PowerPoint and live presentations are a great way to convey your ideas about Finance. A good presenter should have the ability to keep the audience engaged from beginning to end using several tips and tricks that may compel them to take action.
The following presentation tips will help you master the PowerPoint game.
- Write a concise script
Most PowerPoint presentations lack any sort of rhyme or reason. Remember that you are out there to convince your audience about the accuracy of your calculations or to educate them about the basics of Finance. Since the point of your slides is to spread your knowledge make sure to keep it accurate and short. People get bored of listening into long presentations that lack flow. Make a strong outline of your presentation with beginning, middle and end points, build it to the climax, and make sure to communicate it properly.
- Have a clear theme
Sometimes people present slides over slides without actually conveying a clear message. What is your message? What are you trying to convey? What do you want your audience to remember? All these questions should come up while preparing your presentation in order to have a clear theme and leave out the unimportant, boring information. Data, evidence, and logical flow are important. Complex information and loads of details are tiring and boring. Think: if your audience is to remember a single thing out of your presentation, what this should be? This is your theme.
- Use paragraphs
Many presentations fail because their authors fail to use paragraphs, thus creating a bulky, chunky script. This will likely kill your audience out of boredom rather than keeping them interested in what you’re trying to say. Especially, if you have a lot of numbers and calculations, your presentation is going to be a complete disaster. Remember that your slides are the tools of your presentation, they are the hints that will give your audience a starting-point to follow you through, not the presentation itself. Thereby, use paragraphs, create an attractive script and do not put everything on screen.
- Use images carefully
Using images in presentations adds a visual interest and keeps audiences engaged. Especially, in the finance field, it makes sense to use images that can portray the accuracy of your theorem and/or calculations. On the other hand, when picking images for a presentation, you run the risk of picking an overly boring, obvious, “goes-without-saying” image or picking an image that is too creative, advanced and difficult to get how it relates to the topic at hand. Use clear, unique and relevant images, but do not overload your presentation. Make sure to include those images that add important information or make an abstract point more concrete.
- Use appropriate charts
Especially in Finance, you will need to add charts and graphs to support your arguments. The key question here is “How much detail do I need?” Use appropriate tables and side-by-side comparisons of quantitative data. Do not include too much data on your screen charts. Use chart bars to make contribution comparisons. Do not overload your slides with numbers.
- Use a compelling design
A compelling design can make your presentation look more vibrant and attractive. PowerPoint offers all sorts of visual effects, including fades, swipes, flashing text, and others that can be inserted very easily. However, the point is to use a design that can make your presentation easy to follow before adding all these cheesy effects.
- Use large fonts, at least, 18pt and up and select a proper theme font like Arial, Helvetica or Calibri. These are the easiest to read on screen.
- Use decorative fonts only if you need to highlight something extraordinary.
- Put dark fonts on a light background and vice versa.
- Use as few words as possible on each slide to leave room for discussion later on.
- Use a few slides, do not make a bulky presentation. Experts recommend 10 slides maximum for 20 minutes’ presentation.
- Especially for Finance, unless your audience is within the industry, avoid using too many terminal terms.
- Check your equipment
Imagine a room full of people waiting for you to give a very important presentation and you blow it because you haven’t arrived early enough to check the equipment. Do not assume that your presentation will work fine on another computer. You have to bring your laptop with you and make sure that the presentation will be on. Also, check the projector’s resolution. It should be the same as the computer on which you created your presentation.
- Have an eye contact with your audience
Some presenters do not look at their audience at all. This can make a really bad impression as it will feel like you are not sure what you’re talking about or that you ignore them. Don’t just single out one person. Try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. Your goal is to engage the audience, to keep them with you.
- Show some movement
You probably know that you need to be active when presenting your ideas to an audience, but you may also forget to do so. Most people just stand up and start talking about their slides, without moving or pacing around the room. This may become extremely boring for the audience. By showing some gestures and pacing around a bit, you keep your audience alert. Be an animated speaker.
- Be authentic
Any presentation should seek to introduce a change. Otherwise, it is a waste of time. This is the opinion of business guru Seth Godin and it should probably become yours as well. Create and make a presentation that will function as a mix of information and inspiration. Get on stage and use your slides to change the way think about Finance. Use your energy to tell your part of the story and make the audience think that maybe you have a point here. Demonstrate clearly that you are on this stage to make a declaration about the future of Finance. Nevertheless, be able to engage your audience on the grounds of change.
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