You’re going to learn how to create an awesome slide deck. So the next time you’re up on stage or doing any sort of presentation, anything that requires a slide deck, this is going to help you make it look better.
There are a lot of things you shouldn’t be doing, a lot of things that I see out there and hopefully, this will help guide you so that you can create an awesome slide deck and impress people who you are presenting to. You’ll have a more memorable presentation, and you’re going to be able to stand out from all the other presenters out there who are going to be creating slide decks the normal, boring way.
Have you ever sat in on a presentation, whether at work or at a conference, where you literally just want to fall asleep or maybe you have fallen asleep, or maybe you get bored or lose interest and you check your phone for emails or Twitter or Instagram? It’s the worst, right?
Well, if you’re a presenter, if you’re up on stage presenting, you want to hold their interest. You want to captivate them. You want to engage them. You want them sitting on the edge of their seats, listening and hanging on to every next word that you have to say. That’s what we want, and a lot of times we don’t do that.
One of the big reasons is because of the slides that we have. Slides are an amazing tool. Unfortunately, we abuse the tool that allow us to create these slides, PowerPoint or KeyNote. We use them in a way that bores people to death. That’s why there is this thing called death by PowerPoint.
I mean, there is this typical slide you’ll see at presentations, at board meetings, at conferences. I mean, the bullet point situation. They’re called bullet points for a reason. Why? Because bullets kill people, right? And because, when people start reading from the top, they see all these bullet points, they start reading ahead, and when they do that, they don’t listen to what you’re talking about.
Oftentimes, you’re just reading off this bullet point list. It sounds totally boring and unprepared. And then you might think, having all the information there helps me cover all the points I need to hit. Well, yeah, if you don’t practice, and most people don’t practice, they simply rely on the bullet points, they rely on the PowerPoint, to help guide them through and it just sounds boring. It also shows that you
Haven’t put in the practice. This is what happens if you don’t know the content and if you don’t believe in yourself.
What if you know what you’re talking about and you do believe in yourself. You can make your presentation much more engaging, and here is the guiding principle. Slides are your trail guide. That’s it. They’re there to help trigger certain stories and case studies and things that you’re going to say. But, you’re not reading off of them. They’re there to trigger something, to be a visual to the story that you’re telling, to the point that you’re making. If you consider slides to be your trail guide, it’s going to help you in so many ways. You have to trust yourself to know the content that you are talking about, but you can use the slides as a trail guide, like that arrow that’s going to point you in the right direction.
Now, you’ve probably sat in presentations that are amazing, that have amazing-looking slides and then you try to do it yourself, you try to make it look great, but then you get frustrated because it is too much work. Here is a hint: It doesn’t have to be.
These following nine tips are tips that you can follow to help you work your way through the slides, to give you some guiding principles so that you can totally crush it the next time you are on stage and so you don’t have to rely on your bullet points.
1. Get the correct slide size. Every event requires different slide sizes. You want to make sure you know what the size is or what the ratio is beforehand. You don’t want to wait until the last minute, build your deck and realize that your slides are the wrong size. Oftentimes slides some in two different sizes, widescreen (16×9) or standard (4×3). Sometimes the conference will even give you a template to use which will be the correct slide size. Unless you are required to use the template, sometimes you might be, use it for size reference only so that you can customize your slides the way you would like them.
2. Do not use any bullet points. What? Don’t use bullet points? Try not to use any bullet points. There may be a part of your presentation where you would like to list a few things. There are different ways to do list things. Images are a great way to avoid bullet points. You may, however, need to use them occasionally but try your hardest not to, this is where the audience gets lost.
3. I am sure you have seen the slide with just a few words on the slide to support the topic and then one image to support that topic. These are a great way to use a visual trigger so that the presenter can tell the story and know what to be focused on. It is also good for the audience to quickly see what the presenter is talking about and they can watch the presenter for a moment and hear every word the presenter is saying. You get to control the experience the audience has. Here is the topic, here is the supporting image. So simple.
4. Try to find and use a style of slides that work for you. Now, I do not mean take someone else’s work, but decide what you are drawn to about their slide set. Watch other people’s presentations, decide what aspect you like from their presentation an adopt part of it into your presentation style.
5. You’ll want to be aware that in larger rooms, not everyone will be able to see your entire slide. Keeping that in mind, keep your text as high up in the slide as you can so that everyone in the room can see all of the content on the slide. Presenters will often put important information at the bottom, a url for example. Some people may miss this if it is at the bottom. Sometimes people will stand up and take pictures of the slides because they can not see them which is disrupting.
6. Something I love to do is let people know where we are in the presentation. I like to show them how far along we are and what we have left to cover. For the presenter as well it is helpful to see where you are so you can add another tip or another story. It helps keep you organized.
7. Graphs and Tables.
While graphs and tables can be helpful and a great way to introduce data, what does your audience see? They see lots of colors, numbers and information they know nothing about. Even if you tell them what they are looking at they will inevitably be looking all over the place. There are of course people who present well-organized graphs and tables but they still often have an overwhelming effect. You only need to show what is necessary to prove your point. Year-end sales, increase in followers, etc.
8. Lightbox Trick
This trick is really neat because you can highlight a section of your slide and add a url to it which will redirect you to that site. You can easily click out of it and go back to your slide. It is just another way to make your slide deck more interactive for the audience. You can do this in both PowerPoint and KeyNote.
9. There are parts of a presentation where you may want to tell a story and you would really like the audience to focus on you. For this, you can make the screen go dark, people will not be focused on the big glaring screen but on you while you are telling your story. To do this you can simply put a blank dark screen in your presentation. This is such a powerful trick. Try it, see how your audience reacts.
I hope these tips are helpful in creating your next slide presentations.