Created in partnership with Presentation Experts

There are many benefits to becoming a better presenter. You will be able to communicate ideas to audiences effectively, but you will also learn to communicate better in other areas of life and gain self-confidence. However, you do not become a talented presenter overnight. The content, design and delivery of your presentation take considerable work. If you believe you are lacking in one of these areas, you should seek to improve. For example, you may consider hiring a presentation agency to help you in your weaker areas. All of us have made mistakes during presentations, but you can take steps to improve your presentation skills. This article explores five vital dos and don’ts to consider when creating a presentation.

Don’t confuse the audience

If your presentation is not clear and concise, your audience will likely be left feeling confused by the time you have finished talking. While you may have a lot of information to communicate to the audience, you must be careful not to overwhelm them. For your message to be effectively conveyed, you need to communicate in a highly engaging way. You might be tempted to jump between relevant anecdotes to illustrate your point during your presentation. However, doing this may cause audience members to lose the thread of your main argument. To make sure that your audience remains engaged, you should gradually introduce new information to ensure they are not overwhelmed. In summary, your presentation should be designed in such a way that it is simple and easy for your audience to follow.

Don’t include too much text

Another mistake that presenters make is including too much text in their presentations. Slides full of text are tedious and will ultimately dull the effectiveness of your presentation. If you need to communicate a lot of information in a short time, the best thing to do is display content in easy to digest visualisations such as infographics, graphs and charts. Information presented in this format is easier for the audience to understand and remember.

Do prioritise good design

The importance of good presentation design cannot be underestimated. A badly designed presentation will appear unprofessional and increase the likelihood that your audience will lose interest. First, the presentation template you use should be appropriate for your audience. For example, if you’re pitching your services to a new business client, your presentation should be clean and simplistic. Regarding colour, you must ensure that your text is readable. Using a contrasting block colour background to highlight your text will mean that it is much easier to read. In terms of font, the simpler, the better. To ensure your audience can read the text on your slides, use fonts that are easy to read, such as Arial, Times New Roman and Open Sans. Finally, the design of your presentation must be consistent across all slides.

Do keep your presentation brief

You have a set amount of time to present your ideas to your audience. If your presentation runs over your allotted time, audience members will start to disengage. Plus, you may be eating into someone else’s presentation time by overrunning. Therefore, when you create your presentation, be mindful of how long it will take you to communicate your ideas. The best way to ensure that your presentation does not overrun is to initiate a timer when you practice. That way, you will be able to gauge whether you’re likely to go over your allotted time. If you find that your presentation is running too long, remove the least important information.

Do practice your presentation

Once you are happy that your presentation content and design are complete, you need to spend time practising. First, run through your presentation by yourself several times. If you notice a mistake or have an idea about how you can amend your presentation, make a note of it. You should be analysing your presentation as you practise to confirm that it is as engaging as possible. After you’ve spent time practising alone, rehearse in front of a crowd. Delivering your presentation to a group will increase your confidence and allow you to determine if there are still changes that need to be made. Ask those observing your presentation to give feedback about the content, design, and delivery—they may have constructive feedback about how you can make the presentation more engaging.

The dos and don’ts of creating your presentation: final thoughts

Creating a highly engaging presentation is not an easy task. However, by investing time and effort in creating a compelling and visually appealing presentation, you are more likely to meet your goals. So, whether you are pitching to a new client, presenting to investors in the hope of securing funding or communicating ideas to stakeholders at work, a well-designed, clear presentation will increase the likelihood of success.

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