Presentation Designs that Keep Audiences Awake

by
Beth Osborne

What’s the absolute worst thing your audience can do while you’re presenting? Fall asleep. When you see heads beginning to nod down and eyes closing, you know you’re in trouble. It shouldn’t be so hard to keep the attention of your crowd for an hour or so. Your enthusiasm on the stage should be contagious, but your presentation has to be a showstopper, too.

The best presentations engage the left and right side of the brain. The left brain wants data and facts. The right brain wants storytelling and compelling visuals. These attributes can exist in one presentation and go along way to make it memorable. Here are some other tips that will keep your audience from dozing off.

Know Your Audience and Design for Them

You should have a good feel for your audience. They are likely to be either your ideal buyers and investors or peers and colleagues. Taking the approach to design means using visuals that make sense to them and what they’d respond to.

You wouldn’t include cartoon characters in your presentation for bankers, now would you put a lot of cheesy stock images in a presentation for creative professionals.

Organize Content Effectively

Part of organization is showing visual hierarchy, which is best addressed with font changes. Titles may be bold and all caps while body copy is smaller and uses a subtler font. There are also many factors in organizing content. How much is too much on one page? You might hear some long snores if you deliver slide after slide of huge blocks of text.

You need to break it up, edit down your copy, and use visuals that keep the flow moving. Mixing in icons with short copy in blocks is a great way to differentiate this content from other sections.

Use Motion to Get Attention

Your presentation doesn’t have to be static. Movement throughout could help your audience concentrate because of the visual interest they create. Start your presentation with an animated logo. You can also add GIFs where appropriate.

Throw in some video to illustrate an idea or strategy (but keep it 30 seconds or less). You could also show some screen capture videos that show how an action is performed in software or some other kind of demonstration.

Know When to Use Data Visualization and Infographics

Data visualization and infographics are two of the most engaging tactics for your presentation. They aren’t the same though. Think of data visualization as the left brain, and infographics as the right brain. When it’s appropriate to show objective facts and numbers, use data visualizations. When you are trying to tell a story and be creative, infographics are better. It’s usually good for a presentation to have both, but don’t overuse them, as it will water down their effectiveness.

Don’t let your audience fall into a deep slumber. Be prepared to wow them with these great tips. If you really want to create a presentation that will engage and delight, work with the professionals at KO/AD, who specialize in presentation design and have decades of experience.

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