Presentation Perfection

Connecting is Critical to Success:

Presentations are often the very thing that can make or break a company’s bottom line. Common uses include pitch books, management overviews, educating clients, delivering product information, and staff training. No matter what your purpose is for creating a presentation, the very best tip for making them effective is to keep your audience as the central focus — with the goal of communicating clearly to them.

Avoid these common pitfalls to make your presentations more professional:

Annoying Animations —Lots of moving text, flying graphics, tacky transitions and silly sounds do very little to enhance your point. Including them for the sake of movement is just plain distracting.  Just because a feature of your program is there, doesn’t mean you should use it.

Awkward Arrows — Overly complex diagrams or charts with arrows that cause the audience to strain to get the point means that you need to refine and simplify your message. Consider breaking down into several smaller concepts.

Bad Backgrounds — Backgrounds should be clean and not distracting. Avoid complicated designs. Good contrast with the background is essential to make your text easy to read. Backgrounds should be appropriate to your message and your organization’s image.

Brand Abandonment Haphazardly abandoning all the hard work you have put into your company’s image only dilutes your message. Your presentation should be visually aligned with the properly used design elements that include your logo, colors, type and secondary images.  Establish company-wide standards for presentations and maintain them.

Bullet Boredom — Presentations that are all bullets are boring. Bring life to your message by combining compelling visuals with non-bulleted text can make a great impact.

Canned Clipart — Visuals can add tremendous power and clarity to any presentation, but clipart snatched from a free website almost always misses the mark.

Color Craziness —Presentations are often hard to see because poor use of color. Avoid electrifying or unusual color choices.  Inconsistent use of color throughout the deck is also problematic. Unless you are a professional designer, it is best to stick to two main colors and use a third color sparingly

Dated Design — Design trends are constantly evolving.  A professional, contemporary design influences how your audience your views the quality of your content or product.  If in doubt, use a simple slide design with contrasting colors and clear fonts.

Font Fatigue — Issues that commonly cause fatigue include: using many different typefaces, selecting a random or generic font that doesn’t support your brand, using too many font sizes and choosing fonts like Garamond and Times Roman that were never designed for presentation use.

Ginormous Graphics — Graphics have tremendous power, but huge graphics will dominate and over-power your presentation. Overly large graphics are jarring and make it appear as if you are “shouting”. Use graphics on a scale that is appropriate for message.  They should look refined and carefully incorporated into the overall presentation.

Image Inconsistency — Use a similar style for each slide or page so that the presentation is consistent in appearance. Using a mish-mash of photos, clipart, animations, fonts , colors and formats only adds noise to your presentation. Be thoughtful of your design choices. Strive to create a presentation that is professional and polished.

Information Overload — Audiences only retain a few key points from and an entire presentation. A cluttered slide with screen full of information is more than anyone can absorb.  If you have something to offer that is complex or detailed in nature consider offering it in a handout or PDF format.

Mixed Messages – Ideas need to be thoughtfully organized. Even when the presenter is prepared and knowledgeable, poor presentation flow that causes them to jump around from slide-to- slide creates unnecessary confusion.

Pointless Pages   A page should be covered in a minute or two of narration.  10-12 slides should be the goal for most presentations.  If it needs to longer only put one or two key points on a page and strive to make it more visual than textual.

Required Reading  –  Presentations are not white papers. Paragraphs of text in small print will only alienate your audience from your message. Eliminate unnecessary words. Use bullets instead of full sentences.

Template Traps – Ready-made templates are not your brand. They are often amateurish looking and poorly constructed.  If you can, hire an experienced designer to at least build your template for you.  If you can’t hire a designer start with one of the simplest free ones that come with the program.  Add your logo and change your colors to match your brand.  Don’t try to get fancy or artistic.  Just focus on the developing compelling content and quality of your presenting skills.


Extraordinary Presentations Can Translate to Extraordinary Results

When done properly presentations are one of the most impressive and cost-effective ways to communicate your message.  A well-designed presentation can have great impact on the overall performance of presenters and more easily communicate concepts that are difficult to grasp by talking alone.  Investing the time and effort necessary to create an extraordinary presentation can have a direct and measurable impact on sales and revenue.