Presentations with high quality graphical visuals, like digital presentations, can help you convey your message to your audience - if done right. If done wrong, they may have the opposite effect. When done right, presenters are more effective and perceived as being more professional, better prepared and more persuasive. You can create high quality graphical visuals with presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint, Corel Presentations or a web browser or even your word processor. Of course presentation software makes it easier to project your presentation digitally than a word processor. But with a word processor and color printer you can develop professional looking overhead transparencies for a fraction of the cost of a digital projector and notebook computer. Whether you are using overhead transparencies or a digital projector, here are a few tips to make your presentation a success.
Make it so they can see it
The size of the image projected should be one sixth to one eighth of the distance to the person in the back row. For example, if the person in the last row is 48 feet from the screen, the image should be between six and eight feet high. Remember the 6x6 rule. Six lines of text with no more than six words per line. This is the one rule I see broken more often than any other. I've sat through many presentations where paragraphs of text are displayed on the screen that no one - except maybe the front row - could read. Use handouts to distribute paragraphs of text that you want the audience to read. Use the images to focus the audience's attention on what you are saying, not to say it for you. Use bold sans-serif fonts, like arial or helvetica with a minimum point size of 24 point. Your titles should be about 48 point, depending on the particular font. To determine if your text is large enough, print your slide on a piece of paper and look at it from a distance of six to eight feet or hold your 35mm slide at arms distance. If you can read all the text easily from that distance, you should be okay. Avoid typing text in all capital letters. It makes it more difficult to read. Use it to add emphasis to a word or two, but not entire titles or lines of text. For transparencies, use a light color background with dark text. For digital projectors, use a dark background with light text. The reason for this is that most overhead projectors do not produce enough light to shine brightly enough through a dark color background to give the needed contrast. And digital projectors put so much light up that a light colored background is hard to look at for an extended period of time.