give better presentations. In no time at all, you’ll be a better, well-rounded presenter!
Tip #1: Design better slides (follow the ‘less is more’ principle)
For many, this is the hardest part of giving presentations. They may be brilliant speakers, but poor designers. Fortunately, the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) works in the presentation world, too!
You don’t need to bombard your audience with the most dazzling slides they’ve ever seen. In presentations, less is often more. Before adding anything to your slides, check first if it actually adds any value to your presentation. If yes, add it. If not, scrap it. It’s really that simple. But don’t just put that valuable element or object anywhere – it needs to be in the right spot.
It’s easy to end up with ‘noisy’ and cluttered-looking slides. This usually happens when you try to cram as much information as possible on a single slide. When your slide gets busy like that, people tend to lose focus. You want your audience to focus on your message, so make sure it stands out.
For instance, if 1 image can adequately capture the point you’re trying to make, then there’s no need to write an entire paragraph on your slide, is there? There’s no need to add several images when only one can do the job.
This is why the ‘less is more’ principle is important in presentation design. You have a message to share and you want your audience to benefit from that knowledge. If you crowd your slides with non-essential elements, then they become distracted. Pretty soon, they’ll tune you out and stop paying attention to you.
Tip #2: Implement cohesive slide design
Unity is an important aspect of presentation design. Your slides need to look like they actually belong to the same presentation. Use a single, recurring theme throughout. If you use a different theme for different sections, your audience may get confused. More advanced presenters can probably pull this off, but if you’re still wet behind the ears, it’s best to just stick to a single theme.
Here are a few tips you can follow to ensure your design is cohesive:
- Stick to one color theme
Yes, colors play a huge role in presentations. It may sound like a no-brainer to some – just use whatever colors you like here and there, and people are going to automatically love your presentation.
*Sigh.* If only it were that simple.
When it comes to slide colors, there are a lot of things you need to know about. For instance, it’s best to know what the colors you’re using actually mean. This is especially important if you’re presenting to people from various cultures. What you think is a basic, harmless color, may actually mean something else to other people.
Fortunately, learning how to pick the right colors for your presentation is not rocket science. It’s all quite simple really. Choose a color scheme that will work well with your presentation message. This is where knowing the different meanings of colors come in handy.
Let’s say you’re trying to sell a new product that’s geared towards a younger demographic. You want people to perceive your product as something that’s fun, youthful and exciting.
Do you think purple will be a good fit? I don’t think so. I think the colors orange and yellow may be more suitable for your audience. Or maybe even blue if you’re selling to a mainly male audience.
This is, of course, just an example. You know your company or product best. Find the perfect color that will help your brand and your audience, too.
There are a few tools you can use to help you come up with the right color scheme.
- https://www.0to255.com/ – this is a great tool if you intend to use a monochromatic color scheme
- http://paletton.com – one of the best tools for selecting analogous, triadic and tetradic color schemes
- https://coolors.co/browser/best/1 – if you don’t want to mix and match colors, and just want a ready-made color palette that other people are already using.
Once you’ve chosen your color scheme, you need to select one color as your primary color and use the rest as your secondary or accent colors. This is one trick to help ensure cohesiveness and unity in your presentation slides.
- Use the master slide to ‘bake’ repetitive elements
Let’s say you’ve got 100 slides to work on. And you need to add the company logo to each of those slides. How long do you think it’s going to take you to finish this task? 1 minute? 1 hour? 10 hours?
If you answered “1 minute,” then you probably know your way around the slide master. If not, well, let me introduce you to it!
The slide master is, well, the master of all slides. Whatever element you add (or change) to the slide master gets added to all the slides in your presentation! It lets you make universal changes to your slides in just a few clicks.
So, if you don’t want to edit and format standard or repetitive elements one by one, then you better head on over to the master slide. For example, if you want to use the same kind of font for all headers and a different font size for sub-headers, then edit the slide master.
If you want to add your logo to all your slides, you can quickly insert it in the slide master. You no longer need to hit Insert > Pictures to manually add your logo to each slide. So, yes, it’s very much possible to add your logo to 100 slides in just 1 minute!
If you’ve never used the slide master before, you’re seriously missing out. You need to use it if you want to become a better presenter! Check out this guide on how to edit a master slide.
- Use templates to save time
Time is a precious commodity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. Ever. So, if you don’t want to spend (waste?) hours of your life working on slide design, then consider using templates. Fortunately, modern templates look nothing like the hideous-looking templates from years ago!
Did you know we have our very own Template Hub? All our templates are professionally-designed and yes, 100% free. You just need to create a free account and you’ll be ready to download all the templates you desire! No strings attached, promise.
Here, check out some screenshots of our most popular templates:
Not trying to toot our own horn here, but wouldn’t you say these slides look good? As you can see, our templates follow the basic design principle of unity and cohesiveness. Our designers made sure to stick to a color scheme.
Obviously, these templates will make your life a whole lot easier. You just need to replace the placeholder content, make a few changes, and boom! You’re done! Just like that, you’ll have free time to practice your speech!
- Hire a professional presentation design company
You need not do everything yourself. Let our in-house team of professional designers help you with your presentation slides. We’ve worked with thousands of companies throughout the world for almost a decade now.
If you’re concerned about cost, don’t be. We offer one of the most affordable services in the presentation world! We’re so affordable, in fact, that you can get your slides fixed up from just $7 per slide!
Here’s a screenshot of some presentation slides our team has improved:
Example before and after slides of Adidas, a 24Slides.com client
You can clearly see the difference between these slides. The before slides look like they were made by amateurs, and the after slides obviously look so much better. Now, ask yourself, do you want to spend hours or days trying to create slides that look like the after slides?
For a minimum investment (it only cost Adidas $133 to have their slides redesigned), you can free up a lot of time. You can use this extra time to work on your speech. Plus, you’ll end up with a bunch of professional-looking slides!
Tip #3: Work on your people skills
Just because you’re going to be some distance away from your audience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be interacting with them. Don’t let that distance deter you from getting to know them. You have an important message – it’s important to win their trust. You can’t do that if you don’t build some rapport with your audience.
If you’re presenting in front of a relatively small crowd, your people skills are going to come in handy. You may want to think about going to the venue early and greeting your guests as they come in. Introduce yourself and get to know them on an individual basis. Then when you go to the podium or stage, you can make them feel special by acknowledging their presence.
Another trick you can try to give better presentations is to speak to only a single person in your audience. Pretend that person is your best friend, so you can talk in a more relaxed and conversational tone. Let your passion show. Let it be heard through your voice.
It’s also important to speak your audience’s language. I don’t mean literal language, but more like how they communicate. For instance, if you’re speaking in front of an elderly crowd, you don’t want to use terminology that only millennials will understand.
Likewise, if your audience is made up of young people, you may not want to address them too formally. Use the words they actually use, and they’ll see you as someone they can relate to and trust.
Also, use humor if possible. This will help break the ice. Make sure not to overdo it though. Unless, of course, your presentation is supposed to be a comedy of sorts. Take note that a little humor can go a long way, but too much can be pretty annoying.
Tip #4: Disrupt your presentation from time to time
This trick works in small doses. On the one hand, it helps wandering minds go back to your presentation. On the other hand, it can cause highly engaged audiences to disengage.
Look at your audience and gauge their reactions. Are they listening to you? Or do they look like they’re bored out of their minds? If you think they can use a little break, then stop or pause your presentation by turning off your projector or computer screen. They’ll probably be confused at first, but you will get their full attention.
Ask them to do something (like a quick exercise) to help shake off the sleepiness. You know your audience best – figure out something that will help them focus on your presentation. Give them some nice incentives to encourage them to participate.
However, if they are already focused on you 100%, then this step may not be necessary. You don’t want them to lose their train of thought. So, power on with your message and don’t let up until you conclude your presentation!
Tip #5: Make your call to action easy to follow
Every presentation needs a solid call to action (CTA). Something that will encourage your audience to take action right away, and not put off at a later time.
Think about it like this: you’ll spend a lot of time crafting your presentation and perfecting your speech. If no one takes action on your message, then you may very well be wasting your time.
Your CTA should be in line with your presentation’s goals. So, you need to define first what exactly you’re hoping to achieve with your presentation.
Are you trying to sell something? Do you want people to visit your website or sign up to your mailing list? Do you want people to join your cause or donate to your organization?
Once you’ve identified your goal, you can easily come up with the right CTA. However, it’s important that your CTA is easy enough for people to follow. Don’t ask them to do something that’s more than they can chew. If your CTA is too complicated or too difficult, then your audience will most likely reject it.
Get people to commit to your CTA. Have a system in place where you can follow up with those who haven’t taken action yet. If you’re trying to get leads or sales for your business, a sales or marketing funnel will help you win more business in the long run.
Tip #6: Give handouts or reference material after your presentation
Let your audience focus on you for the duration of your presentation. If you give your handouts way too early, they’ll be more likely to just read it and not pay attention to you. Sure, you may have a couple of geeks in your audience who’ll still listen and jot down some notes on the handout. But for the majority? I think it’s safe to say they’ll be busy fiddling with their phones from that point on.
If you need to, you can tell your audience that you’ll be giving handouts or reference materials afterwards. But emphasize that they should still pay attention to the presentation or else, the handout may not make any sense to them. Plus, they’ll miss out on many surprise elements not covered in the handout.
Lastly, when creating your handout, don’t just print out your slides. While you don’t need to give them your entire speech, try to put some effort into making your handout. Consider putting your call to action at the very top. It will remind people to take action ASAP.
Can’t wait to give better presentations in 2019?
You’re probably excited to start working on your next presentation! We’ve written this article to help you give better presentations from this point forward. Bookmark this page if you need to or take down some notes. Your path to becoming a better presenter just got a whole lot easier!