Tips for Creating a Virtual Presentation

Published on
February 12, 2020
The importance of great design for presentations should not go understated.

A PowerPoint that is thoughtfully designed (both visually and logically) helps presenters get their talking points across to their audience. As a presentation design agency, we always ask our clients who their audience is and how the presentation will be delivered. There are notable differences in what makes for good presentation design when it is an in-person meeting or virtual. With the help of yoyomeeting, here are some key considerations for the two types of presentations and what to keep in mind when designing a presentation deck for virtual meetings.

Virtual presentations vs. In-person presentations

While there are many similarities between virtual presentations and in-person presentations, there are subtle—but important—differences. Presentations delivered virtually rely on the internet in lieu of a physical meeting space, allowing individuals and groups to attend a meeting remotely or watch the presentation after the fact. However, having attendees located elsewhere than a central physical room can oftentimes lead to more difficulty maintaining their attention. With an online audience, there are higher risks of distraction than with a live, in-person audience.

In-person presentations

For an in-person presentation, the speaker can better control the environment for the audience. When presenting in front of an audience, it is especially important to be prepared to express your message through your physical presence—such as facial expressions, stance, and eye contact—more than through your script and the slideshow itself.

Virtual presentations

With virtual presentations, the visual focus shifts from the presenter to the slideshow; as a presenter, your use of words and intonation are even more critical. Designing a presentation deck for virtual delivery has additional visual and technical considerations compared to those for in-person delivery. Colors, the number of words used in a slide, and photos all have to be carefully chosen to help maintain the audience’s attention throughout the presentation and prevent information overload. Additionally, PowerPoint presentations for online meetings need to be designed to look correct across all screens and devices.

Design tips to keep in mind for virtual presentations

With an increased focus on design, there are many factors to consider when designing a virtual presentation for a remote audience. Here are some design tips for creating presentation slides for your next virtual meeting.

1. Keep it simple

A great design starting point for virtual presentations is to keep it simple. The slides used in such presentations should follow a simple design that express the presenter’s message plainly. The main points and purpose for each slide should be easily identifiable—the details can usually be filled in by the presenter’s speaking.

2. Use colors effectively

The colors used in the presentation can influence the audience’s interpretation of various points in the slideshow. In some cases, your color choices may be restricted by corporate-branded templates or company brand guidelines, but you can also consider the colors of your photos. Color psychology can play a subtle role in how your virtual audience responds to your message; using color psychology to your advantage can help make an impact.

3. Create purposeful titles

Slide titles play an important role in presentations; they inform the viewer and provide context for the slide content.Titles can go beyond simply naming the subject of the slide—such as “Company Overview”—and instead, state the main idea for that slide. For example, a slide titled “Competitive Advantage” might be renamed to state the advantage. Purposeful slide titles prime viewers for the content presented and in turn, help them follow the presentation more easily.

4. Choose 'safe' fonts

The fonts used in the presentation should reflect not only the company brand, but also the tone of the message. Most importantly, all fonts used must be easily legible for any individual—sans serif fonts tend to be safer than serif fonts. Be sure to consider how the fonts look across devices, factoring in smaller and larger screens and whether the font is installed.

5. Limit charts and diagrams

The use of data can help make your presentation more convincing; however, presenting too much data can overwhelm the audience and lose sight of the key takeaways (circling back to the concept of information overload). Consider limiting the number of charts and diagrams, using them only when needed—typically, this is when detailed information needs to be simplified.

6. Tell a story

Any presentation should follow a story as you progress through the slides. For virtual presentations, you need to capture the attention of your audience without the aid of body language. Telling the story and presenting your key messages logically will help keep your audience on track and attentive.

7. Use transitions and animations minimally

Since virtual presentations are transmitted through the internet, the chance of lag and audio-visuals going out of sync are high for each viewer, depending on their quality of connection. It is good practice to restrict the use of transitions and animations to keep the moving element sat a minimum, which will better avoid the presentation being streamed choppily to your audience. Any animations used should be more simple and subtle than complex.

8. Emphasize key points

Highlighting important text can leave lasting impression in the minds of the individuals viewing your presentation.Emphasizing key points by bolding, underlining or using different colors can drive home key points for each slide.

9. Use white space

White space on presentation slides is a subtle design element,but oh-so important—not everyone notices when it’s properly used, but everyone can tell when it’s not. White space is any clear, empty space around individual elements such as images, slide titles, and other text boxes (such as paragraphs). Having sufficient white space helps the slide appear less busy or jumbled, which can interfere with the message a presenter is trying to convey.

Takeaways

We hope these tips for virtual presentations help you create a well-designed, effective presentation. Remember: for virtual meetings, it’s important to capture the attention of your audience, engage, and make sure the message is easy to understand throughout the presentation. Great slide and presentation design will help your audience connect and resonate with the content after the presentation is completed.

For more information both designing and presenting virtual presentations, readout contribution to yoyomeeting’s article on virtual presentation tips.

With these tips, you are better equipped to design impactful and effective PowerPoint presentations for your next virtual meeting. Best of luck! (If you ever need a helping hand, feel free to reach out.)

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