Keys to a professional-looking non-distracting presentation.
On-screen presentations, when made and delivered correctly, can captivate an audience, make information memorable and keep listeners engaged throughout the worship service. But a few minor faux pas can take a presentation from captivating to distracting in a matter of minutes.
While many church leaders attend college, seminary or educational classes to learn how to hone their craft in preaching, leading worship and teaching, few have ever taken a course on design. Thankfully, knowing just a few presentation best practices can help leaders ensure their worship presentations seamlessly support God’s Word and enhance the congregation’s worship.
Here are five tips to help you avoid a presentation distraction:
1. Think Beyond Color for Contrast.
Contrast measures how different two colors are. In comparison, color is important for coordination, emotion and readability. But if color is not incorporated correctly, it can have the opposite effect.
For instance, a presentation slide may use contrast with a red title and a white subtitle, but if both of those lines are the exact same font and size, the difference in colors isn’t going to do much for readability.
As a rule of thumb, a title should be bigger than the subtitle, and it may look better to have both lines in different, yet complementary, fonts. Consider adding a high-contrast color treatment to the headline so you direct the eye there first before naturally moving to the subhead next.
2. Intentionally Use Symmetry and Asymmetry.
Knowing the difference between symmetry and asymmetry can help create more seamless designs. Symmetry has to do with balance. When design elements are equal on either side of a central line, the design is perfectly symmetrical. On the other hand, asymmetry is intentional imbalance. While still orderly, elements are not equally apportioned across the design.
Slide content should either be intentionally symmetrical or deliberately asymmetrical. Not a blend and not in-between.
3. Use One Slide for Repeated Phrases.
Consider for example the hymn “It is Well.” At certain points of the song, the phrase, “It is well” is repeated multiple times in a row. Instead of typing out “It is well” on the slide five or six times, type the line once and leave the slide on screen for as long as it will be sung. This way, the audience isn’t occupied with trying to make sure they repeat the line the correct amount of times, and it allows the band to sing it as many times as seems appropriate for the moment.
4. Include Video Subtly.
Videos are one of the most powerful presentation tools, and they serve as excellent transitions. Videos can be great for making announcements after worship, highlighting an upcoming outreach opportunity or recapping a previous event. Especially for newcomers and visitors, videos are great for capturing the personality and heart behind a church.
When considering how and when to utilize video, remember to be subtle. Video naturally seizes attention. Use it sparingly when the focus should be elsewhere, like on lyrics or the sermon. Video is ideal for announcements and transitional pieces.
5. Make a List and Check it Twice.
After finalizing the presentation during the week, create a list of everything that needs to be tested before the sermon, and commit to checking off every item. Read through slides for clarity, accuracy and typos, test sounds and cues, and ensure your recording device has plenty of memory.
By incorporating these five tips, your presentations will look more streamlined and professional and will ultimately better serve their purpose of keeping the congregation informed and engaged.
Content is adapted from The Proclaim Guide to Beautiful Church Presentations by Faithlife, which uses technology to equip the church to grow in the light of the Bible. For information, visit Proclaim.Faithlife.com.