1. Computing

10 Tips for Creating Successful Business Presentations

Give Your Audience the Best Business Presentations

By

Business is all about selling -- a product, topic or concept. When making a business presentation, the most important thing is to know your material. If you do not know everything about what you are selling, it is not likely that the audience will be buying.

Keep your audience focused and interested. Making effective business presentations takes practice, but with a few tips up your sleeve, you are ready to take on the challenge.

1. Use Key Phrases About Your Topic

Note - These business presentation tips refer to PowerPoint (any version) slides, but all of these tips in general, can be applied to any presentation.

Seasoned presenters use key phrases and include only essential information. Choose only the top three or four points about your topic and make them consistently throughout the delivery. Simplify and limit the number of words on each screen. Try not to use more than three bullets per slide. The surrounding space will make it easier to read.

2. Slide Layout is Important

Make your slides easy to follow. Put the title at the top of the slide where your audience expects to find it. Phrases should read left to right and top to bottom. Keep important information near the top of the slide. Often the bottom portions of slides cannot be seen from the back rows because heads are in the way.

3. Limit Punctuation and Avoid All Capital Letters

Punctuation can needlessly clutter the slide and the use of all caps makes statements more difficult to read and is like SHOUTING at your audience.

4. Avoid Fancy Fonts

Choose a font that is simple and easy to read such as Arial, Times New Roman or Verdana. Avoid script type fonts as they are hard to read on screen. Use, at most, two different fonts – perhaps one for headings and another for content. Keep all fonts large enough (at least 24 pt and preferably 30 pt) so that people at the back of the room will be able to easily read what is on the screen.

5. Use Contrasting Colors For Text and Background

  • Dark text on a light background is best, but avoid white backgrounds -- tone it down by using beige or another light color that will be easy on the eyes. Dark backgrounds are effective to show off company colors or if you just want to dazzle the crowd. In that case, be sure to make text a light color for easy reading.
  • Patterned or textured backgrounds can reduce readability of text.
  • Keep your color scheme consistent throughout your presentation.

6. Use Slide Designs Effectively

When using a design theme (PowerPoint 2007) or design template (earlier versions of PowerPoint), choose one that is appropriate for the audience. A clean, straightforward layout is best if you are presenting to business clientele. Select one that is full of color and contains a variety of shapes if your presentation is aimed at young children.

7. Limit the Number Of Slides

Keeping the number of slides to a minimum, ensures that the presentation will not become too long and drawn out. It also avoids the problem of continually changing slides during the presentation that can be a distraction to your audience. On average, one slide per minute is about right.

8. Use Photos, Charts and Graphs

Combining photos, charts and graphs and even embedding digitized videos with text, will add variety and keep your audience interested in the presentation. Avoid having text only slides.

9. Avoid Excessive Use of Slide Transitions and Animations

While transitions and animations can heighten your audience’s interest in the presentation, too much of a good thing can distract them from what you are saying. Remember, the slide show is meant to be a visual aid, not the focus of the presentation.

Keep animations consistent in the presentation by using animation schemes and apply the same transition throughout the presentation.

10. Make Sure Your Presentation Can Run On Any Computer

Use PowerPoint's Package for CD (PowerPoint 2007 and 2003) or Pack and Go (PowerPoint 2000 and before) feature when burning your presentation onto a CD. In addition to your presentation, a copy of Microsoft’s PowerPoint Viewer is added to the CD to run PowerPoint presentations on computers that don't have PowerPoint installed.

Related Articles -

  1. About.com
  2. Computing
  3. Presentation Software
  4. Tips and FAQs
  5. Presentation Tips
  6. Create Effective and Successful Business Presentations

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.