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Tips for Using Critique Language for More Effective Presentations

Effective presentations and public speaking skills are important in business, sales, teaching, lecturing, and generally feeling comfortable speaking to a group of people. The formats and purposes of presentations can vary from oral (spoken), multimedia (using various media - visuals, audio, etc), PowerPoint presentations, short impromptu presentations, long-planned presentations, educational or training sessions, lectures to simply giving a talk on a subject to a group on a voluntary basis for pleasure. 

However, every successful presentation uses broadly the essential techniques and structures DeckRobot explains here.


Contrast

When critiquing your presentation slides, consider contrast. Contrast ensures our eyes are drawn to something that is different, something that stands out from its environment. The contrast between design elements (in color, size, etc.) helps focus attention, create drama, and set hierarchy. When you look at a presentation slide, consider the contrast in the design and ask yourself: Is the prioritization clear, or is it indistinct?

“Without contrast you’re dead.”
–Paul Rand

White space

White space, as the name suggests, refers to the blank space in an image. Also called negative space, it refers to the space around and between the subject of an image. The most common presentation design mistake is to fill every inch of every slide with information and various visual elements. Your slides will turn into a real mess. Using whitespace will drive focus and will be the oxygen of the slide: it must exist so that all other elements can function the way they are supposed to. When you consider the whitespace on a slide, ask yourself: Is the space open, or cluttered? If a slide feels too cluttered, decide how it can be pared down for more effective messaging. White space gives the key elements more breathing room and emphasizes your main points.


Hierarchy

Good hierarchy treats things visually according to their importance. The most useful thing you can do here is to reinforce the presenter, designing with your audience in mind, by organizing and introducing information in such a way that you lead the audience on a journey through the slide.
Consider the most and least important elements on a slide when evaluating. If you can’t tell the most important takeaway, make changes so that what’s essential is highlighted.
Visual hierarchy is the organization and prioritization of content as a means to communicate a message.


Unity

Consistency and cohesiveness of your slides are vital for delivering a comprehensible presentation. Unity is achieved through consistent look and feel, visual elements and image treatment, placement of icons, the best location of the infographics and etc. As you go through each of your presentation slides, decide: does the presentation look structured or unstructured? Make changes to ensure every slide looks like it’s coming from the same place and presenter.

Tip: The AI algorithms of DeckRobot will help you save hours and avoid manual editing and create branded slides in a few clicks. We provide our clients with customized enterprise solutions for slide consistency, formatting, and styling. DeckRobot is an easy-to-use PowerPoint plugin working on machine learning algorithms, trusted by many businesses, consulting firms, and marketing agencies worldwide.

Glance test

This technique is old but gold. Your slides should be processed in 3 seconds or less. It’s impossible for the audience to process your slides and words simultaneously. The glance test will give you a quantifiable way to test a slide’s viability.

Here’s how to use the Glance Test:

1.Look at your slide for 3 seconds, then look away from it.
2.Determine whether you can remember and communicate the message that was included in the slide.
4. If, after three seconds, you are wondering what the slide was about, or can’t quite convey the message you saw, it means that the slide has too much information for your audience to process.
5. If the slide doesn’t pass the glance test, return and redesign it.

Conclusion

By approaching a deck with an improvement mentality, and understanding what makes a slide work—or fail—you can easily understand which elements should be tweaked, and how they can be changed to better fit effective slide design criteria. However, in this fast-paced evolving world when we have so much to do and so little time we are fortunate to have the technology to help us out. While using DeckRobot you will save a significant amount of your time avoiding polishing your decks. You will have more time to concentrate and make your key metrics, company goals, and projections more engaging than ever with compelling reports, dashboards, and charts.