9 Practical Principles of Creating a Stellar Presentation

Most of us remember those days when PowerPoint presentations were just a visual form of a report — dry, full of numbers, tables and standard pictures from MS Office storage. Nowadays if you decide to follow that trend, your audience, be it a thesis committee or a bunch of potential investors, would be less than uninspired. However, unfortunately, even those who understand how it shouldn’t be done, often can’t avoid all pitfalls. Here we have gathered several principles which you should follow in order to come up with a stellar presentation.

Principle #1. Define a goal in one sentence

Your goal is not to make a good presentation, your goal is not even to make the best presentation in history. Your goal is to achieve something with this tool, and you should define and write down what exactly you want to achieve. Phrase it in a precise manner, in one short sentence.

Principle #2. One slide — one thought

It is very difficult to choose only one thought from several pages of your report or thesis paper, but you should try your best. One slide should give only one idea, and preferably it should be presented in a concise form. It will allow you to avoid confusion and the audience won’t get bored. More of it, such approach gives a rhythm to your presentation.

Principle #3. Use simple language

Be it a presentation for the banking tycoons or the academic stars, you shouldn’t try to show off using complicated, deliberately sonorous or too technical vocabulary in your PowerPoint Presentation.  Be it a presentation for the banking tycoons or the academic stars, you shouldn’t try to show off using complicated, deliberately sonorous or too technical vocabulary in your PowerPoint Presentation.

Principle #4. Use original pictures

Forget about the Google pictures once and forever. All of them are shallow, they don’t catch the eye and they have been used for so many times that we already don’t see them even when looking at them. Every image you use to illustrate your idea should show your creativity and taste. Look through Tumblr, private photo-blogs, buy a monthly account at Getty Images, but don’t use standard Google or free stock images if you want to look professional.

Principle #5. Keep it in contrast

The fond and the text should contrast with one another. Use no more than 5 colors in your presentation, better less, the color of the text counts. Make sure that the contrast is not hurting eyes, for example, don’t use a red background with more than several sentences of black text. Make it bright, but don’t forget about the color compatibility.

Principle #6 Use right fonts

Times New Roman is boring, Arial is for the legislation, Comic Sans is too informal and Calibri is annoying because it is used by default by the variety of applications and text-editors already. However, you can always count on Helvetica, Roboto and Open Sans — they look professional but not boring, and they are easy to read. You can also find more free fonts online which will help you make your presentation even more original. Use no more than 2 fonts for one slide, and no more than 3 font for the entire presentation.

Principle #7. Use icons carefully

It is beneficial to make your text more structured and good looking using specific icons, but you should make sure they look the same, otherwise the slide will seem untidy and will lack integrity. Use services like TheNounProject to download free icons of the same style.

Principle #8. Running titles are arcane

You might use your logo in the corner, but don’t put a running head with the name of the presentation, your name, contacts or some quotes on each slide. It looks untidy and distracts attention from what is really important.

Principle #9. Don’t forget about the last slide

50% of speakers don’t create a final slide, 40% write “Thank you for your attention” on it. Your task is to get in the remained 10% and create an engaging final slide which your audience won’t forget. It might be funny, it might be serious, but it should be there, and it should be original. You can use a gif-image, a quote, more creative thank you note, etc. It also might be beneficial to state your contacts there, so your listeners can take a picture and have them on their phones just in case.
Remember, your presentation tells much more about you than the things you vocalize during a slideshow. Your audience can see whether you are diligent or not, how much you care about the details, assess the integrity of your approach and, finally, your taste. Due to this, it is exceptionally important to be 100% confident in your material and even ask for some expert help with preparation of a truly engaging presentation, which will present not only a topic in question but your skills and strengths. Follow the principles above and you will deal with this complex task better and faster you’ve ever could imagine.