Stay in the spotlight – Avoid white backgrounds

One of the most common mistakes we see in slide decks that get sent to us with a ‘please help’ message attached, is that they all use white backgrounds.

You could blame PowerPoint for this because as soon as you open a new presentation you normally have a blank white slide. Most people aren’t designers or ‘creative types’ and so they wouldn’t even think to change this very simple part of the presentation design. But ask yourself this question: What do you want people to focus on the most in your presentation?

The answer should be you. You are (and always will be) the main focus of the presentation.

Now imagine sitting in the audience of a large boardroom or large auditorium. In either case, the lights may be slightly dimmed and you’ll see the presenter in front of you. Then BAM your eyes are blown wide open by a huge white rectangle that dwarfs the presenter and takes all of the audience’s focus.

This is not good because your audience should really be able to focus on you at all times, and then glance at the presentation either when you prompt them to, or you reveal something that looks interesting. They shouldn’t have to stare at it the whole time.

The alternative is to simply use a dark or coloured background in your presentation. Here’s a quick demo of how a quick change in background can help key messages stand out more in your slides:

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