Guest Post: John Zimmer, Manner of Speaking
Many companies unwittingly hinder the effectiveness of their employees’ presentations because of policies that mandate the use of corporate templates on every PowerPoint
or Keynote slide.
Without question, a well-designed template can make a slide presentation look
professional and polished. And, it is understandable that companies want to display
their brand name and logo as often as they can. However, the focus on brand promotion can have unintended negative consequences.
Consider the slide below.
It is typical of many corporate slides that I have seen. There is a bar across the top (usually in the company’s colours) with a logo justified to the right. There are, of course, variations, with bars (or other designs) across the bottom or along the side.
At first blush, it seems fine, but there is a problem: The black bar in the slide above takes up approximately 21% of the entire slide surface. That leaves just 79% in which to fit text, pictures, charts, etc. The result is predictable: smaller text that is harder to read; smaller photographs that make less of an impact; smaller charts and graphs that are more difficult to understand.
Is it really necessary to have a corporate logo on every slide? Do you really need to remind your audiences 10, 20, 30 or more times that you work for ABC Company? Chances are, the audience knows where you work.
In my view, creating a compelling presentation that uses the entire slide surface to make an impact will benefit your company more than having a logo on every slide. Indeed, the logo is often a distraction from the main message on the slide.
I recognize that many presenters do not have a say in the matter. They must use the company template. In such cases, here are some ideas to keep in mind:
- Keep the text on any one slide to a minimum (which you should be doing in any event) in order to be able to use the largest font possible (30 point minimum).
- Seek permission to abandon the template for charts and graphs. Use the entire slide surface. The objective is to make the data easier for the audience to understand. Bigger = Clearer = Easier to Understand.
- If possible, use the entire slide surface for compelling images. If you must display a logo, see if you can so by superimposing the logo on the image in a discrete location.
- If you must use a reduced slide surface for an image, be sure to use a high quality image, the resolution of which will not be diminished.
- For the longer term, work to change either the corporate policy or the template. For example, the policy could be that the logo must appear on the first and last slides only. Or, perhaps the logo could be reduced in size or confined to a corner in order to yield more working space. Clearly, this last idea will be easier to achieve in a smaller company than a multinational, but every great innovation begins as an idea. Why can’t it begin with you?
A Canadian now living Switzerland, I am married with two terrific teenage daughters. I am passionate about public speaking and helping others improve their public speaking and presentation skills.
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