I wrote some blog posts about doing presentations.
Do those right and I think you're 90% of the way to doing a decent presentation. But, I got a few questions about 'visuals' so I thought I'd write one on that. Mostly because it's really easy to undermine a good presentation with a pointless transition.*
I'll confess, this is mostly just a list of things that irritate me.
Illustrate Don't Decorate
You should use visuals to make the point you want to make, not to make it look 'more whizzy'. Your visuals should be big and clear, just like your words, you should not have any visuals that aren't helping you communicate.
If you're talking about budgets you don't need a picture of some money.
If you're talking about having ideas you don't need pictures of lightbulbs.
If you're talking about teamwork you don't need a picture of some brightly coloured people holding a piece of jigsaw.
Even more specifically, never, ever use clipart.
Similarly, if you're typing an abstract noun into Image Search you've already lost.
Show The Thing
If you're talking about something - show it, show a big picture of it. Bring it to life. For us this often means showing a demo, or a video of someone using The Thing.
This is useful discipline. Because if you show it, and it doesn't explain itself, there's probably something wrong with it.
If you're showing software or a website, remember - no one needs to see all the chrome and the tabs in your browser, and you'll probably need to zoom in to show the essential details. This stuff isn't designed to be shown across a room.
3D graphs are harder to read than 2D ones. Don't use them. PowerPoint defaults to them, so you have to work a bit harder. But it's worth it.
No Pie Charts
Pie charts are notoriously hard to read. Don't use them. They're even worse if you make them 3D. Unless you're actively trying to mislead people...
(See how much bigger Apple's 19.5% is than Other's 21.2%)
Having a diagram doesn't make it clearer, making it clearer makes it clearer
If you've got a lot of complicated stuff to communicate don't just reach for a diagram. The chances are you'll just make a complicated diagram.
*NB: all transitions are pointless.