Words that Stand Out, Not Stick Out

Over my years in the professional work place I have seen countless presentations, most of which all used Microsoft Power Point to enhance their presentations and to help the audience move through the presentation. If there is one thing I have seen time and time again from the inexperienced, it was “what not to do” during their presentations and at times it was downright painful to watch them. With that said, what I wanted to do was cover two small points that everyone should know when giving a Power Point presentation. Anyone who has seen, or given a presentation knows that there are way more than two things that everyone should know and try to perfect, but in this blog and the next I wanted to tackle just two items that I feel help lay the ground work for a good presentation; I’ll cover these two areas within Power Point presentations, with the hope that you can take away enough from the two ideas to help develop a great looking Power Point presentation.

The first area I wanted to discuss was the topic of font within Power Point. I have seen too many Power Points that “go to the extreme”, in other words there is just too much going on with your fonts that it is hard to read through. The slides have too much differentiation in font styles, sizes, colors and so forth that the audience can’t concentrate on the material. If you are going to create a Power Point presentation, you’ll need to keep the font clean and simple, and maintain a professional and straight forward looking presentation.

One of the most important things to do first is to ensure that your font color stands out from your background, but isn’t so bright that it is glaring into the eyes of your audience (neon green or yellow anyone?). Try to stick with a simple white, grey, or black (or shades of one of the three colors) as one of these colors is sure to stand out from your background. 02standard_fontsYou want to save font coloration to emphasize key words or phrases only; otherwise it can begin to look like a child’s drawing if you use too much font coloring. Secondly, you want to make sure that you stick to standard fonts. Any deviation from the typical fonts tends to give your presentation less of a professional feel and look and you can lose credibility as a result. Stick to fonts like Times New Roman, Tahoma and Verdana.

A side not to the about point of keeping consistency of fonts and sizes throughout your presentation, you should attempt to use a standard font type and size for titles, then a separate font type and size for all of your bullet types. With that being said, use italics and the CAPS LOCK sparingly on your presentation and never use cursive scripts.

Remember, professionalism is the key in Power Point presentations. If you have to even second guess whether or not it’s too flashy or not professional enough… Odds are you just answered your question!

For more information, please read the following websites:

1) http://presentationsoft.about.com/od/powerpointtipsandfaqs/tp/080119powerpoint_font_tips.htm

2) http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint-help/which-fonts-look-good-in-presentations-HA001124394.aspx

3) http://www.presentationtree.com/articles/greattext.html

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