Five Ways to Help You Present better

How can I help you get better at presenting?

1. Don't put too much info on your slides.

Too much text on your slides will kill everything. Take the oldest person in the room (their age) and divide by 2. That's the smallest font to use.  And go bigger, because honestly, you want to address the whole room, not just the front of the room, right?

Also, have only a single point for every slide. Don't get pulled in to having three or four bullet points just because the default template lets you.

One. Point. Per. Slide.

2. Don't design your slides to be text-based slides.

Over half of your brain is designed to process imagery. So use images. Not text. I'm not saying you can't put a few words on the page. But engage people's emotions with images. And pick good images. Nice ones. Not the crap that you can access from inside PowerPoint. Get yourself an account with iStockPhoto or Shutterstock. Spending a bit of money will make sure your images do what you want them to do for you.

The right images in my presentations typically do most of my work for me.

3. Don't fill your screens with “stuff”

You need white space. You need to learn to love white space. I'm not saying it has to be white. But give your main point room to breathe. Give your images room to breathe.

Most people put too much stuff on a single screen. They put text, clip art, and graphs all on one. That's bad. Just plain bad.

4. Design your slides.

This isn't something you “assemble.” This isn't something you “write.” This is something you design. It's a work of art.

So pick two complimentary fonts. No more.

So pick one style of images. Black and white. Action shots. But don't switch to clip art midway.

So pick a limited set of colors to use. Use colors to help shape the portions of your message and your main points.

5. Don't rush it.

Prep is so critical. You have to make time for it. Most people don't spend more than 2 hours prepping a presentation. That's not nearly enough if you're just getting started.

I can spend up to 20-30 hours to prep for a single hour of presentation. It takes time to find the right images. It takes time to select which stories you're going to use.

Also, another way to think about prep is to get yourself into places where you can practice speaking in public. You won't get comfortable if you do it once a year. Trust me.

Bonus tip:

Start with a story. In the video above, I tell you why.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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