We've all been through presentations that were dull, unimaginative, or otherwise unappealing. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are some simple principles you can follow to create an enticing presentation. But there's one that's truly critical:
Keep the text to a minimum, or, "I'm sorry, did you want me to listen?"
Text is distracting. The only prose that belongs on a slide is when you're using a quote. Text distracts people from what you're saying. Big blocks of text are also hard to read, so putting them up there makes it more likely people will miss something.
Limit your bullets. Yes, bullet points are popular. But that doesn't mean every slide should have 6 of them. Limit your bullets to one or two key points per slide, and use them as anchors for your most key points.
Convey information verbally. At NOI, we say that if most of your presentation is written on the slides, it's a document, not a presentation. If someone can just read your slides later and get the full information, why are you there in the first place?
If you need notes, have notes (or use the Notes feature in PowerPoint or Keynote). But putting your entire presentation in words on the screen won't engage your audience, and they'll walk away from your session yawning.
How do you keep your presentations engaging? Share in the comments on our blog.
Jared Marcotte is Lead Developer on the Voting Information Project at NOI.