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If Your Presentation Feels Flat, Try This

If your presentation feels flat, try this

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You’ve nearly finished with creating an important PowerPoint presentation for a big client. It has all the right elements: The content is tight. The template is solid. The typography is clean and consistent.

And yet, the presentation feels, well, a little flat.

This is the moment when you should take a step back, look at your presentation as a whole and ask yourself the following questions:

How do my slides flow?

When transitioning from one idea to another, your presentation needs to move fluidly — much like a song moves through chord changes or a movie transitions between scenes. If your presentation lacks flow, it won’t be easy for your audience to follow it.

Does my presentation tell a story?

Presentation storytelling is all about using narrative techniques to make your slides feel more impactful. It could be as simple as framing your slides in a “Intro–Body–Conclusion” format, which gives your presentation a recognizable structure that helps audiences stay engaged with your content.

Do I have the right amount of content on my slides?

No presentation mistake is more common than packing too much information onto one slide. With too much to look at, your audience is likely to spend more time reading ahead than listening to you, which also means they are taking away less information. Limit yourself to one idea per slide, and if that’s still too much, break your slides into multiples to pace content out better.

Does my visual design have variety?

If all of your slides look the same, your audience will quickly lose interest in them. Use different background colors, typography and photography to set visual pacing and keep your audience engaged.  

Have I given my audience the right visual cues?

Identify key moments in your presentation and use visuals to communicate them. For example, when you shift to a new “chapter” in your “story,” consider using a splash of color or a striking photo to help your audience recognize those transitions.

Are there clear takeaways?

Don’t be afraid to make your takeaways obvious. Create callout boxes or use large text to draw attention to key points in the presentation. Not only will this make it easier for your audience to remember takeaways, but it’ll keep them interested in what’s on your screen.

Am I using the right color palette?

If you have a large presentation, using different colors to “code” or segment your content is one of the easiest ways to keep it looking fresh. However, don’t overdo it. A presentation that showcases a rainbow of colors won’t look polished or professional.

After you’ve gone through this checklist, cue all your slides at once and give your presentation another gut check. If it still feels flat, go back through the questions again and refine the slides accordingly.

Remember: Your audience will experience your presentation as a single event or interpret it as a single object. To make it effective, you should, too.  

Update (02/24): we’ve revised this article to add some essential ideas for better presentations.

Looking for more information about presentations and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.

About the author

Danielle John is the founder of VerdanaBold. She has more than 25 years as an award-winning designer and creative lead, directing the visual expression and production of thousands of high-value new business pitches, C-level presentations and internal presentations for major global brands. When she’s not busy at VerdanaBold, she can be found antique shopping and spending time with her husband and two kids.



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