Presentations with impact

Picture of employee giving a presentation
By Alex Burden, Student Blog

29 June 2016

Depending on what role you fulfil in your career as a CA, you will be asked to give a presentation of facts or ideas at some stage. 

There are a few tricks and methods that could transform an average presentation into a powerful one. We advise on our practical tips for organising slides, how to face the audience, and how to subdue any nerves.

1. Improve your imagery

Presentations that are full of words end up taking the focus off the presenter. They are also not easily readable; it’s useful to include pictures or graphic representations to illustrate your facts, and we don’t mean clipart. 

Pixabay lets you download and use copyright-free images and photos to add a new dimension to your presentations. Lecturers Duncan McKellar and Steph Jenkins agree that the best approach is keeping it simple and bold.

2. Marketing know-how

If you have access to a marketing department, ask for branded logos and correct positioning on slides; if this is a presentation for an internal meeting, then you want to demonstrate that in-house values are carried through everything you do. 

If this is a presentation to an external client, you want to stamp the presentation with your company’s brand and emphasise professionalism.

3. Always use a master slide

This slide sets the template for the rest of the presentation; if you have a logo that needs to appear on all slides in the same position, apply it to the master slide. You can also layout your preferred areas textboxes and images. Just don’t add text to those boxes unless you would like to see it repeat!

4. 30, 20, 10

You need a 30-point font, it should be no more than 20 minutes in speech length, and no more than ten slides. Lecturer, Chris Cunnane, advises that three points on each slide is enough to provide plenty of clear, concise presentation material. 

Time your presentation; if it’s more than 20 minutes (and in some cases you may be asked to only present for five) then you need to trim the fat somewhere. Be sure to keep all fonts the same

5. Chart the correct course

If you need to include charts in your presentation, then stick to this golden rule; one chart per slide. Any more than that and you’ve sacrificed your clarity.

6. How to speak to your audience

Ally Millar, lecturer, suggests you use the ‘three T’s’: Touch, turn and talk. Touch the screen (or point) so that you can see the point you’re about to talk about; Turn to face your audience to make sure that you are engaging with them; Talk, confidently and clearly, with enthusiasm. “I also think that gesticulating really helps; moving around in general tends to hold your audience’s attention,” he explains.

7. Tips to reduce nerves

The 4-7-8 breath technique doesn’t just work with helping you wind down at the end of the day. It can be used to relieve tension before a speech or presentation: breathe out until your lungs are empty, then inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale from your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat as necessary.

8. Counteract against pitfalls

If you’re presenting from a location outside your office you don’t want a setback like corrupted or missing fonts when you open your file. 

PC and Microsoft users can click ‘Save as’, then tick the ‘Embed TrueType fonts’ box and press OK. Hey presto, the presentation you designed will stay as the presentation you intended. Alternatively, you can save your slides as JPEGs which are readable on all computers.

Do you have your own tips to share? Leave a comment below.


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