A simple presentation tip to keep your audience engaged

When you give a business presentation, you want your audience to be fully engaged and focused on what you’re saying.  You no doubt spend a considerable amount of time putting your content together for this very reason.

But, do you fully consider your audience when you format your PowerPoint presentation?  You see, good design can mean the difference between an engaged or distracted audience.

Here I’m specifically talking about consistently formatted text and, in particular, use of an appropriate font size for PowerPoint presentations.

Personally, I find text formatted using very small font sizes difficult to read, and this affects my ability to follow the presentation.  I similarly get distracted by font sizes that vary across slides within a presentation.

Now in all likelihood this inconsistency in text formatting occurs because of PowerPoint’s AutoFit feature which automatically resizes text that wouldn’t otherwise fit into a placeholder.

Of course, inconsistencies aren’t so obvious where the amount of text within each placeholder varies only slightly.  However, they do become more evident where a greater amount of text is added to individual placeholders.

In any case, you’ll be happy to know there’s a straightforward way of preventing this from happening.  It’s simply a matter of unchecking a few checkboxes.

Here’s how:

  • Select File > Options (Microsoft Office button in 2007);
  • Click Proofing;
  • Click the AutoCorrect Options button;
  • Select the AutoFormat As You Type tab;
  • Deselect the checkboxes for AutoFit title text to placeholder and/or AutoFit body text to placeholder;
  • Click OK; click OK again.

Your new settings will now be applied across all of your PowerPoint presentations.

Note that you don’t have to disable the feature for both the title text and body text placeholders; you do have the option to disable just one if you’d prefer.  However, I’d recommend disabling both to ensure consistency is maintained throughout your entire presentation.

So now that you have more control over your text formatting, you’ll be less likely to end up with a presentation that contains varying font sizes or font sizes that are just too small.  You’ll also find you no longer need to manually reformat text, giving you more time to focus on the content of your PowerPoint presentation.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to easily and quickly create professional PowerPoint presentations that are worthy of your audience’s full attention.