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As the use of visual aids and technology during litigation increases, it's imperative that you keep up with presentation trends so that you can use all the tools available to you to persuade a jury. Increasingly, attorneys need to hone their design skills as PowerPoint presentations move away from bullet points, to graphics.
Here are some tips and resources for you to upgrade your PowerPoint skills.
1. Keep It Minimal
You want your slides to be easy to see and free of clutter. Don't rely on too much text because you should never read your slides. Instead, highlight key terms and be prepared to elaborate.
2. Keep It Consistent
Try not to use every font and color under the sun to illustrate your points. Select one or two fonts, and just a few colors, for your presentation. Use those fonts and colors consistently throughout -- they should be an aide to your presentation, not a distraction.
3. Keep It Interesting
Here's where the graphics and animations come in. People are very visual, and it's nice to have some kind of imagery -- whether it's a photo, graph or chart -- that helps illustrate your point. Just remember rule #1.
If you are looking to learn more about creating PowerPoint presentations, there are online classes that you can take that won't take up a lot of time, and will help you immensely in the long run. For example:
Free Webinar: PowerPoint Litigation Graphics - Winning by Design™
Hosted by A2L Consulting, this free online webinar is only 60 minutes -- and you can watch it on your schedule. Click here to view the webinar now.
I love Lynda -- .com that is. If you haven't given it a try, you must. Lynda.com provides online classes on any type of software you can imagine, and you take the classes on your own time. You pay a monthly, or annual, fee and you can take as many classes as you want. It's a bit like a gym membership, the fee is flat and you get out of it what you put in. To see the PowerPoint offerings on Lynda.com click here.
If you were able to graduate from law school and pass the bar, then learning how to use PowerPoint should be a breeze. It doesn't have to take a lot of time to learn how to create eye-catching presentations. Just a few hours of online class time, and you'll be on your way to creating compelling, persuasive and professional PowerPoint presentations.
Have any fancy PowerPoint tricks up your sleeve? Let us know on Facebook for FindLaw for Legal Professionals.Editor's Note, March 22, 2016: This post was first published in March 2014. It has since been updated.