Download PDF FT Essential Guide to Making Business Presentations: How to deliver a winning message (The FT Guides)

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Products and services. Course development Customisable resources and technology. Browse our product catalogue and lecturer resources. Accounting, finance and economics Accounting and taxation Finance Economics. Business, management, marketing and strategy Business and management Marketing. Operations management Decision science. Mathematics Mathematics. Biology Biology. Law Law. Research methods Business and management Maths Sociology Psychology. Psychology Psychology. Many in the data visualization community recommend using a muted color e.

Slide Example : This normal-vs-highlight strategy is illustrated below. On the left, the slide software default gives one color per data point.

FT Essential Guide to Making Business Presentations: How to Deliver a Winning Message

Ensure that you have enough contrast to be distinguishable in either bright or dark room lighting. Finally, no matter how many colors you choose, be kind to people in your audience who may have visual conditions such as color-blindness. When the chart you are presenting has previously been published e.


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This gives you the flexibility to follow all of the guidelines in this article and others too. You can filter data, adjust scales, select colors, and optimize fonts to produce the best possible visual for your audience. Instead, just reduce the amount of text Guideline 8 and Guideline 9 , choose a readable font size Guideline 7 , and leave the text unformatted. The chart lines, bars, or shapes should do the majority of the talking. Background textures and images rarely add any value at all; on the contrary, they cause readability problems. Borders are used to group and separate objects, and to help express relationships.

What are you separating the chart from? Nothing prompts more slide mocking than useless 3-D effects on pie charts, bar charts, or other chart types. In addition to adding lots of visual clutter, 3-D effects actually distort relationships that rely on perceived area. This is a visual gimmick that, at best, would have the audience laughing with you. At worst, the audience would be sneering at you.

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Ditch anything that gets in the way. Slide Example : In this example, there are two bad choices on display! To see this chart done in a better way, see Guideline On the left, we have a 3-D bar effect which adds nothing and reduces the important visual relationship between the bar heights which encode the data. On the right, we replace normal bars with stacks of Six Minutes logos. So, if your slide deck uses a blue-green color palette, then use the same blue or green tones as highlight colors on your chart. I know this seems like a trivial detail, but color consistency reinforces that your slide deck is cohesive.

In turn, this will reinforce that your presentation conveys a cohesive message. If you have more than one slide with charts, make consistent color choices from slide to slide. For example, if you are presenting a series of charts comparing data from three sets e. Once your audience has formed color connections on the first slide, they can easily digest subsequent slides. Beware: If you mix the colors on subsequent slides, you will confuse your audience!

There are many ways to distort, mislead, or lie with charts.

Because a typical chart slide is only displayed briefly, audience members have to scan quickly and form opinions in a few seconds. The situation is ripe for spreading misinformation. Resist the temptation to do this, no matter what benefit you or your organization may derive from this misdirection.

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Both are disastrous results. If you have any doubts, then it is better to be cautious. Cut it out and either find a more trustworthy data source, or figure out a different way to convey your message.

How to Create an Awesome Slide Presentation (for Keynote or Powerpoint)

Just as with all external sources of evidence e. Whether you declare this verbally or not, you should mention the data source on the slide itself. You can do this in small print at the bottom of the slide. While this is an admirable goal, it confuses the purpose of a presentation. If you are effective, your audience will be educated, persuaded, or inspired to dig deeper into your message and your content, including the data.

When you offer the complete data set s to your audience, you will be seen as honest and trustworthy. I get asked this question every time I write an article which is guideline-based. The answer I always give is that beginners should always follow the guidelines until they become second nature. However, like all guidelines, there are cases when an exception is justified, and experienced presenters should be able to detect them. In those cases, jump back to the four principles at the top of this article.

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Ask yourself whether your guideline exception violates any of the core principles. If not, then you should be safe to use the exception. This is one of many public speaking articles featured on Six Minutes. Subscribe to Six Minutes for free to receive future articles. E-Mail hidden. So many good tips in here!

How to deliver a winning message

Thanks for the links too. You asked about other guidelines. I wrote some other chart guidelines , too. I actually advise using just 1 chart per slide. Giving a PowerPoint presentation? Read this first! Thanks 6minutes for getting right to the point with this list. Subscribe - It's Free! Read our permissions policy , privacy policy , or disclosure policy. Contact us. Free Email Newsletter. Six Minutes Speaking and Presentation Skills. Your guide to be a confident and effective speaker.