by Matt McKee
We have all been there. You get called to a meeting and there is a laptop opened up just waiting to present a PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi presentation. You think to yourself, I can’t wait to see this presentation. I bet it is going to be awesome. Okay, nobody has said that about presentations since TED Talks were invite only and in secret locations. That said, we all need to get better at presentations so I thought I would share five things you should do in order to make your presentation more engaging.
Use less than eight words per slide.
I know what you are thinking: But all of my information is important, and I really don’t know my information that well. What if I get nervous and forget something important? Here’s the good news, most people will not remember more than eight specific words from your entire presentation so don’t feel the pressure of putting all 5,000 words on 15 slides.
Use the font Helvetica.
Does it have to be that font? Nope, but it can’t be Comic Sans and probably not Times New Roman. Helvetica is a designer’s go-to font. It is nice, clean, and easy on the eyes from a distance. If you really want to step up your game, you might even choose Helvetica Bold.
Choose three slides with no words or graphs.
If your presentation contains 10-12 slides, then three or four of those slides should have nothing but a picture, a sound, or an object on it. Sure, graphs give you a ton of information on an X and Y axis. However, for the most part, those in the audience only notice if the line goes up or down. Pictures, sounds, and objects give people in the audience a break from looking at the slide and the opportunity to listen to you.
Use a template that you haven’t used before.
I am not against templates at all. Especially when it comes to Prezi.com and what they provide for the presenter. The problem comes when you use the same template every time for all of your presentations. When you use a different template, it makes you (as a presenter) think through the information that you are about to present in a different way. It will also give your audience something to think about to as well.
Have one surprise a-ha moment.
If you had to reveal one truth, one concept, or one point, what would it be? If you couldn’t tell, my whole goal of this article is the old acronym of K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple Silly. I am not asking you to kiss your audience but I am asking you to think about the very first kiss that you ever had. Remember how awkward that was? It was probably because you overthought it. Don’t overthink your presentation. Keep it simple.
If you want to look at great presentations to get your juices flowing, then check out SlideShare.net and look through their top rated presentations. I think you will see many of the five suggestions above.