May 5, 2020 / 

Brad Hawkes

10 dos and don'ts of impactful presentations

10 dos and donts of impactful presentations

In this post, we get straight to it and list ten things to keep in mind when you're creating your next PowerPoint presentation. Follow these and you'll be well on your way to mic-dropping at work. 

5 dos 

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1. Make the most of your introduction

You only get one first impression, and your audience will decide whether to listen to you in the first few seconds. Instead of wasting your introduction on boring background info about your department or company, find something relevant to your audience.

Figure out what interests them, mention something local, or bring up a current event everyone's been talking about recently. The idea is to find points of connection and bring them along for the rest of the talk. 

 

2. Use 30+ for text and 40+ for titles

When you're creating a sendout presentation or presenting in a video call, you might be able to downsize a little, but if you're presenting live in a boardroom or on a stage, bigger is often better. So, don’t make your audience reach for their reading glasses–always use font size 30 or larger for text and 40 or larger for titles.

 

3. Ask: Do I really need this slide?

Never use filler slides. More slides won't make you look more professional. What's really professional is to use slides when they add value and be confident without them when they don’t.

 

4. Make sure you care

We get it; sometimes you just need to stand up and give a report or rattle off some sales figures. But generally, try to talk about things you’re actually passionate about. If you don’t care, why should your audience? 

Sounds simple, but how do you translate that to an ordinary day at the office when you need to present those numbers? Stick to the most important stats and try throwing in a story or comparing the numbers to something of interest to bring them into perspective. The point is to keep people engaged and stop them switching off. 

  

5. Always end with your main takeaway

Don’t bury the lead in the middle of your presentation. Even if you climax and drop your truth bomb before the end, make sure to reiterate and tell them what you told them. Reminding people about your key message or action point increases their chances of actually acting on it.

 


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5 don'ts 

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1. Don't mix different styles

Whether you’re into modern icons, emojis, colorful illustrations, or old school clipart; always try to stick to a style. Mixing visual styles too much usually ends up looking messy.

 

2. Don't use cliché images

Skip the suited men shaking hands, the arrow in the bullseye, and that image of a puzzle with one piece out of place. They may help illustrate your point, but they might also help put some people to sleep. Try something a little less predictable they haven't already seen in everyone else's presentation.

 

3. Don't overfill your slides

We often say: one message per slide. Why? To let your content breathe. The same goes for design elements. Never use more than five things per slide if you want them to stand out. Otherwise you risk crowding your content and complicating your message.  

 

4. Don't use tacky transitions

Used well, tasteful transitions and animations can really enhance your presentation. Poorly handled, they can make you look cheap and cheesy faster than a takeaway cheeseburger from McDonald’s.

 

5. Don't out everything on your slides

If you’re including everything in your PowerPoint, you should switch to Word and send your audience a document instead. Presentations are for presenting, so make sure you’ve got something to say that isn't already on the screen.

 

There you go: five things to do and five to avoid next time you're creating slides. If you're working from home and need some pointers on how to tailor your content to an online presentation delivered on a smaller screen, we've put together a few best practices here

 

 

Who wrote this?  

This was posted by Brad Hawkes, our Director of Marketing here at Pickit. He's not a professor of rhetoric and he's never given a TED Talk. He has, however, clocked up over 1000 presentations, seminars and talks over the last 15 years, picking up a few ideas along the way. He once spoke to a crowd of 5000, but mostly he's spoken to crowds of 5, and he's always looking for simpler, clearer ways to say things and get a message across. He also makes a fine cup of coffee.