Presentations have been around for a long time. In fact, it is difficult to see someone that does not relate to the feeling of getting stuck in a room, then seeing a presenter slowly flip through different slides. Not only is that not an entertaining way to share information, unfortunately, it can also be a great way to put an audience to sleep.
All event planners know the importance of drawing the attention of an audience using compelling information. The greatest challenge most presentation designers need to overcome is creating slide content that educates and at the same time entertains the audience. Keeping the listeners focused throughout the presentation is an ongoing process for anybody, no matter your level of experience, because the expectation of the audience is always changing.
Common Presentation Mistakes to Avoid
Delivering too much information: Most presenters don’t respect the attention span of their listeners. Your presentation ought to be concise and straight to the point. If anybody in the audience has a question or needs some clarification on the subject, a session can be created at the end of the presentation. Overloading your audience is a sure way of losing them.
Not paying attention to the audience: As a presenter, don’t get so wrapped up in your world that you ignore the body language of your audience. Maintain eye contact as much as possible, so they don’t feel ignored.
Little or no preparation: It is near impossible to prepare and learn a presentation in a day. It requires more time and practice. If you go in without practicing, your audience will quickly notice your lack of preparation. Adequate preparation will also help you control your nerves.
So, what 4 things can you do while designing an event presentation so as to keep your audience engaged in the subject to make your presentation memorable?
1. Set the right mood:
A fantastic presentation design goes beyond just the things shown on the screen and how the presenter delivers the information to the listeners. Even though they are critical to its success, there are other things that an event presenter ought to pay attention to, such as the mood in the room, including visibility, lightning and seating arrangement, particularly those seats at the back.
It is easy to ignore the importance of ambience, but imagine how effective it is to your mood at home. For some relaxation in the evening, you dim the lights or use a lamp. A very bright room might not be best for relaxing and unwinding. Therefore, using the right colors in presentations also makes the audience concentrate, colors like blue, orange and green. Avoid using colors that are too dark, bright, or filled with different colors that are hard to look at.
2. Interact with the audience:
In today’s world, much emphasis is placed on the importance of interacting with clients. This is achieved mostly by creating a better experience through social media, mobile apps and your website. This also extends to the presentation venue, and those with enough confidence to engage with their listeners.
A good interaction can be anything from some humor, storytelling, using technology that will require a response from the audience, or involving people as the presentation progresses. Although this may not be the responsibility of the presentation designer at first, any good designer will want to be a part of the delivery of a presentation so that they can understand the storyboard and the overall message they need to portray through design.
3. Make it clear and concise:
In order for you to retain your most important message, keep your presentation brief and straight to the point. One way to do that is by designing the presentation with all the content you want to cover, regardless of how much it is, and then cut it to half. This process might seem painful and impossible at first, but once you get started, you’ll find ways to cut it down. This will make what’s left afterwards more powerful and important.
Another thing to consider is the amount of time you intend the presenter to spend on each slide. The most effective way to go about this is by limiting the onscreen text to one sentence per slide, with some compelling images to make up the rest of the message. This will hold the attention of your audience, and prevent you them from switching off the second they see a wall of words on screen.
4. Details are important:
Now that you understand the most important aspects, it’s not time to focus on the details of your presentation. Think about what will make your presentation standout. For a start, use big font sizes on each slide. Avoid trying to fit in a lot of words into one slide, so, make good use of the space you have. The bigger the font, the easier it will be for your audience to read, and will make them retain the information better.
To get the best event presentation, you can hire a professional PowerPoint presentation design agency or alternatively bring the task in house if you have the resources. Most specialist agencies will have years of experience in only presentation design plus possibly organizing events and conferences which make them perfectly suited for the job.
Other more general agencies are also viable options, however of course they will not have the same level of experience, and with only 1 chance sometimes to deliver the right message in a presentation, it’s important to have an expert behind the design of your presentation slides.
Holly Faulkner Holly Faulkner is the co-founder and director of the Purple Patch Group, a business that started life as a London events agency over 10 years ago. Through years of live events experience on both sides of the fence, managing them, and sitting front row, Holly and Paul launched the Presentation Experts. A specialist design agency focusing on creating outstanding presentations for live events, speakers, and other events visuals.