Can Presentation Templates Improve the Way You Present Data?
What would presentations be without presentation templates? We’ve all been there. The boss calls less than 24 hours before a major meeting with a casual, “Hey, can you put together a quick presentation for me to use tomorrow? Don’t worry about how it looks, just make sure it’s accurate with all the usual talking points.” Yeah, right. No matter how much the boss insists that the presentation appearance doesn’t matter, we all know it does.
Pressed for time to balance content and design, you’ll likely turn to the ever-expanding list of presentation templates. As a result, the boss was able to breeze through another important presentation and you get the credit. Once again, presentation templates saved the day.
Starting from Scratch
So many articles advising readers how to make highly engaging content have surfaced over the years. They often contain statistics, like the percentage of presenters who experience anxiety before presenting or things like the minimum font size to use. One commonality among articles offering presentation advice is the emphasis on the importance of a presentation’s visual appeal. Capturing the audience’s interest will take more than just public speaking. You’ll need a great presentation to get the points across. And for that, you’ll need great presentation-making skills. Building skills is a marathon, so start with presentation templates in the meantime.
Otherwise, you’ll have to start each presentation from scratch. That means coming up with the overall design, picking the fonts, choosing a color scheme and so much more. Not to mention, you also need to focus on the actual content. You can’t just cram several lines of text into a slide and slap an image on for good measure. Unfortunately, just coming up with the design will take hours that you seldom have. That’s why no-fuss presentation templates exist to jumpstart the creative process and keep the ball rolling.
Advantages of Presentation Templates
What makes presentation templates an indispensable tool for employees tasked with creating presentations? A lot, if we’re honest. To keep the theme of using templates, let’s keep it simple.
Below are four of the biggest advantages of using presentation templates:
1. Simplifies the Creation Process
Instead of spending more time than necessary devising a slideshow design, presentation templates offer an instant starting point. This allows presentation makers to focus on content straight away.
2. Lightens the Workload
Generally speaking, a solid template only requires users to fill in the content. The font style and size for text are preset, so all that’s needed is to type in the words. The same goes for images. This allows users to focus less on the layout and more on the actual messaging.
3. Created to Catch Attention
The most popular template designs are often those that appeal to the senses. Bright and complimentary colors, large white spaces and ample room for images all contribute to keeping the audience’s attention on the slides. A well-designed template also safeguards itself against well-intentioned but badly-informed users. These are the ones who overload slides with excessive lines of text, badly-scaled images or loud colors and fonts. In contrast, a well-designed slide draws attention to the content rather than away from it.
4. Presents Information Better
Presentation templates that help create visually-pleasing content prevent the audience from getting distracted. By not overloading a viewer’s senses with too much information, the well-designed slide reinforces the message it contains. Using professional-grade presentation templates ensures that layout, spacing and content rules are applied correctly. This means that the template specifications ensure the readability of texts and the pleasantness of the layout. Without the distractions of bad layouts or loud visuals, the audience can better understand the information.
Avoid the Following Presentation Pitfalls with Templates
Just as there are many available good templates to instantly spruce up your slides, there are also bad templates able to do more harm than good. Care should be taken when selecting templates.
Some of the biggest template pitfalls include the following practices:
Data and Information Overload
The most common culprit of boring presentations is the presence of too much text. Blocks of text that provide a detailed explanation of the slide belong in a note handout, not the slideshow itself. A presentation slide should contain only enough words to capture the audience’s attention. The presenter should instead provide supporting information as part of their talking points. One way to avoid overcrowding slides is to stay away from templates that accommodate too much text.
Sprinkling too much industry jargon in your presentation can either portray you as an effective communicator or as someone who has no idea what they’re talking about. Tread lightly!
Not everybody has the patience or inclination to learn loads of industry buzzwords in the middle of a sales pitch. However, everyone can appreciate a good, sensible presentation that speaks facts and presents its position clearly. Be mindful of how you use industry jargon and when in doubt, use synonyms to convey your point.
Too Many Charts
Using charts and tables is a great way to provide a visual confirmation of your data points. They provide a visual explanation of a statistic to make it easier for the audience to grasp. Granted, you know what they say about having too much of a good thing. It’s the same with charts and tables.
The audience may feel overwhelmed by the abundance of data points. Or perhaps the charts are too hard to understand at all, further sinking the audience’s interest. Combat this by avoiding templates that allot too much space for images, charts or tables.
How do you know if a template features a good or bad design? Good designs highlight what the presenter is trying to say. They shine the spotlight on the main points and allow the visual details to take the backseat as a supporting role. In doing so, it allows the audience to focus on what’s important rather than become consumed by loud design elements competing for attention.
Meanwhile, bad designs do the opposite. An out-of-place font (Comic Sans, anyone?) can make viewers ignore the text completely. Overloading a slide with images can also be a major turnoff, further diverting attention and interest.
How to Present Data Like a Pro
With design and content under control, now’s the time to brush up on presentation skills. Having the skills and confidence to become a master presenter can elevate any pitch. Furthermore, having the talent to differentiate a good presentation template from a bad one can make all the difference.
Here are a few of our top tips that can push your presentation skills to the next level.
Keep it Short and Simple
Short, to-the-point presentations remain among the most effective ways to sell an idea. After all, the longer you drag a presentation out, the more likely you are to put your foot in your mouth. You’ve come this far, stay out of your own way! LinkedIn suggests implementing the 10-second rule. After finishing your point, aim to connect the dots for the audience in 10 seconds or less.
Focus on What is Important
Similarly, having the audience focus on the slides too much (instead of the presenter) is cause for concern. A presentation with loads of tables, charts and graphs might look cool. But, that same set of slides often ends up as a nightmare for actual audiences. This is why presenters should keep it simple by highlighting the strong points and backing them up with short explanations.
Don’t be Afraid of White Space
Another head-scratching phenomenon is the gradual loss of white space in presentations. A white space, also known as negative space, is the application of empty space within a slide to reduce audience eyestrain. Instead of developing crowded slides filled with endless texts and images, users should learn to incorporate white space in their layouts to reduce design tension. Less is more!
Create Presentations with Ingage
Presentation templates hold the key to crafting content into a stellar presentation. Having the right tools, training and templates helps users create presentations that connect rather than distract.
When developing presentations, you may want to consider moving from standard presentation software to modern, interactive applications. Ingage is cloud-based presentation software that helps you develop interactive presentations ready to tell a story. Additionally, Ingage boasts excellent collaboration features that are perfectly suited for remote teams. You can even use its powerful analytics features to gain invaluable insights and construct future marketing strategies.
Learn more about how Ingage can help create great presentations for your employees. Visit our website and sign up for a free demo while you’re at it.