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There are two things you need to make a great presentation: a good script (naturally) and good design. Most people will focus on the script first and foremost, and that’s the way it should be, but nothing will kill your credibility quicker than bad presentation design. Think of it this way: if your doctor is wearing baggy track pants and a stained t-shirt, you’ll have a hard time taking them seriously. Here are a couple of pointers to help you dress your presentation like it means business.

Presentation Design #1 : Limit your colors

If you’re using color, be consistent. Bright, multi-colored designs tend to look tacky and disorganized, so limit your colors and stick to the same ones throughout your presentation. Personally, I prefer to use one or two colors (not counting black and white), with a main colour for backgrounds and an accent or ‘spot’ color to draw attention to things.

Presentation Design and use of colour

Presentation Design #2 : Consistency of approach

It’s important that the components of your presentation look like they come from the same document, so try to use the same font(s) throughout and choose pictures that have a similar ‘feel’. Your presentation will come across as jarringly disjointed if you choose a picture or footage that is in grainy black and white and the next one is brightly coloured and shot with soft-focus.

Presentation Design #3 : Format your text

It may seem minor but most people ignore text formatting and the results can ruin the rest of your design, giving it an amateurish feel. There are three things to avoid: orphans (when you have a long line with a very short line or single last word underneath), one long line and emoticons (you’re not twelve years old any more). Format so your text is in a neat paragraph with lines of roughly similar length.

Presentation design and text formatting

Presentation Design #4 : Choose backgrounds for legibility

If your background has too much contrast the text will be too difficult to read. Try to use background images with nice, even tones so your text can be read easily.

Presentation design and text-to-background contrast

Presentation Design #5 : Don’t write too much

People can’t take in too much complicated information at once, so be savage and drop anything that’s not absolutely vital, no matter how much you want to show off the research you’ve done. A good rule of thumb here is to only present one idea per scene or slide. Sometimes that might mean breaking up your dot points into separate slides or splitting one paragraph into two.

Presentation Design #6 : Strong opener & finisher

Don’t just jump straight into your presentation, give it an interesting ‘cover page’ with a catchy title and illustrative graphic. If the presentation is long you also might want to break it up into sections or chapters so people can occasionally pause to digest the information. End with a strong finisher such as a recap. Your aim is to inform so if you can reinforce your main points with some punchy closing comments, people are more likely to remember what your presentation was about. We’ve made it super easy for you to design a great presentation, all you need to do is get started!

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