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.

Negotiate From Both Sides of the Table

The fourth chapter of “Done Deal: Insights from Interviews with the World’s Best Negotiators” by Michael Benoliel, Ed.D with Linda Cashdan opens with a quote by former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, “Nine-tenths of the serious controversies which arise in life result from . . . one man not knowing the facts which to the other man seem important, or otherwise failing to appreciate his point of view.” There is a lot to this quote and the idea that a negotiator, to be successful, must know the needs of the other party.

Sometimes during a negotiation it may appear that your interests are fundamentally incompatible with those of the other side. Regardless if some interests really do coincide, becoming biased or trapped into the thinking that they are not will most likely result in a failure to reach agreement. Successful negotiators not only seek out areas of compatibility that lead to agreements, but strive to overcome areas of incompatibility once identified. Negotiating from both sides of the table, or knowing what the other party needs, assists in accomplishing this.

During my opening statement during mediations I often remind the parties that they came to the mediation looking for something, and that it is the people at the table who have the ability to give them what they came for. I explain that while it may be helpful or persuasive in a courtroom to say a person’s a liar and try to discredit them, for the mediation purposes it’s sometimes helpful to remember that the people sitting at the table are the people who have what they came for.

This is the same for any negotiation; you are looking for something only the other side can provide. As I wrote in the last column on BATNAs, the only reason to negotiate is to produce a result better than you can obtain without negotiating. Therefore, the negotiator must be able to bridge substantive differences in order to accommodate the needs of both parties to structure proposals and finally agreements. In order to do this, and I’ll repeat myself here, the successful negotiator must know the needs of the other party.

While this idea seems fairly simple and uncomplicated, in practice, it can be just the opposite. Often during a negotiation it is difficult to step outside yourself, and your issues, to focus on those of your counterparts. It is quite easy to ignore your opponent’s point of view entirely. I specifically use the term “opponent” because that is how many negotiators view those they are negotiating with rather than a partner in a collaborative process toward mutual benefit. And while this latter view is the ideal, it is certainly a bit optimistic and maybe unrealistic for every negotiation. However it can be a goal to strive toward. Getting back to my main point, according to Benoliel, there is substantial academic research supporting the notion that negotiators tend to ignore even readily available information about the other side.

Because understanding the issues of your counterparts on the other side of the negotiation table is so important, the successful negotiator should work toward developing the mindset that will enable the learning and understanding of those issues. One way to do this in your preparation stages is to mentally bargain from both sides of the table. You can think of it like preparing for a debate without knowing what side you will be chosen to represent. You prepare arguments for both sides. While negotiating, mentally bargain for both sides. Doing this will help you explore their issues and positions and help your understanding. Doing this can assist you with creating win-win situations.

This is not necessarily easy. In fact, it can be very difficult at times to develop an accurate picture of your counterparts across the table. This is especially true in conflict situations, and the more heated the conflict, the more difficult it can become. During these times, we need to step back and remember that skilled negotiators invest in finding out as much about the other side as possible, especially what the other side’s interests are, so they can work toward agreements together.

There is more than one side in a negotiation, and to pursue your goals successfully, you need to enter the negotiations with a clear sense of your own objectives and bottom line and an understanding of your counterpart’s reality as well. Learn their goals, their interests, and their constraints. Try and determine what their BATNA may be. Mentally sit on their side of the table for a while and determine that you are going to work with, and not against, the other side. Do this and accomplishing your goals through successful negotiations will be much easier.

Corporate Event Management – For Conference Presentations and More

Business events can often be stressful and difficult to organise, whether they are small conferences or big corporate events. A corporate event management company will help remove some of the stress involved when putting on these sorts of event. An event management consultant will help you plan the event while also providing advice and recommendations when choosing venues and locations.

When organising a conference or seminar it is important to keep it simple, relevant and interesting. There are many ways you can do this by improving your presentation skills so you can control and keep the attention of your audience or by involving the audience with handouts, demonstrations and tasks. A good corporate events management consultant will be able to guide you through every step from booking the venue, hiring equipment and arranging a schedule to helping run the event on the day itself.

For those of you who are not too confident when it comes to speaking in front of groups of people then presentation skills training might be needed. A good consultant will either be able to provide you with a course in presentation skills training or help you find someone who can. The training will show you how to make the best use of your slide show by sticking to the main points and using prompts to remind you of what to say. Most people take in a higher amount of information through imagery rather than words and you will also learn how to use this to your advantage.

Event management is a vital part of any corporate event and so it is a good idea to hire a company to take care of the management of your event. The amount of time and effort that it takes to organise a corporate event you are better off hiring someone to help with the event management. This will help you create a unique and innovative event on any sized budget.