How to Create Effective Presentation Slides

At some point in your professional career you may be called upon to make a presentation. Fortunately there is presentation software that is available that makes giving those presentations a fairly simple process. The key is in knowing how to create effective presentation slides.

In learning how to create effective presentation slides you need to put yourself in your audiences seat. Many presenters get so caught up in all of the bells and whistles of the technology that the heart of the presentation gets lost. These tips will help you keep your focus so your audience gets the most out of the presentation.

Text

Unless you are presenting a slide show of your latest vacation pictures you are going to be using text on your presentation slides. You will need to make sure that the text you use is easy to read for the people that are viewing your presentation.

The size of the font will depend on how large the room is, how far away the audience is, and how large the screen you are projecting on. You need to make sure that the font you choose is easy to read for the people in the back row of the room.

You also need to make sure that you do not overload your slide with text. It is a natural tendency of people to read the slide that is on the screen. If they are reading the slide while you are speaking, they will miss what it is you are saying.

The other danger of too much text is that you may fall into the trap of reading your slides. It is much better to include bullet points or short lines to highlight the major points you are making.

The final thing you absolutely must do is check your text for spelling and grammar mistakes. You do not want your audience to be so focused on small mistakes that it distracts them from your presentation. Read the text on your slides several times, and them ask someone else to proofread your work.

Background

Use a simple background to add interest to your slides. A subtle background can make your presentation look more professional. If there is a design on your background, make sure that it is consistent across all of your slides. Using too many different backgrounds looks amateurish, and can appear as if you are just showing off your ability to find different backgrounds.

Your background should compliment the text you are using. If the background is too “busy” it will detract from your text. You also want to make sure that the shade of the background enhances the text and does not mask it. Make sure your text is easy to read. If your audience has to strain to see what is written they will stop paying attention to the presentation.

Graphics / Animations

Graphics can add interest to your slides, and if done well they can really enhance the presentation. However, if you do not choose your graphics wisely they can turn your professional presentation into a mess.

First, your graphics should be appropriate and relevant to the topic. If you are speaking on a new product line, it would be appropriate to include images of some of the products. It would not be appropriate to have your slide cluttered with photos of dogs and flowers.

If you are presenting data, a graphic of a bar graph or a pie chart is much preferred to using a table of raw data. The graphics will make your point, while the data chart will be hard to read, and you will end up losing your audience.

Layout

In general, when you lay your slides out, remember the axiom that “less is more.” Keep your slides simple and uncluttered. Make sure that everything that is on the slide serves a purpose and is easy to understand. Look at your slides not only as the presenter, but also as an audience member.

Learning how to create effective presentation slides is a skill that can enhance your professional reputation. By learning to do professional quality presentations you will be perceived as an expert in the area you are presenting on. Continue working to refine this skill and watch your reputation grow.