- Don't put your whole presentation on your slides. If you do this, you will force people to stop and read everything without listening to you. You need to put the salient points on the slide and make them brief. Then flesh out the information as you speak. This way you will keep people's attention as they wait to find out what lies behind the points.
- Keep the number of points to a minimum. You should not have more than four or five points per slide. Any more than that and you will have to display each slide longer. Honestly, people sitting in a darkened room will get bored if the same slide is up too long. Keep things moving.
- Make the point size large. Fill the screen with those points. Take into account the size of the room and do a dry run if possible. Stand at the very back of the room you are presenting in to make sure people will be able to read the text. If you cannot go to the actual room, try to estimate the number of people that will be watching your presentation. If they cannot read those points, don't put them up. It is much worse to have text that people cannot see than to have no text at all.
- Variety is not the spice of life when it comes to typefaces. Just because we are gifted with over 100 different typefaces in just about any software package does not mean we need to show them off to everyone. A quick rule of thumb is to have one font for the headings and another for the body of the text. Also, make sure that each typeface is legible once you have typed a few words with it. Often very stylized fonts look great a letter or two at a time but once they become part of a heading, they can lose their appeal.
- Make sure your background does not overpower the message. If you have a photograph in the background of the slide, it can be very hard to distinguish the words, especially if there are both light and dark spots in the background. Use a neutral background and perhaps make the photo a bar along the side and away from the text or along the bottom.
These are just a few tips. Check in for future articles. If you have any comments, please drop me a line.