When preparing business presentations, there is the temptation to use as much technology and visual aid to give the presentation the extra oomph in order to attract and retain audience attention. However care must be taken such that these aids do not overpower or even derail the presentation.
For example, according to Tessler (2006), in a bid to show off technology know-how, a presenter may want to use three-dimensional graphs for presenting simple data. This is not advisable, as they make it more difficult for the audience to grasp the point. A simple chart or table will do for this purpose. Also, more often than not, an infrared remote has the tendency to fail during a presentation even if it worked perfectly during rehearsal (Howard, 2002, p.75). A simple low-tech approach of hardwiring your laptop to your projector is better.
The following are the best-known rules of thumb for presentations.
- Make sure the audience can read your slides from the back of the room as well as from the front row. You need to make characters large enough for this, typically Use bullet points with short phrases rather than wordy sentences. Usually a maximum of five bullet points per page (Tessler, 2006, p.68).
- Keep fancy fonts and brightly colored backgrounds to a minimum because they make slides less readable. High-contrast color combinations are best especially light text on a dark backdrop. For example, yellow on blue (Tessler, 2006, p.68).
- According to a June 16 article on PC Magazine Online, ‘the best sound effect is none and the best slide transition is none, followed by a simple wipe or dissolve’ (Davis, 2004). This is because, unless used sparingly, sound and motion files can distract from your message. Fancy transitions have the tendency of getting tiresome after the first couple.
- Finally, prepare for big mistakes like dropping your laptop before or during the presentation by making a copy of your presentation (on CD or any other removable storage medium). Add cap off your presentation with a final slide showing the title, you name and email address (Howard, 2002, p.75).
Davis, Z. (2004). Online Extra: Some additional tips for effective presentations, PC Magazine Online, June (Web Edition).
Howard, B. (2002). Presentations 101. (On Technology), PC Magazine, 21(12), 75.
Tessler, F.N. (2006). Polish your presentations, Macworld
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