Our Cheat Sheet For Online Presentations

A good presenter should be able to speak the language of his audience (C) BBC

Let’s clarify – the Roi4Presenter team knows that every presentation requires an individual creative approach. Each product and each target audience is unique. Do not use our text as a universal template  for your efforts. Rather, it is a set of frames, canvases and paints you can use to create your own unique works of art.

Your first step is to determine your presentation’s purpose. You must clearly understand what you want to achieve from the audience. Sell. Teach. Attract investors. Sign a partnership agreement. General goals, such as “Tell”, “Introduce” or “Establish” accomplish nothing.

Your presentations should always be client oriented. One of the main presenting paradoxes is that if you want to achieve your goals, you first need to think about the interests and demands of your audience. Ask yourself this question: “What do they expect from my presentation?” Try to speak with the audience in their language, answering their questions – both spoken and unspoken.

Your goal should be to intrigue the audience. Try to ensure that the announcement of the presentation promises a potential benefit or an answer to a question of interest to visitors. At the same time, try not to fall into clickbait. The optimal pitch is: “Do you have a problem? – We will solve this problem.”

The topic of the presentation should be narrow. This makes it easier to stick to the thread of your story without jumping from one point to another and making it easier to lead the audience to the conclusions and decisions that you need. A broad topic lengthens the presentation time and complicates information perception. It is better to have several small, specific presentations instead of one big, general one.

The presentation should all be in the same style. Try to design your presentation so that it looks like a single piece of work. Do not turn it into a hodgepodge of pictures in different styles, a dozen fonts, and charts and graphs drawn from a dozen sources and in different colors and sizes. This approach gives an overall impression of casualness, even if all the presentation’s elements  communicate information well and are to the point. Given this, these obvious solutions must follow:

Limit yourself to two primary presentation colors. For obvious reasons, it is better that they contrast as much as possible.

One font for a presentation is enough. Two is allowed. Three is already too much.

Graphs and diagrams are better if you make them yourself, in accordance with your chosen style.

Choose one illustration style. It doesn’t matter what exactly it will be – classical paintings, black and white photographs, ‘acid’ cartoons – it all depends on your taste and the presentation’s topic. The main thing is not to mix them.

Build your presentation from text, not from illustrations. A presentation, in a simplified form, is a story. A story is, first of all, a text. Focus on the text scenario, noting approximately where the illustrative material will be appropriate. Only after finishing the text, after a few test readings (preferably with third-party listeners) and adjusting it according to the timing, should you begin to work on illustrations. By doing the opposite, you run the risk of not creating a presentation with illustrations, but rather a set of captions for pictures.

Illustrations should complement the story, not distract from it. It’s simple – the picture should perform a service function, showing exactly what you are talking about and when you are talking about it. Some presenters, in an effort to make their material memorable, sin by using ‘shock content’, cartoons, and the like. As a result, viewers remember not the presentation’s main content, but the illustrations. For the same reasons, video and animation are the exception, not the rule.

One minute should equal one illustration or slide. Try not to exceed this amount unless absolutely necessary.

Do not overload illustrations with text. Ideally, the text is separate from the illustrations.

Indicate the main element in the illustration. If there are several objects in the picture, it is better to highlight the one you want your audience to pay attention to somehow. Frame it, an arrow, color – look at the circumstances to choose the best option.

Are text slides necessary? Yes, it’s a handy way to show your plan, the sequence, help the audience draw conclusions from each section, sum up the event as a whole, etc. But remember, like illustrations, text slides are an auxiliary tool. Do not try to duplicate the text of your entire speech. The audience must either listen or read, but not both at the same time. You can build a presentation using only text and illustrations. But in this case, the presenter’s voice will be inappropriate.

Talk sparingly about yourself and your personal experiences. Even if you are the ultimate authority in the specific area that the topic is devoted to, try not to turn yourself into the main object of the presentation, unless, of course, you have determined this as your goal from the very beginning.

Include less theory and more examples. A demonstration of how the presented product is applied in practice is always better than formulas, diagrams and drawings. Especially for people who are not experts in the topic.

Don’t be pushy and intrusive. Putting pressure on viewers, demanding something from them and reminding them every minute that they have to buy something, download something, leave contact information or go somewhere is a very bad idea. A potential client or partner should feel that you respect them and give them the opportunity to calmly draw conclusions from the presentation and make their own decision based on your information.

Jokes? Not at all necessary! The idea that a serious event should be diluted with jokes in the style of stand-up comedians dates back to the pre-digital era and has become one of the clichés of public speaking. In the case of an online presentation, it should be treated exactly the same as illustrations. If an anecdote, joke, or real-life anecdote is useful for explaining the topic of the presentation and does not contradict its style or  format, use it. But if it is a joke simply for the sake of telling a joke, immediately throw it in the trash.

End your presentation with a summary, useful information, and tips. At the end of the presentation, the audience is especially attentive and this is a great chance to imprint your main idea into their memories. Another good decision is to leave time for answering questions. A set of links to what you can read and see on the topic, invitations to future events, and so on and so forth, would also be appropriate. Final slides with captions like: “End”, “Thank you for your attention”, “See you again soon” are a bad solution, because they are absolutely useless. Your time is wasted with their creation. You do not want to be thought of as someone who does not value their own time, and therefore anyone else’s time

As a summary, here is a list of our recommendations:

  • Determine the purpose of the presentation.
  • The topic of the presentation should be narrow.
  • The presentation should be client oriented.
  • Intrigue the audience.
  • The presentation should be in the same style.
  • Build your presentation from text, not from illustrations.
  • Illustrations should complement the story, not distract from it.
  • Video and animation are the exception, not the rule.
  • One minute = one illustration or slide.
  • Do not overload illustrations with text.
  • Indicate the main idea in the illustration.
  • Are text slides necessary?
  • Talk less about yourself and your personal experiences.
  • Less theory, more examples.
  • Don’t be pushy or intrusive.
  • Jokes? Not at all necessary!
  • End your presentation with a summary, useful information, and tips.

And in conclusion (note that we didn’t distract you with this in the body of the text) we remind you that any presentation will be more effective if you use the Roi4Presenter service.

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