8 Tips for a Great Presentation in 2021

About Presentation Design Pro

My name is Amy, and I am a freelance presentation designer, working in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. My passion is creating branded presentations that represent you as a trusted professional in your industry, strengthen your brand in the marketplace, and engage your audience with an elevated experience that will convert and make them remember you for all the right reasons.

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For many people, just thinking about having to give a presentation is hair-raising… and that’s before they’ve even considered having to put together the content. Here are some tips to help you create an effective and memorable (for the right reasons) presentation in 2021! **Hint, as long as you are comfortable with your subject matter, actually creating the slide content is going to be a piece of cake!

Tip 1:  Don’t clutter your slide with TMI (too much information)!

One of the biggest mistakes made in presentation content is trying to put everything you want to say ON the slide… (and no, bullet points won’t make it better in a case of content overload). The above-mentioned Seth Godin is famous for stating a slide should never have more than 6 words on it. While I’m not THAT stringent about keeping words off of slides, trust my nearly 20 years of graphic design experience when I tell you, less really IS more. The fewer the words on the page, the more likely your audience will both read, and retain the info.

Text-heavy slide vs. memorable image

Tip 2:  Use high-quality images.

In presentation design, a picture really does present a thousand words. Use images that are of good quality and convey the emotion or concept you want your slide to represent to your audience.

Tip 3:  Remember, your slide is an engagement tool and not a cue-card. Use your slides to make your points memorable.

Each slide should be attention-grabbing and get your main point across, but the words should be coming out of your lips, not your slide. You want the slide to highlight your point, but you want your audience’s attention on you and what you are sharing. This visual highlight will help make what you say more memorable.

Tip 4:  You want your audience to listen to what you have to say.

Again, don’t fill your slide with text, or unrelated info, or anything that requires concentrated effort to understand. You want your audience listening to you and not spending the presentation reading while you’re speaking, and consequently, both ignoring you, and not retaining what they read due to their distracted state.

Steve Jobs has become synonymous with the effective presentation. Notice his slides say almost nothing, but build drama and draw your attention to what he would say next. Apple does an amazing job of using strong graphics and minimal wording to appeal to their customers’ emotions.

Tip 5:  Offer to follow up with the details.

Let your audience know right up front that there is no need for them to take notes during your presentation, as you have a sign up sheet and after the presentation you will send the presentation slides and notes to anyone who would like a copy. You can also start with a slide that gives your email information to allow them to contact you for the slide. Suggest they take a photo or send a text from their phones right before you begin so they can put their devices away and be fully involved in taking this journey on your topic, with you.

Email Envelope Symbol

– this will also allow you to build your email list, should that be of value in your business.

Tip 6:  Sometimes a written report is going to work better.

If your information is so detailed that you’re filling slides with text you can’t possibly delete, you might be better off writing a report and sending an email. If your presentation is a MUST, why not write the detailed report and share that with your audience after you give a highly engaging presentation on your topic that does not included bulleted slides of doom!

Tip 7:  Open your first slide with a quote.

While your first slide may technically be your name, topic, and date, your first slide of content could be an interesting quote that highlights your subject matter and puts your audience in the frame of mind of your topic, For instance, rather than launching into your talk on why your garbage cans are the best, why note start with a quote by an expert:

Oscar the Grouch quote

Tip #8:  Don’t blow your budget fiddling with the design yourself

Now that you’ve got your content together, make the most of your time and budget and hire a presentation designer to help you make your slides look professional and brand-appropriate. Could you format the presentation yourself? Sure you could, but unless you have an education in design, and are very comfortable working in PowerPoint or other design software, you’ll likely spend many hours and have a less impressive end result. When you look at the cost of doing it yourself, you’re very likely to come up much higher than it will cost you to have a professional take care of it for you.