Presentations are useful tools for sharing information and knowledge. You see them in classrooms, conference venues, and board meetings. They are used by virtually everyone.
In any educational setting, presentations are essential, as people tend to learn more if they are exposed to different stimuli: sound, image, movement, etc. Moreover, 50% of the cortex (the largest area of the brain where information is processed), is in fact devoted to visual processing and our brains are better at processing visual information. Therefore, adding visual stimuli will most likely improve the learning outcomes.
It’s actually common knowledge among teachers and trainers: a visual input (image, video, etc.) will make lessons and training sessions more interesting, more engaging, and more efficient.
So, when we know we have to present something, the first thing that comes to mind is to create some slides. We put all the information we need to teach on our slides. Our job is done.
Or is it?
5 Tips on how to create better training presentations
However, slides don’t work like magic (some may even have the opposite effect), but if we use some tips and tricks, they might help our audience retain more information and stay motivated and focused throughout any training presentation we might be holding.
Before starting to work on our slides, we need to remember that they are meant to help our learning audience and not necessarily help us. With this in mind, let’s see what we can do to make slides more engaging and more useful.
Less is more
Some of us must have seen our fair share of slides crammed with big chunks of text or a lot of data written in tiny, unreadable fonts. Needless to say, these slides are not only useless, but they are also frustrating. Imagine someone attending a conference and having to read slides like these during an entire day. It’s tiresome, frustrating, not to mention useless.
We should instead spread the information over several slides and refrain from putting everything we know on just one slide. When we add information on a slide, we should ask ourselves if it is really necessary. If the answer is no, perhaps we could do without it.
Use big words. Literally!
This second tip is related to the previous one. Don’t use small fonts that only people sitting in the front row can see. Big words in this context mean they’re written in easily readable fonts and bigger font sizes. If we use big fonts, we will automatically reduce the amount of text on the slide, so we’ll have to stick to the essential information. We’re killing two birds with a stone.
Shorter is better
Slides are not meant to replace us. They are meant to help us. Instead of cramming full texts on our presentations, we should leave only the main concepts or the main ideas on the slides and speak normally to the audience. Also, we should avoid reading texts or reading our slides, we should just talk to the audience and make visual contact. Otherwise, people might feel disconnected.
Create a pique experience
We can engage the audience, stimulate their interest and curiosity by changing the way we introduce the next ideas or concepts. For example, we can use a relevant image and make them guess what is coming next, or use incomplete sentences and allow them to fill in the blanks. Our audience will feel more included and more engaged. We should make conferences, classes, and training sessions an exciting opportunity to discover new things in an entertaining manner.
Get a view from the top
As we design your content, we could use the Slide Sorter view to see the presentation from the top. It will give us a broader perspective, as we can see the flow of the presentation, monitor the usage patterns for images and color, examine inconsistencies. A bird’s eye view of the presentation will help us come up with that final touch which will make the presentation memorable.
Engaging slides are not very useful without meaningful content — that goes without saying. But good content alone is not enough. This is why we should pay more attention to the way we design our slides. And we should keep in mind that less is more and that slides are only a means, not an end.
Veronica is a multilingual trainer of trainers. She has years of experience working with adult learners, both in Higher Education and in the business sector.