When creating a research campaign, as we discussed last week, the presentation is as important as the data that it contains, the answer to your research question. It’s essential that you can deliver your message (the results) clearly and that your critical points not be lost to any noise. Helping provide context and tell your research findings can be supported with a strong design in your PowerPoint.
There is a lot of technology and support applications that provide templates, including PowerPoint itself, however, one of my favorite “go-to’s” is Envato Elements. Envato Elements has almost 4,000 PowerPoint themes and new designs are added all the time. The best part of Envato is the ideas generated from the different available templates. You can access color and font choices, slide designs, and layout ideas. Using a template, combined with the 6 keys to success, can help you achieve a winning presentation.
- Use the right colors, contrast, and whitespace
- Brand Aesthetic. Think about your brand and make sure to align your presentation template and colors with your branding. This provides a subtle reminder during the presentation and post-presentation – leaving your mark.
- Consider contrast. Make sure that your text and graphics are easy to read and don’t compete with the background of the slide. Using contrast effectively will help keep people’s attention through your presentation and help them to remember key points.
- White Space. Keep it simple. Don’t overcrowd each slide – think about social distancing here! Too many items will end up confusing your viewers
- Use the right fonts
- If you have a brand kit, refer to your brand guidelines with typography. Similar to colors, using the right font to tell your story subtlety to connect the viewer with your brand. For best practice, however, the use of a sans-serif font tends to be more readable on digital screens.
- Keep it short…if possible
- No one likes a long drawn out, monotone presentation. Think about attention spans and try and stick to only 20 minutes or shorter. Having a time restriction forces you to be concise and keep people engaged. You should keep a fairly moderate pace in the flow of your presentation (see bullet 6).
- Avoid bullet points
- Do your best to avoid bullet points. When you can use illustrations rather than text, defer to the illustration to capture your point. People are visual beings and remember 70% of what they see and hear, if they have to read your slide, they aren’t listening to you.
- Keep focused on your research objective
- By focusing on your research objective, it forces you to concentrate on answering your research question. An ideal slide would be to a few words, a strong chart, and even a key number. Again, tell your story visually but don’t make it crowded.
- Go with the Flow
- Don’t forget flow. It’s important that each slide transition smoothly telling the story of your research. Rather than just listing the resulting facts and figures, tell a story that engages your audience. Like your research objective, design with the end in mind, outline the question, include graphs and visualizations so your audience can visualize the story. Make sure your graphics back up the points you are trying to make and finish strong with a plan of action.
Having a custom PowerPoint template helps to set the theme of your story. If you are short on time and need some inspiration, Envato Elements offers plenty of design options that can give you a jump start on your presentation. The most important thing is to create a PowerPoint that follows the six keys to success to tell the story which culminates with the answer to your research question and provides a teaser of potential solutions or next steps.