Presenting is an art form that requires preparation and practice. But, with some careful planning and design tricks, you can win the attention of your audience in seconds. You may even get a standing ovation. Below, Kris Flegg from Presentations Design Co. shares four common challenges presenters face and tips to overcome them.
You’ve started designing your presentation. It's late and you don’t have much time left to finalize your design. You’ve chosen a template and have made great initial progress. But, as you start to dive into the content you begin to feel your ideas slip and your inspiration fade away.
Feel familiar? You’re not alone.
This is the same scenario experienced by just about every presenter. And this is because a presentation is a unique challenge that requires two types of thinking. The first is to develop quality content that has a clear direction. And the second is to create a visual aid that supports your message during the presentation.
Often, we try to do these two types of thinking at the same time. This makes it incredibly difficult to do either effectively. I run a professional design team that specializes in presentations, and I see several challenges that presenters commonly face. The great news is that there are some simple solutions.
Below, are four common challenges people face when presenting and how you can easily overcome them.
Challenge one: Choosing what content will go on your slides
We find that most presenters know their content quite well, so they don’t need every word on the screen to know what to say. However, over the course of a 45-minute presentation, there’s a lot of content to remember while also keeping on track with your key points.
So what can you do to keep your content light, but still give you enough to help you as you present? Create visual prompts for both you and the audience.
Transforming sentences into simple keywords and icons does two things. Firstly, it serves the presenter as a prompt to trigger the right content to speak to. And secondly, the audience can appreciate a clean and simple visual aid that supports rather than competes with what the presenter is talking about.
Let’s look at the example slide below. Here, you will see that the slide is an example of writing down everything you want to say—instead of creating a visual aid that supports your points.
By looking at this slide, we can see that it immediately forces the listener to focus on the slide, and read every word on it to understand the message. This leaves room for the audience to miss what the presenter is saying.
To remedy this, the first step is to look at each sentence and try to establish a high-level idea for each sentence. Then, starting with a blank slide, you can use Canva’s icons to build out a set of keywords and appropriate icons.
Two things to consider from a design perspective:
- Make sure you use an icon that passes the squint test and properly represents your idea. You can test this out, by assessing the size of the room you are speaking in an ensuring that the audience at the back of the room won’t need to strain their eyes to see your slides.
- Ensure that you are using a consistent style of icon.
For a bright and simple presentation, try the Orange and Blue Online Marketing Presentation template.
Challenge two: Using screenshots within your presentation
If you’ve created a presentation that relies on screenshots, your slides can become unpolished. You can use Canva’s library of graphics to become containers for screenshots. This will help low-resolution imagery to look polished and well thought out.
Simply choose a graphic that is relevant to what you're talking about and layer the image on top of the frame you have chosen.
Grab your audience’s attention instantly with this bold Magenta Sketch Presentation template.
Challenge three: Making data interesting in your presentation
Numbers in a presentation can become a blur and hard to distinguish. If you're looking to help your audience gain a genuine understanding of the numbers you are presenting, using visual diagrams can help. For example, take the data below:
Logically this makes sense but doesn’t easily communicate the gap in spending from year to year. Design can help illustrate your point more effectively.
If you’d like to create a comparison scale, start with an initial figure and an icon from Canva’s library. Insert the number and date along with the icon. To create a comparison, you can increase the imagery to scale to communicate the idea of growth.
For a sleek a modern template, try the Green and Red Modern Advertising Presentation.
Challenge four: Segmenting your information in digestible ways
Ever been in a presentation and felt overwhelmed with information slide after slide? If your goal is to inspire or educate your audience then too much information can feel heavy and is going to be a barrier to that goal.
Presentation tip: All good ideas need a bit of space for reflection and absorption.
When designing your presentation, work out what the chapters of your presentation are. This can be used to form your agenda or the main points you are trying to convey.
Once you’ve outlined your content plan, give your content a space between them by creating divider slides. These are high impact, easy to understand slides. These could include:
- A key statistic to support your idea
- A quote from a customer or client
- An industry quote
- A short sentence about something you believe in
When it comes to presenting these slides, present with a rhythm in mind and provide your audience with a chance to process what you are saying.
Some presenters take divider slides as an opportunity to stop talking and take a pause to reset themselves.
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