About a year and a half ago, I did a few weeks at GREY Advertising, helping their staff presentation specialist, Robyn Wolf, with some intense deadlines. We got the chance to get to know each other like only fellow presentation specialists can: how we handle stress, deadlines, difficult personalities, late nights, and of course how we do our craft. Robyn was really amazing at making sure all of our work was consistent on a level beyond any other presentation specialists I’ve worked with. She really rubbed off on me. So, of course I asked her to post on the subject I associate with her the most: CONSISTENCY.
You can find out more about Robyn on her LinkedIn page here.
Welcome to Consistency.
The definition of Consistency: “the property of holding together and retaining shape.” This is the most commonly used meaning of the word. It describes something that is the same throughout. On the other hand, the famous playwright Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
My motto is “Consistency Over Intensity.” It may be a fragment, but it has deep meaning. Business presentations often resemble a hodgepodge of different colors, fonts and formats. In order to enhance the professional look and feel of your slides, the first step is to ensure that they are consistent.
I am not, by any means, saying that a presentation should limit your creativity, but only that unnecessary noise needs to be reduced. Your presentation can benefit from greater consistency in the following four areas:
- Colors: Limit yourself to using a few main colors throughout your slides. If your template is well-designed, you can use the built-in theme colors.
- Fonts: You should limit your presentation slides to two typefaces. Too many fonts will become a distraction.
- Images: Choose pictures that are similar in style. Don’t mix cartoons with photographs. This too will keep your presentation polished looking.
- Formatting: Be sure that the formatting of fonts, images, bullet points, animations and backgrounds are consistent. If you are incorporating a variety of other presentations into one, be sure that each presentation has the same look and feel. Take the time to clean up the formatting of each slide. Use the master slide template(s), when formatting your slides. This way you can be assured that titles and copy will not move up or down or left to right, while moving from slide to slide. Additionally, be sure that you stay consistent with capitalization throughout the presentation.
By focusing on consistency, your audience will be able to focus on your discussion, and you will be able to communicate more clearly and effectively.