Whether you’re a student, CEO, or somewhere in between, presentations are your future. Having the ability to present and articulate your ideas, findings, and work is one of — if not the — most powerful skills you can have. We’re not talking about reading off of a slide; we’re talking about the art of crafting a presentation that will aid you in telling an effective story. And so, because delivering a strong presentation is so important for everyone, we’ve rounded up our best tips to help you do just that.
Keep reading to discover our top 20 ways to differentiate your presentation.
Every presentation begins with a title page, making it a great place to set the tone right off the bat. You don’t want to overwhelm or mislead your audience, so keep this page clear, brief, and aesthetically pleasing. Here, simplicity is best. Include any key information, such as a title that clues in your audience, a date so that anyone referring back to your presentation knows how current the information is, and your name or the company you’re presenting with. It’s best practice to make the title large and eye-catching, with the other supporting information smaller and less assuming.
A pleasing color scheme can go a long way and help with the initial wow-factor of your presentation design. Generally speaking, a white slide with only black text throughout is not the most exciting to look at. Instead, consider adding in your brand’s colors through small details like page headers, lines, or the background. If you don’t have a brand with specific colors, feel free to choose a few main colors that look good together or check out a free color palette generator to do the work for you.
Even just one pop of color throughout will do the job, and you typically don’t want to include more than three colors to avoid a chaotic look. Test out presenting to make sure your color choices are easy to read; yellow on a white background, for example, is never a good decision. When choosing your color scheme, consider the audience members in the very back or a grandfather with blurry vision — contrast is everyone’s friend here.
Just like the color scheme, readability is the most important factor when choosing your fonts. Before all else, make sure your font is undoubtedly legible. This means the letters are bold enough to be read from far away, the characters are fairly simple (think Times New Roman instead of Cursive), and the size is large enough where even those in the back don’t need to squint.
When in doubt, opt for a san-serif font, which is a general style type designed specifically for online viewing. To help get you started, here’s a list of some san-serif classics that are great for online presentations. While there are many font options out there, avoid using more than two or three in your presentation design, and try to keep the font size at a minimum of 24 pt. to maximize legibility.
An audience should be hanging on to each word you say. But, if you include too much text on a slide, they will be trying to read it all and, as a result, miss out on your thoughtful anecdotes and jokes. A slide should aid your presentation, but it should not detract from it — which is what will happen if there’s too much going on at once.
Keep the attention on you, not the slide, by keeping words minimal. Not only is a paragraph of words distracting, but it can also be overwhelming and push your audience away from engaging with your online presentation. Think of it this way, if you are waiting in a lobby for five minutes, what are you more likely to pick up: a 400-page novel or a comic book? The simpler your slide, the more inviting it is. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than five points on a slide, each with no more than five words.
When crafting your presentation design, consistency is key. Once you’ve chosen a color scheme and font, creating a master template will help you carry your choices throughout your future presentations. You’ve already perfected the design, so why reinvent the wheel each time you need to present? Plus, consistency across presentations can give you that extra professional touch to really impress your audience (including bosses and teachers!).
Presenting shouldn’t be a monotone lecture, it should be a story. When a story is told, it’s usually in chronological order or in a way that makes sense and keeps a listener on the edge of their seat. Reading a storybook out of order would be chaos, and the same can be said for a presentation. Plan out your presentation and arrange slides in an order that best conveys your message and allows you to seamlessly tell a story.
Consider starting with a scenario to set the scene, then show data to back up your thoughts, followed by a visual of what you are recommending or emphasizing. Every slide should build on the next and do its part to better your presentation as a whole. Practice presenting to a friend to make sure they easily follow along, and if there’s any confusion, rearrange the order of your presentation design until it’s the best it can be.
It may sound crazy, but sometimes the best presentation never leaves the second slide. After your initial title slide should be an executive summary, especially if this is an inner-company presentation. This is a place where you preview what you will talk about, highlighting your methodologies, findings, and recommendations. Say you’re giving a presentation to your boss, afterwards the slidedeck should continue to live on and be discoverable by others. But, your CFO or Senior Product Manager probably doesn’t want to flip through all 20 slides. This is where the executive summary comes in and gives all of the information someone wants without taking too much time out of their day.
Having a professional look can help you to gain respect from your audience. When you’re adding the finishing touches to your presentation design, consider adding your company logo to the top of each page to keep it professionally branded. Or, if you are crafting a presentation on competitive research with multiple slides for each company looked at, including the company’s logo on each slide dedicated to them can save confusion on who the slide is focused on. It’s the small details that can really set your presentation apart.
Now that you have the base of your presentation ready, it’s time to really wow your audience. Instead of clicking from slide to slide in a traditional style, what better way to engage your audience than with flippable pages? Turning your presentation into a flipbook will help make your words feel even more like a story, replicating how you flip the pages to keep reading your favorite novel.
Most everyone will add a little color to their presentation, but not many will think to transform their content into a flipbook—setting yours apart from the rest. Not only is adding transition effects a way to impress your audience, but with Issuu’s Flipbook Maker, you also get the benefit of statistics to see which slides captivated your viewers the most and an automatic GIF Converter to tease your content on social media ahead of giving your presentation.
Sometimes, the best way to instantly engage your audience is to switch up how you deliver content by including a video (plus, it gives you a break from talking). If you’re pitching a new product idea or modification inspired by customer feedback, try including a short clip of a real-life customer sharing their thoughts. Or, if you’re presenting about the art of Formula 1 Racing, there’s no better way to convince your audience of its impressiveness than by showing a clip of the racers going 220mph across the finish line. We understand the importance of switching up your content delivery, which is why Issuu lets you easily embed videos straight into your online presentation.
On the same note of switching up your delivery style to skyrocket engagement, including interactive links is another great feature to utilize. When adding links, the options for creativity are limitless. If you were hoping to get some audience participation but don’t want the uncertainty that comes with giving a stranger a microphone, embed a link that takes viewers to a poll they can vote on instead. It’s a great way to aid your presentation, deliver stats, and overall keep the morale high.
An online presentation filled with only words isn’t going to come off appealing, even if your content is on the most interesting topic out there. Like we covered earlier, having a ton of words on a slide will ultimately detract from your presentation. But, if you only have a few bullets with minimal words, that’s a lot of empty space which can make your slide look dull. So what should you do? Include visuals.
Give yourself extra talking points and spark curiosity by adding photos, graphs, and diagrams to your presentation. Empower your audience by letting them see information for themselves rather than just trusting what you have to say. Facilitate thinking and engagement by letting them interpret real data or decide for themselves how cool that exotic animal is from a photo and not just your words.
By now, with these plentiful presentation tips, you’re probably eager to start creating and adding everything from videos to transitions. Before you worry about the actual execution of it all, check out easy-to-use creation platforms like Google Slides. With tools like this, you can easily change colors and fonts, add interactive links, and captivating visuals.
From there, adding the wow-factor touches like flippable pages and videos has never been easier. With Issuu’s Cloud Storage Integration, your Issuu account connects straight to your Google Drive or DropBox to seamlessly upload your presentation and automatically convert it into a flipbook. Once your presentation is uploaded in Issuu, our platform will automatically detect links so that they are clickable, give you the option to easily include videos, and present your content as a sleek, professional flipbook that is ready to impress.
When it comes time to present, you want your hard work to be the spotlight. Get rid of clutter and give off a more professional tone by utilizing Fullscreen Sharing. This feature allows you to present your content in a way that is clean, distraction-free, and optimal for engagement. However you choose to present your content, we recommend making sure it’s on its own, with no other tabs or comments visible.
It’s really easy to get ahead of yourself when presenting or get lost in the content and not realize that you are speaking too fast. Even though you know exactly what you’re talking about, if you present in a quick, rushed manner it will be much harder for the audience to grasp what you are telling them and they won’t have time to really engage with or think about what you are saying. Plus, talking too fast can make you come off as chaotic and nervous, even if you aren’t. So, when you are presenting, make a conscious effort to speak slowly, loudly, and confidently. You know the content; have trust in yourself that you’ve got this and then let that trust show through a steady voice.
You’ve got the pace down, now how else can you ensure that you are presenting in the best way possible? You want to connect with your audience, and you aren’t going to do this by staring at your screen or a script. When you are speaking, take time to look into the crowd, maybe make eye contact with someone in the audience (or give the illusion of it by looking into the middle of the room), and pause in between points as you would when having a conversation.
Remember, these are real people you’re talking to, so use the same customs you would when having a chat with a friend. There should be a human aspect in presenting, so acknowledge that your audience is there, give them a chance to respond (even if this is internally) and make them feel seen.
Personal stories and anecdotes make everything better. No matter the situation, a story in your back pocket is always welcomed. Stories stir emotion, they make words relatable, and best yet they keep people wanting to listen. If you can present information in a way that people feel they can relate to, then you are doing your job well and will leave a lasting impression. Plus, if you tell a really good story, your audience may just go and retell it, giving your presentation the attention of even more people. Think about what you would want to hear and then use that as inspiration to run with.
You’re just about ready to knock your presentation out of the park, with tips from designing your first slide to talking slowly and sharing anecdotes. But, even if you have all of this down to a tee, a presentation will never be the best or most effective it can be unless you are genuine. You shouldn’t have to worry about sounding monotone or bland if you are genuinely interested and passionate about what you are sharing. If you ask the crowd a question, genuinely care about what they have to say. If you are sharing a statistic, genuinely be interested in what it shows. Genuineness will shine through, and it will without a doubt take your presentation to the next level.
You’ve done the work, you’ve shared your truth, and now it’s time to seal the deal and finish strong. Avoid leaving your audience unsure about what to do with the information they’ve just received. Instead, help them out by ending with a call to action. Be clear with what your goal was, and with what you think your audience should do with what you just told them. And, don’t forget to drive home your points and give a quick refresher with a brief summary of what was covered.
Congratulations! The work is done, the presentation has been shared, and it’s time to move onto the next. But before you move on completely, ensure your online presentation has the power to live on. You should be proud of your work, so why not add it to your personal portfolio? Or maybe you’ve presented a great talk on behalf of your company, why not let more people learn from your presentation by embedding it on the company website? You can make the most of your content even without verbally presenting it again and again. With Issuu, your content can live on forever, as it should.