Document and presentation design tips for EHS and sustainability professionals

Presentation and Document Design Tips for EHS&S Professionals

5 Tips for Creating High-Impact Content that Conveys Your Story

August 23rd, 2018

For EHS and sustainability professionals trying to make their mark, there is no better way to leave a positive impression than presenting a polished slide deck or an expertly designed report. Not a graphic designer? No problem! Check out our top five design tips for EHS&S professionals to help you create clear and dynamic visual messaging.

1. Set up your story

Before you type a single word or select a single picture, you should think about your story, your intended takeaways, and—most importantly—your audience. Are you presenting to a large group of executives or a small group of teammates? Are you writing a report that will be published online for a wide audience to read, or for specific technical experts? Many aspects of your presentation or report depend on these answers. Outlining and defining your story before you start will also help you during drafting—when you have a strong end goal in mind, it’s harder to forget where you were going.

Effective story-telling requires aligning your points in a logical way. Whether your story is chronological, project-based, cause and effect, or some other cadence depends on the subject matter and what you want your audience to remember. (Check out this presentation for a great example story…about story-telling!)

2. Less is More

The #1 presentation sin is loading up your slides with full sentences and even—gasp—paragraphs. Keep it simple, and you’ll keep your audience engaged. Turn your main ideas (and any in-text lists with five items or more) into bulleted lists. Find ways to break up long paragraphs in your report--we recommend aiming for at least two to three paragraphs per page to keep things flowing. And remember that visual clutter is just as bad as written clutter—it can muddle your message and distract your audience from what really matters, so play it safe with visuals and transitions.

3. Double Down on Consistency and Readability

If your company has preset PowerPoint or report templates, use them! Remember, when you submit a report or present in front of a crowd, you represent not just yourself, but your company, too. While it might feel nit-picky, using the right colors, logos, and fonts conveys your message more cohesively.

Try to keep your font to a minimum of 18 and use colors and designs that are accessible to those with color blindness so that everyone can enjoy your awesome presentation. Mind your spelling and acronyms: double-check that words with multiple spellings are spelled the same way throughout, and introduce the full length of each acronym when you first use it. Finally, never forget the crucial final typo check.

4. Use Visuals to Your Advantage

Images can be an amazing bolster to an already great EHS or sustainability story. Incorporating graphs, charts, 3D modeling, maps, photographs, or icons in your slides or document engages your audience and supports your story.

Use high-quality photos. Blurry, low-quality photos don’t help your audience understand your story and look messy and unprofessional. Don’t “Google grab” (search for something and then copy-paste a photo from the results)most images online are copyrighted and are not released for commercial use without payment or attribution. Instead, make sure to only use licensed photos, photos from free stock photography sites, or use Google’s Advanced Image Search to find free images.

5. Highlight What’s Important

Remember the main takeaways you want your audience to come away with after seeing your presentation or reading your report. Choose the right data that backs up your claims, and make it stand out. Proceed with caution, though: if everything is important, nothing is. (And don’t put an entire spreadsheet on a slide, no matter how much awesome data you have. If your audience can’t read it, it’s not so awesome after all.)

Now, go out into the world with a great presentation or document and show everyone that you know your EHS and sustainability stuff!

Get more writing and communication tips for EHS professionals or visit the Antea Group SlideShare to view some of our EHS and sustainability presentations.

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