You are mentally prepared for that crucial presentation. You have your text ready. It is well-researched, thorough, structured and organized, interspersed with anecdotes and interesting titbits, and yet, it is just that – a lot of text. Since not many of us are masters at oratory, it can be very tough to keep an audience engaged with merely a lot of verbal input. Unless you are a theater artist, speech, by itself, tends to get boring after a point. It would be a good idea then to also visually engage your audience to sustain their interest and keep them focused. How do you do that?
It is a proven fact that the more of the five senses we use, the better our understanding, processing and retention of a topic. So, you are quite justified in fretting over how to have the audience hanging on to your words while you talk and talk.
Choosing the best-fit PowerPoint template is actually quite fun as you browse the numerous websites that offer themed and abstract templates. Whether you are looking for educational, corporate or business presentations; backgrounds and themes for medical, engineering or technology related topics, sports, events or celebrations, you will invariably find something to suit your requirement. You could also do keyword searches to help you narrow down your choices.
How do you go about choosing the right template from the hundreds that are available? Well, first of all, take a moment to appreciate the fact that someone has done the hard work for you so you can use the ready made professional templates to prepare a great presentation. Now, ask yourself the following questions in order to narrow down your choices:
- What is topic of my presentation?
- Who are the audience I am going to address – students, professionals, corporate honchos?
- What should be the overall tone of my presentation – bold, flashy, or sober?
- Do I want to add color, Clip Art, charts, graphs, maps or other visuals; or perhaps, sound or music loops as a means of engagement?
With these basics answered, you will have a clearer idea of the themes you should choose. You could refine your search by category, tags, background, colors, business or even animation among other key requirements that you shortlist.
Once you have chosen a template, it requires only a wee bit of ingenuity to design your presentation using a template:
- Appropriately fill out the basic content onto the slides without crowding. Consider the size of the audience and the hall where you are going to take the floor. If your audience stretches to the dark depths of the hall all the way back, you might want to do a check on font size and color before you start putting words on the slide. Crowded slides that spell out verbatim what the speaker is saying work more as notes to the speaker than as keyword/concept reinforcing tools to the audience. Keep the content brief. List key points and supplement these with verbal explanations.
- The templates give you preset layouts for preparing slides. If your presentation has a heading followed by a bullet list, use the title/text layout with the bullet points in the text box.
- If your presentation is going to be really long, consider dividing it into several sub-topics. You might think of treating each sub-topic as a mini-presentation in itself. To do so, you could follow the simple trick of using different colors or background for each sub-topic while keeping it connected to the overall topic with the help of your company logo on each slide, or perhaps sound, or a watermark. Remember to add summary slides every now and then to keep the connection thread intact if you are working on a long presentation. Animation for PowerPoint is a great way to break monotony of static slides. You could also go in for a 3D template just to jolt the audience out of restiveness.
- If you wish to have handouts for your audience, you can print multiple slides per page, full page slides, slides with only key points, or even slides which leave space for the participants to make notes.
You will agree that the benefits of using a template are numerous:
- It spells great economy of time. You save hours when you use a suitable template. You can even create great presentations on the go.
- You save on effort big time. You can create thoroughly professional presentations quickly and effectively, leaving you free time to invest elsewhere.
- Your presentations are persuasive as a result of custom designed layouts.
- Easy editing allows you to make changes in a jiffy. You can also give your presentations a personal touch or customize them further by using your own visuals, logos and watermarks.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, teacher, trainer or a corporate person, choosing the right presentation template is no rocket science. In fact, it is quite entertaining and you get to revise and review your content to tweak it just the way it should be served up to your audience. What are you waiting for then? Seek and you shall find (in no time at all!)!