How many of you have attended a presentation when all you can think is ‘I wonder what colour they used on the next slide’ or ‘I wonder how the next slide will appear?’
How many of you have been delivering a presentation where you wondered how you could move quickly to the previous or next slide or how you could hide a slide whilst having a discussion with your audience.
If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to either of these questions then read on and let me try and give you a few hints and tips to get the best out of your presentations.
Avoid using a different colour on every slide. Hopefully most of us won’t succumb to this bad habit because we use company templates but for those of you that do create your own backgrounds – keep it simple and choose a couple of contrasting colours to use throughout your slides – remember though to avoid certain combinations like green and red as these can be bad for people who suffer from colour blindness. For the best results use a darker background with light coloured text.
PowerPoint has a lot of really effective methods for how a slide appears on screen and also how the bullet points or pictures appear on the slide itself. Some presenters I’ve seen think that they have to use a different transition on every slide – please don’t do this. Find an effect that you like and use it on every slide, if you don’t you’ll risk your audience paying more attention to the effects that you’re using than the content of your presentation plus you’ll probably end up making the audience dizzy (some of the effects spin quite a bit!!)
Keep bullet points simple, use no more than 5 bullet points per slide and no more than 5 words per bullet point. Also try hiding the next bullet point until you’ve finished with the current one or dimming the previous bullet point when you’ve moved on.
Your presentation is going well and the audience has started asking questions – a lengthy discussion ensues and all you can think is that the current slide is still being projected meaning that the remaining points are still on view (not really what you want as you don’t want the audience to read ahead until you’re ready). A really quick tip to stop this happening is to press either B or W on your keyboard – this will turn the screen either black or white therefore hiding the current slide. When you’re ready to continue press B or W again.
The PgUp or PgDown keys on your keyboard are a good alternative to moving through the slides without using the mouse. The scroll wheel on the mouse is also another good option.