Presentation slides are a great way to convey information to your audience in a visual way. However, slides can also be overused and become a barrier to presenting effectively. Remember, slides are used to support your message, and not the other way around!
Slides are there to enhance presentation while listening to you. These tips will help amplify your presentation:
- The Less the Better! Presentations are for the audience to listen, not to read. Try to have minimal words on each slide. If you have large blocks of text, then the audience is going to be focused on the slides and not you. Instead use phrases, images or singular questions to support what you’re going to say. For accessibility, you may like to draft up a full version of your presentation to share with those with hearing impairments. You may also like to practice visually describing your slides to accommodate those with visual impairments. This can help with reducing the amount of content on each slide.
- More Pictures Please. Use pictures to prompt the points you’re going to make. These pictures can replace text to make the slide more impactful. Photos should be simple, and can be used as a metaphor or in a literal sense. If you are wanting to point something out in particular on a photo, use an arrow. This will make it impactful, yet simple. An extra note is to only use a maximum of two photos per slide. For accessibility, you may also like to practice visually describing your slides to accommodate those with visual impairments. This can help with reducing the amount of content on each slide.
- Consistent Look and Feel. It is important that your slides feel like they are all a part of the same story. Slides should have the same theme and font to keep a consistent look. If you are doing a topic transition it is important that you show this in your slides as well.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. This may sound basic, but it is critical that you practice before presentation day. Extra time is often not given. This means you want to make sure that you are within the time frame.
- Focus On the Audience. Look at your audience and not the board. The point of a presentation is to present. It is not for your audience to read, nor you to read off the screen. At the end of the day, the audience is there to listen to what you have to say so engage with your audience throughout.
- Fonts. Fonts need to be readable from a distance. Select fonts that are simple like Arial and ensure that larger font sizes are used. This will make the text clearer and easier to read for all audience members regardless of where they are seated.
- How to Build Great Slides for Your Research Presentation (1 min read, blogpost)
- 10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert (3 min read, blog post)
- How to Design Research Presentation – Academic Presentation Tutorial (1 hour watch, tutorial)