By Heyden Enochson
Enough with the Sucky PowerPoints

Whether you’re facilitating planning sessions or having your quarterly business review, your presentation needs to resonate with your audience. Using a PowerPoint as part of it can either help you, or hinder you.

We’ve seen the spectrum of slide deck presentations, from exciting and engaging to just complete duds. To help you create your next slide deck, here’s a list of quick tips to ensure your message connects with your audience.

Pick a font that’s easy to read – Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, are harder to read on a screen. Pick a clean and simple Sans-Serif font, like Arial or Gil Sans, for slide decks. Once you’ve selected a font, use it consistently throughout the presentation.

Choose colors wisely –Do not make font yellow. Pink? Probably not the best choice either. Using colors that are easy to read while maintaining consistency with your organization’s logo and look are usually pretty good bets. Slides should not become an eye test.

Axe distracting backgrounds and objects – They make seeing the presentation difficult and compete with the message that you’re trying to deliver. It’s really easy to overload a slide with images and backgrounds.

Don’t be controlled by the deck Sure, they are for you to lean on, but the best presenters use presentation content (both words and visuals) to reinforce key messages, ideas and concepts. It’s a tool to support you. Your focus needs to be on the audience, not on the overhead screen.

That gigantic text block is really, really distracting Your audience can read a text block faster than you can present it out loud, leaving you sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wa wa wa – this quarter we are on target to reach – wa wa wa wa. Keep sentences and phrases tight. If you feel the absolute need to have multiple sentences on a slide, build in animations so you can control the pace the audience sees the information.

Rehearsing key messages, take-aways and timing is a best practice. But, don’t rehearse it line-for-line. If so, you’ll sound prescribed and detached.  Remember to relax, take pauses, ask questions and engage the participants. Get your facts right, learn the key messages and focus on the desired outcome. Remember, your greatest asset isn’t your PowerPoint presentation, it’s you.