Don't hide your insecurity behind slides
Having seen many presentations throughout my career as a teacher, I came to realise that people depend so much on their slides that they end up overlooking quality. As contradictory as it may seem, the crude reality is that we unconsciously create endless slides to cope with insecurity (e.g. the fear of failing to recall a key point or to deviate from the main topic, etc.) instead of a tool to enhance ideas and the #presentation as whole. So what makes a good slide presentation?
A clean design and a sensible use of colours will enrich your presentation and convey a powerful message: Professionalism. However, this is not enough, for I have seen beautifully-designed slides out there that failed on one aspect: Poor concision. Slides polluted with words are often a symptom of poor preparation, which spoils and make no justice to the effort made on creating an interesting design. Too much text will put people off and drain the audience's attention as they will unconsciously try to read it. So, focus on concision, key words and key ideas. The font size should be approximately 30 – if your ideas don’t fit, rethink them, reword them and bear in mind that slides are not there for you, but to complement the presentation and, ultimately, to guide the audience.
Choose a font that is simple and readable, not smaller than 30.
Colours can awaken powerful emotions and feelings, so much so that they are studied in Marketing and Branding. So, choose a harmonious palette (1) that represents your ideas and your purpose.
An image can often illustrate your ideas better than words; they can engage your audience and even inspire fruitful discussions, so why not explore them? Needless to say, always respect copyright.
Rethink and reword your ideas so that they fit in short sentences or key words.
Conceive each slide with your audience in mind, not yourself.
Ultimately, creating slides is a matter of sensibility and care.
Written by Daiane Publio Dias
(1) Colour calculator: https://www.sessions.edu/color-calculator/
My name is Daiane Publio Dias, and I help professionals, scientists and scholars create outstanding presentations and speak English flawlessly in a globalized world.