Almost everyone you know will have attended at least one virtual meeting in the last 12 months, and some will have given presentations using only slides and their webcam.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven us towards a more virtual world, and with Zoom calls, meetings on Microsoft Teams, and even virtual social events, we’re becoming more used to living and working online.
In a world where we put virtual meetings and workplaces first, design comes into its own. The quality of your presentation’s design and layout is more important than ever before.
The look and feel of your PowerPoints will come under more scrutiny than they used to, so making sure they look great is essential. For example, research by software company Visme found that 91% of presenters feel more confident with a well-designed slide desk available to them, so dedicating time to creating a beautifully designed presentation can be the difference between success and failure.
What Makes Online Presenting Different?
Some of the biggest conferences and events of the year have been cancelled, or have gone entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so even the most famous public speakers around are having to adapt to online presenting.
Transforming an in-person presentation into one for online use can take some getting used to, but it’s worth making the effort to ensure you’re delivering the highest possible quality to your viewers. Some differences between online and in-person presentations include:
• Location: You are no longer in front of your audience in a way where you can gauge their reaction visually.
• Presence: It is a little more difficult to make use of your body language and presence when presenting online. In contrast, the importance of the voice can be emphasised, as many online presentations may feature your voice over your slides, or in the occasional video alongside them.
• Audience: Leaving during a live presentation is extremely bad etiquette and unlikely to happen. But unfortunately, it is much easier to leave an online presentation, so you will have to work harder to keep your audience engaged and interested.
The option of delivering presentations in-person simply isn’t there for most of us at the moment, so adapting our presentations to the virtual world is essential. It is more important than ever to make your content compelling and presented in an attractive and appealing way.
How To Make Your Slides Stand Out
PowerPoint is still the most popular tool for presenting, and with good reason. The range of features available makes it easy to create attractive and engaging presentations.
When creating a presentation, it’s important to keep the following points in mind to make sure it’s as eye-catching as possible:
Keep Text Short
Your PowerPoint slides are there to support your presentation, not tell the whole story.
There is no need to type out everything you’re going to say. Instead, summarise key points and use bullet points to keep the text short. This encourages the audience to focus on your presentation, rather than trying to read in time with you.
Font Choice, Size, And Contrast Matters
While it may be fun to get creative with fonts, it can detract from the point of your presentation. Opt for a classic, easy-to-read font, and remember, always opt for standard fonts!
Anything you download on your computer may not be on the devices of others, and in this instance the font will revert to a different one – which may not necessarily be the one you wanted. Safe font choices include Calibri and Helvetica, as they are easy to read and come installed on any device using PowerPoint.
You should also be mindful of size, as you want your text to be easily read, but don’t want it to dominate other elements of the presentation, such as graphics and data charts.
Also, don’t forget contrast! The colour you choose for fonts should be easy to read against the background, and if you’re laying text over images and/or photographs, add shadow or a border to help it stand out.
Presentations often contain a lot of data and statistical information. If presented poorly, this will be tedious for the viewer and they’ll quickly get bored.
Instead of displaying rows and rows of figures, consider using visual representations of your data. PowerPoint offers a wide range of tools to visualise data and make it much more attractive and engaging for viewers.
Data is much easier to digest when presented in a chart or graphical form, so dedicate time to deciding which kinds of charts are best for your data. Pie charts can be a great choice for comparing data, while bar and line graphs can be useful for showing growth or development over time.
Your presentation is a support tool, so it doesn’t need to share every scrap of data with your audience. Keep this in mind when adding tables to your slides too. Make sure they stay simple, and don’t go overboard with visual effects.
Above all, aim to ensure that your audience can easily get to grips with the information being shared.
Presentations In Practice
Transforming a basic presentation into something which grabs your audience’s attention can change their perception of your business.
While you cannot gauge the response of your audience as they view your slides during an online presentation, you can dedicate as much time as possible to ensuring they’re impressed by the quality of your design and the way you present your information. You can also ask for feedback at the end of your presentation and ensure that you action any suggestions that will help you deliver even stronger presentations in future.