How to simplify a presentation?

Presentations, in fields such as science and technology, can be quite complex due to the terms, facts, and figures used during these presentations. There becomes a need to simplify the presentation to aid understanding. 

Complex and cluttered presentations are more difficult to understand due to the long sentences and many bullet points used, not to speak of the complex and confusing images that contain a flow of information from one place to another with arrows completely confusing the viewers while totally ignoring the principle of movement.

A presentation can be a complete disaster when poorly executed for both the presenter, who will feel completely confused by the disjointed and poorly-pieced slide and the audience, who will be completely bored during the presentation. Because of the different topics and differences that may occur when giving a presentation, there is a need to simplify the presentation to ensure easier understanding for the audience and easy speech-giving for the speaker.

There are many tips to simplify a presentation: these are:

  • Clear titles for the slides: A clear title helps tell the audience everything that the slide contains which will help them focus on what the slide is saying. It will also help the speaker know what the next topic to speak on, helping the presentation flow seamlessly.
  • Few fonts: Using up to three fonts can confuse the audience in laying emphasis on different elements on the slide. Using only two fonts helps direct the viewer to which element should be paid more attention to on that slide and also helps give the slide a clean look.
  • Font size: Just as the number of fonts used is important, so is the size of the font used. Presentations will be viewed by a number of people and this will need to be clear to everyone seated whether close to the slide or far from it.  Using a larger sized font, not less than 11, will ensure that it can be viewed clearly. 
  • Show processes accordingly: knowing how to place the elements according to how the viewers read, either from left to right or right to left, depending on where in the world you are presenting, will ensure that users know where to start reading the slide from, for easier understanding.
  • Avoid light grey backgrounds: On projectors, light grey backgrounds are usually not visible at all.
  • Less content per slide: Some sub-topics may be very complex and need a bit of time to explain it. Instead of putting all the relevant information on one slide, split it into two or more slides so that it will not completely throw the viewers off the slide. 
  • White noise is good: One thing to embrace when creating presentations is that the fewer the words on a slide, the more attention they will command. White noise on a slide helps to lay emphasis on the words available on the slide which is better for both the presenter and the audience.
  • Cornered straight lines instead of curved lines: Cornered straight lines are better to lead the audience’s gaze from one point to another than curved lines which can completely confuse the viewers when connected, placed side by side, or intersects with another line.

Simplifying a presentation is the best way to ensure that the audience will be able to retain the information passed. One of the ways to humanize the content is to walk in your audience’s shoes and ask, “What is the best way you will want it to be explained to yourself?” That will help you cut out confusing content and rephrase the language better.

Trade fair film & Presentation Design for Glutz AG

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