presentation tips

10 Ways to Improve Your Presentation

Tell the truth. You have sat through a really bad presentation before. The speaker may have been good, but the presentation was sub par or just plain bad.

Did it start out with the person unable to hook up their computer, claiming they just don’t know about these “new” things.

Perhaps, they were tech savvy, but their presentation slides were filled with sentences in a 12 point font, and they read each sentence displaying on their slides to the audience. You happened to be sitting at the table in the back and it all appeared like chicken scratch to you. It was a 2 hour session. Ouch.

So many people just do not know how to effectively use presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote. They have made an investment in powerful laptops, yet don’t understand how to use the basic features that can engage and capture their audiences.

Funny example, I recently attended a day workshop and the presenter decided that her laptop had the wrong background appearing for the audience. She immediately changed the background to her Facebook page and kept it viewing for the first hour, without silencing her notifications. So every few minutes the audience would hear the alert sound as people contacted her on Facebook. That could have been a great tool if she had been presenting about effective ways to use Facebook, but she was speaking about an unrelated topic.

Here are some practical ways to improve your presentations.

Music

Before your presentation begins play music. Especially, if you are waiting for people to arrive or get settled. Music sets the mood and makes your participants excited about what you have to share. Music is also just a really great way to end. It evokes emotions; joy, tears, a communal spirit, and often applause.

Photos

Forget using words. Make your presentation 90% images. Yes, that is correct. You have heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Font Size

Make sure you use a minimum font size of 48, but larger is more effective. Have you had to sit through a PowerPoint presentation that is in size 14 font. Brutal.

Use more slides

I know what you are thinking if my font size increases, I can’t fit that many words onto my slide. Correct. So put them on the next slide, and then the next. PowerPoint or Keynote can have an infinite amount of slides.

Word Document

Remember that a presentation should in no way resemble a Word document.

Fullscreen

Whatever program, app, or photo you are showing to your audience will always look better if you can display it in full screen mode. If the photo or video is inserted into your slide presentation you can manually enlarge it so that it fills the entire slide.

Videos

Include appropriate short video clips as part of your presentation. YouTube or Facebook are great places to search for videos related to your topic.

Blank Screen

If you are pausing to discuss something unrelated to the slide showing, or if you are answering questions, then switch to a blank screen.  Be mindful that what you have viewing to your audience does not distract, is on topic, and makes sense.

Slideshows

Create and use slideshows more. They are great openings or closings to a presentation. You can make a slide show filled with quotes and pictures. Also, you can intermix slides into your show with instructions to participants such as pick up your name tags at the back table. You could also have a slide that has your contact information, social media links, etc. Great to use during a break or while you are waiting for people to arrive.

Screen Saver

The screen saver feature on your laptop can be used to set the mood. They are lovely ocean, aquarium, nature, and wildlife screen savers. You can find an appropriate one for your presentation. They are nice to use when participants are working in groups and you want to change what is projecting on the screen. Screen savers are also great to use before a presentation begins.

Reading is not allowed

If you are able to read your presentation out loud from your slides, because it is mostly words, then that is a clear sign you need to improve your presentation and implement these tips.

Use Your Own Presentation

If you have ever had to use someone else’s PowerPoint or one that you did not create then you understand the challenge. You just can’t be an effective presenter when you use another’s material. At some point you will be on a slide and you have no idea what it means. Even worse, you might end up just reading.

Take Away

Don’t get so stuck on your presentation that you miss the important part. Keep in mind that participants are in your class/session because they are seeking a take away. Hopefully, you understand what they desire to take away from the time they spend with you. The take away is not usually sitting and listening to you talk for an hour without any interaction. People simply have a short attention span. So consider that a excellent presentation is brief. Or rethink that you should be doing mini presentations if your topic is involved, then take a break or have a group activity, and then do another mini presentation.

Just a Tool

Great presenters tell stories and use many tools to engage and teach their audiences. Using PowerPoint or Keynote is just a tool and should be used sparingly to be effective.

Hire us to Coach You

We are happy to offer you more advice and work with you one on one to give your presentations that WOW factor. Coaching starts at $95 for a 1 hour session. Click to Email Us.

Okay that was more than 10 ways…Comment below or post at our Facebook page how you will improve your presentations.

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