How to make a good presentation

Before you start:

  • Gather the necessary material and arrange it in a logical sequence.
  • For best results, maintain a content theme and format by using common borders page layouts and colors.
  • Ensure the correct placement and usage of the company logo, if applicable.
  • Most people only absorb about three key points from a speech.
  • What about those key points and how are they best communicated visually?
  • Remember that the visuals are used to emphasize important points, not to reproduce the speaker's notes.
  • Illustrate one topic per slide.
  • Determine your objective, are you instructing, informing or selling a product or idea?

Choose a font that is easily comprehended and large enough to be seen:

  • Do not use capitals. Upper and lower case is more easily comprehended.
  • Limit copy to 6 lines maximum per slide and 6-7 words per line.
  • Use the titles to make a statement, but keep them short.
  • Use a larger font font for the slide title, 36-point is the minimum.
  • Use color to highlight important points and add interest.
  • Use complimentary colors.

Consider the impact of different colours:

  • Blue portrays calm and quiet, gives a positive feeling and is ideal for the background.
  • Red is related to danger, alertness and problems, use it sparingly.
  • Green is seen as restful, cool and assured.
  • Yellow is warm and vibrant, it gives a feeling of energy.
  • Use tinted backgrounds to reduce glare and aid concentration.
  • Use light colors for text and for emphasis.
  • The best text colors are white, light green, light blue etc.
  • The eye is naturally drawn to yellow.
  • More than 4 feature colors, including the background, can reduce comprehension.
  • Use illustrations and diagrams that are relevant.
  • Use symbols to draw attention to important points.
  • Use dark colors for background and avoid gaudiness.
  • Use color, rather than underlines, to make important points stand out.
  • Avoid overuse of italics, dropped shadows, bold and colour emphasis.
  • Remember when using color, that 4 percent of men and 1 percent of women are colour blind.

Other important areas:

  • Charts are an ideal way of conveying information and they should be used to emphasize a point..
  • Line graphs show relationships over a long period of time.
  • Bar charts show relationships over short periods of time.
  • Pie charts show percentages.
  • Organizational charts show structural relationships.
  • Flow charts demonstrate the flow of data and processes.
  • Gannt charts show time flows and interdependencies in projects.

Preparing the presentation:

  • Become familiar with the room and its layout.
  • Check seating and lighting and the data projector position for optimal viewing.
  • Before starting check the equipment and learn the controls.
  • Try and keep a spare data projector lamp (these are expensive though).
  • Focus the data projector and adjust to obtain clear images.
  • Go to a black screen when you are talking for a long period or using a white board.
  • Ensure that the audience have an uninterrupted view of the proceedings.

Verbal presentation tips:

  • Speak clearly and use simple language, avoid complex sentences.

  • Involve your audience, challenge their preconceptions.
  • Ensure that the image matches the spoken text.
  • Use rhetorical techniques to maintain interest, change voice intonation and vary tone and volume.
  • Use pauses for effect.
  • Rehearse your presentation to get it right!