Let's face it, we've all sat through an uncomfortable presentation (or two) and it's not because the presenter lacked charisma or good talking points. We're talking about the flashy deck with too many animations, WordArt icons, and paragraphs of text in 9-point font. No one wants to be that guy. So follow these tips for your next Keynote presentation and you'll be sure to leave your audience talking - for the right reasons.

1. Say "no" to bullet points.

The first thing most people do when creating a Keynote presentation is start a short list of bullet points ... each point followed by too many words ... on each slide. Bullet points can add a surprising amount of visual clutter to a slide and cause the viewer's eyes to bounce around the screen. Save bullets for your presenter notes to organize your thoughts and remind you of all your talking points.

2. One fact per slide, please.

With bullet points eliminated, we also want to avoid large blocks of text that are visually treacherous for viewers and hard to read for anyone not in the first two rows. Instead, highlight one bold fact or metric on a slide that will capture your audience's attention, and then verbally convey the importance or meaning of this item. Because all details aren't on the slide, this technique also forces the audience to give you their attention.

 Conference presenter photo |  l i g h t p o e t

Conference presenter photo | l i g h t p o e t

3. Write Tweet-worthy headlines.

It's common practice for event attendees to live-tweet the presentation they're watching. Writing Twitter-friendly headlines and facts (meaning 140-characters or less) will give your audience snappy statements to send into the social sphere. Forbes highlights an example from an Apple WWDC keynote, where Tim Cook repeatedly used the line "iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone."

As a result, this buzz-generating, easy-to-tweet snippet showed up on the Twitter feeds of many top news outlets. Use this technique strategically to make sure your most important messages can be easily shared.

4. Use high-quality images.

Even short, tweetable, interesting facts can fall flat if they are on a sad, dismal, black-and-white slide. Or even worse: accompanied by a poor-quality, pixelated image that you copied and pasted from another website. Captivating images should reinforce the emotion of a slide, even if the information seems dry.

Highlighting year-over-year performance increases? Try a background image of a mountain climber ascending a peak or a high-energy celebration.

Need to pitch a new product to investors? In addition to actual product shots, consider other images that convey what your product enables users to accomplish, or the emotions it will inspire. Kid-targeted products can be accompanied by fun backgrounds of candy, while business tools can benefit from images of clean, productive workspaces.

 Happy summer photo |  dolgachov

Happy summer photo | dolgachov

5.  Make some Keynote magic.

Now that you have slides with minimal text and beautiful imagery, it is an opportune time to work in some of the features that make Keynote presentations stand out from the crowd. Keynote's Magic Move allows you to create the effect of objects moving from one slide to the next. This effect is great for having text, charts, or images slide into or out of a slide as you go through the presentation.

Magic Move is also fantastic for displaying scrolling views of webpages or other images that wouldn't fit on one screen. But proceed with caution. Like cologne and hashtags, this technique is best used in moderation. Too much motion in a presentation will distract from your ultimate message, and create a seasick audience!

6. Save custom themes.

When you have a Keynote presentation that looks and acts the way you want it to, save it as a theme that you or your teammates can easily reuse in the future. Working from a custom theme ensures that your company has consistent presentation styles, and everyone is using the right version of logos and company images. This simple tip can instantly elevate your entire team's presentation game moving forward.

 Web concept illustration |  bloomua

Web concept illustration | bloomua

7. Embrace being left to your own devices.

For Apple-enthusiasts, one of the best things about Keynote is that presentations can be seamlessly transferred across devices. This makes building and editing presentations on the go a breeze, with iPad and iPhone apps offering robust functionality.

When it's time to present, use an iPad to project your visuals and show your presenter notes, while using your iPhone to advance through the presentation. Using familiar devices reduces many of the day-of jitters that come with using whatever laptop and remote happen to be available.

Follow these seven steps to create better Keynote slides, and impress your audience with masterful presentations. And, if you need royalty-free photos or vectors for your presentations, be sure to sign up for a Bigstock 7-day Free Trial, and download up to 35 free images. Have fun.


AuthorAshley Kemper