Originally printed in The Appleton Post Crescent, February 2, 2014.
In the first two parts of this series, we covered what not to do as well as how to do better as a public speaker with a visual presentation. Today, with the help of my fellow colleague, designer Judy Dillenburg, we’re looking at how to make your visual presentation have the same professional clout as you.
While the presenters themselves are the essence of a presentation, visuals play an important role too. Here are some tips you can implement to enhance visual appeal.
1) Start with a good template.
Your presentation is an extension of your brand, so keep it consistent and complementary to other branded pieces and take time to create a versatile template you can reuse for future presentations. Define a set color and font palette, and stick to it. To begin, create three slides — a title slide, a transition slide and a content slide. That way, you’ll be certain your headlines, body copy and images are consistent throughout.
2) You’re the star.
Your audience is there to listen to you. Don’t make them run mazes just to get through the chaos that is your slide. If you really want some pizazz in your presentation, consider seeking the help of a professional. Otherwise, just remember — the elements in your presentation should not compete with each other, or worse, with you. Less is more when it comes to design.
3) Keep your slides clean with minimal text.
Have all headings in the same spot, either centered or near the top left, and your body text smaller so the hierarchy of information is apparent. Make it easy to identify what content is important by keeping the amount of text per slide minimal. Keep your audience listening, not reading.
4) Don’t go overboard with “design-esque” elements.
Stick to your color palette, and choose one font for your headline and another for the body copy. That’s it. Pick a font that pulls its weight – easy to read, but also easy to see from the back of the room. Keep the focus on you, and let the visual presentation play the support role it was intended for. And while we’re on topic, just steer clear of Papyrus font. You’ll thank us later.
5) Visual transitions are overrated.
This rule has some of the worst offenders. You’re not getting brownie points for having words that fly, glitter, dissolve or do magic tricks. Fading is about as theatrical as you need to get. Eyes on you, remember?
6) Infographics are the MVPs of your slides.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and infographics are a great visual way to sum up points of data or complex ideas. Just make sure they serve a purpose. Infographics should simplify, clarify, educate or entertain. Use imagery to help bring your message to life.
Andee Vosters is an account manager at Coalesce Marketing. She can be reached at 920-380-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.