Some people successfully use the presentation as an independent way to present material. However, it often becomes a part of a report, webinar, or online course. Presentation is a perfect way to give your students a brief overview of the materials for notes. Moreover, it can be a hint for you not to forget the information you have to present. You remain the key element for your audience, and it’s a big advantage of slides.
But it doesn’t mean that your audience ignores slides; that’s why you need to take care of the visual component — the design of slides. If you’ve never created presentations, you probably don’t know how it should look to seem attractive for your students. This guide will help you gain an insight into the basics of making a beautiful presentation.
Before you go ahead with the plan of your slides, you have to identify your aim. We hope there’s no need to explain why you must have a clear purpose. There are several ways how your presentation can be useful for you:
- Backing up the speech or report;
- Promotion and selling the product;
- Visual aid for listeners.
Our task is to review the structure of a good presentation and define the best order for its components.
This part will take you a few minutes, but you still shouldn’t ignore it. An introduction sets a tone for your speech. Tell the theme of your lesson, describe what aspects you’ll touch and why your students need this information.
The first slide you’ll create is a title slide. Don’t overburden it with the abundance of information. A perfect title should contain the topic of the seminar or online course and the speaker’s name. Feel free to add sponsorship logos, your contact details, etc.
The rules for your webinar
Not all your students know how webinars and online seminars work, so consider explaining to your audience your plan for this webinar: when they can ask questions, where they can find the answers to frequently asked questions, how they can get access to the recording, etc. This slide should be a notification for your audience, so include it in each new presentation.
When you start your webinar, you always inform your audience about the speakers or speaker if you’re the only lecturer. You’d better devote a separate slide to present a speaker. Add name, photo, place of work, area of activity, academic degrees, etc. Your audience should know who will teach them.
The plan of the effective presentation
A summary slide is a compulsory component of your presentation that’ll let your students know what questions you will consider and what theses you’ll discuss.
The main content and the ways you can structure it
The five slides mentioned above do not contain much information, but you should be attentive and don’t let them last more than 5 minutes; otherwise, your audience will get bored. Avoid presenting information as a plain text: structuring and maintaining the logical order make the main ideas clear for the audience, and it’s what we need to achieve.
There’s no point in describing all methods of structuring the material. Here are five of the most widespread ones:
1. Chronological approach
You may use this method for any presentation, but note that it suits best for various business presentations. Chronology presupposes that you’ll describe the past situation, how things are today, and what you offer for the future. If you discuss changes, boldly use this method to help your audience acknowledge that something has changed.
2. Geographical approach
There are certain topics that require the use of this method. In most cases, they are related to the situation in any country or region. For example, you may easily use this approach if you’re talking about something that influences people in a certain country of the world. The perfect example is the presentation about climate change. Describe the reasons for climate change, how we can notice it, and then tell how different countries try to fight climate change. Finish your presentation with a discussion about the measures your audience can take to do good for the world’s climate.
3. Problem-solution approach
Sometimes to be sure your audience understands what you’re talking about, you need to start with discussing and explaining the problem and then describe the possible solution. Here is a good way to implement this approach in your presentation:
- The problem your audience faces;
- Reason for this issue;
- Consequences of this problem;
- The solution you offer to tackle this problem.
4. Traffic lights approach
Use traffic lights to change the behavior of your audience. Red means they stop doing something, green means they should start doing something, and yellow means they need to continue doing something. Place them in an order you consider necessary and effective.
5. The list approach
It’s hard to call this structure effective because it’s the simplest way to organize the material. However, if you see that no one among the above-mentioned approaches suits you, use a bland list. Don’t forget that the perfection of the material mainly depends on the speaker but not on the presentation, so if you’re an expert in your work, don’t worry. When you use the list, you enumerate all details and elements and then describe each item in detail.
Interaction with the audience
Most of the speakers start communicating to their audience at the very end of their presentation. But we must tell you this approach is wrong. Think about the possible touchpoints when preparing for your webinar, and then try to organically integrate them into your slides and attract people’s attention.
We don’t advise you to ask people any questions after each slide. It’s much better to devote a separate section in your report to it. Create a slide “Questions and Answers” to let your audience know that now they can start asking questions. Some people may oppose and say that it’s better to answer the questions after each slide, but it’s an intensely personal decision. If you aren’t sure you want to devote a special time for q&a, try another approach and compare their effectiveness.
You’ve discussed certain questions and certainly want to know what the audience thinks about it. Why not include a slide with a short questionnaire. Be sure your platform has a special section for questionnaires and hire a manager to monitor this poll.
It’s no use denying that the beginning and the end of the presentation stick in the memory more than any other moment. That’s why both the beginning and the end should look perfect. Be attentive while working on them if you want your main content to be more interesting and want them to sign up for another course and buy another webinar.
The conclusion isn’t enough to finish your presentation. An abstract is a final slide where you overview the information presented at the webinar.
A path forward
If you decide to end your webinar with a concrete plan of action, create a slide with its description. It’ll help you create an algorithm based on these steps. There’s no need to complicate something here: just list your steps and nothing more. Everything you’ve stated in your presentation goes to your plan. If your task is to educate and inform, you don’t need to create any plan, moreover, you may ask your audience to develop it based on the information they’ve learned today.
Well, what’s next?
It is your final slide that’ll explain to your students what happens next: will you give them access to any additional materials, conduct polls, when the next webinar/lesson happens, and so on.
All course creators and speakers want their presentations to look perfect and contain as many materials as possible, but they often forget about one important aspect. Presentation and other materials will be aired through the Internet, but not all people have a good Internet connection to view large photos, tables, animations, videos, etc. That’s why there’s an important rule you should follow: make slides simple but informative.
Common design mistakes
The abundance of text and long lists are the most widespread mistakes that make your presentation useless. Moreover, they’ll make people get bored and leave your webinar. If you have to describe any highlights from the book or any other work, don’t list them word for word. People who are watching your webinar can open this book and find this information there. Get your creativity involved.
The same applies to people who add large images to slides. It works well with presentations alone, but not for webinars at all. Images require educational platforms to transmit huge amounts of data through the Internet, which often causes latency. It annoys people.
The effective design of the interactive presentation
You don’t need to browse the Internet in search of tips on creating a presentation with outstanding design. We’ve collected three major variants for you:
Devote one slide to one plan item
Don’t worry that your presentation will be too long; it’s okay. If you have a large plan containing more than five items, consider using this approach. You regularly change slides; people see a new slide each minute and don’t get bored or distracted.
Form items into groups
Schemes and diagrams always work better than plain text or lists. Create a slide with several groups and compare it to the list to see how informative and attractive it is. This approach also helps people see how items can coincide or even intercross.
Do you ask what software has this function? Microsoft PowerPoint and its SmartArt function let you group the information.
What about graphics?
SmartArt function can also be used for adding some graphics to the presentation. All graphics you want to add should be topic-based; it’s important. Use PowerPoint for this purpose if you want to save more time.
Check the table below to gain insight into the most convenient instruments for presentation creators:
The best software for beginners because of its convenient functionality and user-friendly interface. Has a lot of opportunities for process automation. PowerPoint presentations can be viewed through Google Drive.
PowerPoint contains many functions you’ll hardly ever use, and sometimes it makes the finding of a necessary function endless.
A minimum set of the most necessary instruments, so you’ll hardly need to spend your time exploring Keynote’s functions. Creates a pptx presentation that can be opened on any PC.
Only MacOS is supported.
There are no restrictions: you can design and format your presentation the way you like.
Be ready to spend some time making sense of functions and instruments.
You may think your slides are good enough and you can’t improve perfection; however, there’s always room for improvement. Here are some good ways to improve your design. Check them, and perhaps you’ll find a detail of your presentation that should be upgraded.
Correct a background
Don’t forget about the need to stream your presentation over the Internet, so the fewer details it contains, the better for you. Delete all unnecessary details from your background and make it self-colored. Nothing will distract the attention of the audience.
Get rid of the animation
All these transitions are outdated and useless, so try to find a way to delete them all. It would be challenging to do if they serve any function, but you must replace them.
Build your slides
The only animation you can use is the effect that lets you move an object to a slide. These are various build effects (building in and building out). Object means image, text box, graphics, table, etc. This effect is perfect for large slides containing a lot of information. If you don’t want to overload your audience, add the elements progressively.
They aren’t necessary at all. Everything they can do is cause latency and make people nervous, so get rid of them. Why do people still use transitions between slides? It’s time to stop thinking they can make presentations look beautiful. No one cares.
Don’t use Prezi for webinars and seminars; this software works well only for personal presentations. PowerPoint, Keynote, and other programs use a slide-based approach to create presentations. Prezi is completely different. It uses a map layout to place your slides. It zooms in your ‘slide’ o to view it and then zooms out to return to a map. Looks well but causes lags.
Only small images are allowed
Images, as well as all other media materials, sparkle people’s interest and retain them. Since the difference in the Internet speeds doesn’t let us include any images we want, the only solution is to select small photos.
Do you really need eye candies?
Both your webinar and presentation aim to inform people but not to entertain. That’s why you’d better get rid of the majority of decorative elements such as the following:
- Gridlines on graphic or diagram;
- Shadows, reflections, and other 3d effects;
- Unusual frames near text boxes.
They distract the audience and make it difficult to concentrate on the main content.
Prefer linear art
We understand that it’s difficult to persuade you to use something besides photos, but we’ll try. Sometimes using linear art, such as tables, figures, and signs is more appropriate. They help you create slides that’ll be visually attractive for people and load much faster.
It’s not so difficult to create a presentation, but you’ll have to spend your time and even obtain certain skills if you want to create a good presentation. We hope this guide was useful to you and helped you to create an effective and good-looking presentation. You may use our instructions to update your old presentations to make them suitable for webinars. Ask your audience to share their opinions about the quality of your presentation at the end of your webinar: feedback is a significant motivator that helps to understand what should be changed.
- Do you need to include CTA in your presentation?
Presentation, as well as your webinar and course, aims to achieve something. You can increase its effectiveness by placing a CTA statement. It’s better to include it at the end of your presentation, and CTA may look like “sign up for English course,” “buy a new book by this author,” “sign up for a trial lesson in yoga,” etc.
- Does repeating the contact details at the end of the presentation make sense?
You may be surprised, but yes, it increases the chances your contacts will be saved. Thank the audience for the attention they devoted to you, and place your mobile phone, e-mail, and links to social media.
- Which color palette for presentation is successful?
Orient to your corporate style when choosing a color for formatting. The maximum number of colors you may use is five, but 2-3 is often enough to design a stunning product that’ll catch people’s attention.
- What font is better to use?
We can’t answer this question because each person here decides for himself or herself. There’s no successful font used in all presentations: some are more popular, whereas others are less. Sometimes people manage to one-up even the simplest fonts the way they start looking attractive and trendy. Make sure your font is readable, up-to-date, and has a normal size.