Bring the Passion and Purpose Back to Your Presentations With These Helpful Ideas
Are your PowerPoint slides the same ones you've been using for years? Are they boring? What do your students think about them?
How about new presentations? Do you have to put together a new slide deck for an upcoming presentation? Do you want to make it effective and impactful?
Slideshows and videos are valuable presenting tools; however, many people don’t understand how to best use these mediums effectively.Many of us have a feeling that simply turning on PowerPoint and copying notes into bullet points is an outdated and uninteresting way to create slideshows, but we don’t understand what alternatives we have or what tricks could better help us make our presentations interesting and memorable.
Make your presentations pop, not flop, with these five ways to get the most out of slideshows. These same tips can help with video content as well.
1. Understand the Story you are Trying to tell.
Don’t just open up a slideshow presentation tool or turn on a camera without a plan. Visuals that don’t have a clear message and goal will most likely bore you and your audience.
Before you begin, understand your story line. Ask yourself why it matters to the audience? What are you trying to demonstrate? And then put this in a story arc so the audience can better digest the information. Stories organize information in a uniform, logical, and chronological order.
Additionally, stories have clearly outlined characters, an easy-to-follow plot, something at stake, and a resolution. Your slideshow or video should have all these elements as well.
For example, businesses trying to convince investors of their product could create a story with their competitors as characters, the need for a better product the aspect at stake, and the resolution the creation of their product that fills a gap in the industry. The plot line would be tracing how they got from realizing there was a need for what they have to offer to their product. This is just an example, but it shows how any slideshow can easily be turned into a storyline to make it more understandable for your classroom and you as you create the visual presentation.
2. Don’t Forget – What you say is as Important as What you Show.
If you’ve ever heard the groans when a PowerPoint projector is turned on, you know that people seem to expect the same thing from presentations. It’s only a matter of time before attention wanes and they begin texting or playing games on their mobile devices, and once you’ve lost the audience, it’s hard to get them back. But what makes a visual presentation boring?
Repetitiveness. Repeating the same information or creating a visual presentation in which viewers think they know what to expect will put them to sleep. You’ve got to continuously surprise them to keep their interest. Switch up the slides so they are struck by what they don’t expect.
Try these tips:
- Include podcasts or videos within slideshows where applicable.
- Integrate handouts, props, or a great soundtrack
- Use humor to lighten up a dulling crowd. However, don’t plan when you are going to tell a joke: humor should be natural, not predictable.
All of these tools can be your backup plan when you notice that their eyes are glazing over, so you can pull out a surprise to gain their interest again.
You can also break up your presentation with question and answer sections, pauses between slides, and props to demonstrate your points. A general rule for timing while speaking is that each slide or video clip should only explain about 15 words – too many words per image will cause audiences to become bored and look away from the screen, too little will jolt them from screen to screen too quickly.
3. Know When it’s the Appropriate Presentation Tool and Technique (and When it’s not).
First, know when it’s appropriate to use slideshows and when it’s appropriate to use videos. The biggest mistake you can make is using the wrong medium at the wrong time.
Slideshows are appropriate during presentations where you need to show your audience information clearly and help them retain it, or when they need to take notes. Slideshows aren’t appropriate during speeches, mostly oral-based lectures, or formats where a video would better explain the information. Videos are very valuable either within slideshows or on their own to document information, offer explanation, or put a visual context behind information.
In general, slideshows and videos either explain something or persuade people about a point. If you aren’t trying to do either of the two, you would probably be better off with another message. Many slides and videos are both persuasive and informative. After you can clearly identify your message and understand the appropriate medium, you are able to build an appropriate visual presentation.
Also, think of when certain fonts, colors, and photographs are appropriate. During a history presentation, you probably don’t want to use extremely bright colors and irrelevant photos.
Additionally, white space is a very important point as far as appropriate-ness. Many people make the mistake of loading their slide or videos with information and forgetting that the eye also needs white space to be attracted to what is important. So, note when white space is appropriate.
4. Replace ClipArt with Eye-catching Charts, Graphs, and Infographics
ClipArt instantly signals unoriginality. Instead, condense large amounts of information with graphs, charts, and infographics. Awesome infographics, like the one below, reel your audience in by explaining the information in an easy-to-digest manner.
Access the full Infographic at: https://www.udemy.com/blog/
5. Make it your own.
Run in the other direction from templates. Remember, you don’t want to bore your audience, and you will in a second if you deliver what they expect from a slideshow or video. Switch it up. You want your slide or video to stand out, not be a carbon copy of others.
Make it your own by creating your own template. If you feel lost by creating your own, there are a few easy guidelines to stick to so that you can still have cohesiveness throughout your slide or video. Establish a color and font scheme while planning your layout slides. Make sure you know what your color and font scheme are before you begin, not halfway through when you realize that the slides or video transitions don’t match up.
When choosing a font scheme…
Choose one for titles, one for accents, and one for body text.
Try to avoid bullet points at all costs (again, predictable!)…
Instead, draw the audiences’ eyes by placing your text on different parts of the slide or videos in unique ways.
Making your presentation cohesive is key…
Many people opt for templates as the easy way out, but choosing a font scheme and color scheme offers the right amount of predictability without being like all the rest. Remember, fonts and color schemes should match the tone of your presentation. Don’t use bright colors if your presentation is about a subtle business idea, and don’t use grey tones if you are trying to present an exciting idea. A general rule is to choose mostly muted shades and one pop-out accent color.
These tips can offer the fun and pop! your presentations need to be engaging and enjoyable. Have fun with them!
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