7 ways to make your presentation stand out

Photo via Lynda.com

Photo via Lynda.com

by Gabii Rothenberg
Assistant Creative Director

Presentations are a staple for many classes on campus. A common partner to the presentation is a slideshow, whether it is PowerPoint, Google Slides or Prezi. If you can’t remember what your past presentations were like or want to improve your next one, here are some tips for making your next presentation outstanding.

1.  Animation

One of the most underrated features of PowerPoint is the animation feature. Real life example: I had to give a presentation on a battle in the Civil War, and I wanted to describe what happened during the battle. To make it more interesting than just reading the events off a slide, I found a map of where the battle took place, as well as some small images of Civil War soldiers, and animated the soldiers through the field in the motion of the actual battle. My teacher said it was one of the best presentations he’d seen in years.

2.  Backgrounds

If you decide you want to use custom backgrounds, make sure they match your theme and don’t take away focus from the content of the slide. Generally the default slide designs will be fine, but try to make sure that the theme you pick matches the theme of what you’re talking about.

3.  Readability

Making sure your audience can read your slide before you present it. Be sure that the color of your font doesn’t blend in with your background. Also be sure that you use a simple font that is can be read from the back of the room. If you struggle to make the words out anywhere on the slide, something needs to change.

4. Continuity

One way to make sure your slides are designed well is to imagine they are spread out among a bunch of other slides from a different presentation. If you told someone to match the slides and they could match all of yours together, it helps make a more cohesive presentation.

5. Layout

One way to break the monotony of a presentation is to use different slide layouts. If you have a particular image that is very important to your topic, use a slide that highlights the image instead of just placing the image on the default slide layout. Different layouts can make your presentation much more interesting to look at since there is more variation in them.

6. No Paragraphs

Do not make your slides have massive paragraphs. It is really distracting for the audience. If they are reading your slide, they are not paying attention to what you have to say. Just a few important words and phrases is plenty to help keep you on track. If you really need more notes, type them in the note section and use presenter mode.

7. “Any Questions?”

I have seen many, many, many presentations end with the conclusion and then an awkward “so yeah,” and then they step down. One good way to have a more definitive ending to your presentation and avoid the awkward end-of-presentation silence is to add a slide that says “Any Questions?” or some variation thereof. Teachers will likely actually have questions, so it is a much easier way to lead into that.