People who have put together presentations will know how something that seems so simple at the start becomes this monstrosity towards the end. Putting together a few slides is easy right? Wrong. What starts off as a simple idea, becomes this epic conquest for perfection as you mull over a single agenda slide. The perfect laid plans of building the ‘deck’ (that’s pro marketing speak for the presentation itself) are completely ignored, especially the rehearsing part, as you slave into the small hours trying to get this done.

That is when you are working by yourself on said ‘deck,’ the issues multiply quickly when you must put together the presentation with multiple people. It cannot be overstated how much more difficult it is to create a proper ‘flow’ in the presentation, that is again pro-marketing speak for a logical story. Worst case scenario is that you spend loads of time on a beautiful looking deck, only for it to read as if a 6-year-old kid has written it.

Here are some top tips to help you craft the next as-good-as-it-gets deck, as perfection is really the enemy.

It all starts with having a plan. Do realize that plans can change as you are crafting the presentation. Give yourself plenty of time, book in time to find appropriate visual elements, but also limit the time you spend mucking about. Give yourself time to check and rehearse the presentation.

Working in a group, it’s vital to have regular check-ins to check if the story told consistently. It also helps to make sure people are on track and that any new findings or insights are accounted for when constructing the story.

At this stage, it’s essential to have a guideline on how the presentation will look, either by providing a template or setting clear rules on which font to use and what font sizes are desired. Granted you will most likely have one person performing a formatting check before you reach your final version, you do want to minimize the amount of work required in these final stages.

Also, try to minimize things you can’t control. Don’t rely on very specific fonts if there’s a chance you are running the presentation on a device other than your own. If you’re adamant about using particular fonts, export the presentation to a PDF document just to be sure you can present something if all things go wrong. In the same vein don’t rely on external assets to work that requires a live connection to the internet. Playing videos in presentations are notorious for going wrong. Download the video if you can and put it on the same location as your presentation is a good move. If you require a YouTube video, you can find more information here: https://setapp.com/how-to/download-youtube-videos.

And it’s been mentioned before, but practice makes perfect: rehearse. Even if it’s just in front of a mirror, you need a run to check how things sound (having an audience is perfect) and, more importantly, how long the presentation will take. There is nothing worse than having to rattle off the last 20 slides in 2 minutes.

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