You see them at executive meetings, trade shows and conferences: tabletop presentation boards offering visual menus of facts, figures, graphs, tables, photos and more. Some look primitive and serve as reminders of school science fair projects. Others are slick and attention getting, designed to stop traffic and influence readers. Make yours the latter. Approach your tabletop presentation display project using both the artistic and practical sides of your brain and you’re sure to make your case.
List the reasons for creating your tabletop presentation board. Decide if your aim is to persuade, sell, educate or promote. Understand the people you’re targeting so you can slant copy and graphics toward that demographic. For example, commit to using large graphics and big type to educate seniors about health care.
Show, don’t tell. Encourage passersby to linger over your tabletop presentation board because the data you’ve used are easy to understand, nicely presented and specifically aimed at their needs and desires. Commit a large portion of your tabletop presentation board to graphics; show observers, for instance, how the product you’re selling is used rather than covering your presentation board with a dissertation of dry facts.
Use bullet points to focus your copy and shorten the verbiage beside each bullet point to the fewest number of words possible without losing the context of your presentation material. Employ the nomenclature of your industry to show readers that you are savvy about terminology and an authority from which a reader can expect to learn about the topic or issue that spurred the creation of your tabletop presentation materials.
Use a couple of easy-to-implement design tips to draw people to the data on your tabletop presentation board. Select only three colors when adding elements to the presentation board and repeat them when you prepare text, frames and design elements. Select colors that visually reflect your industry: red, yellow and blue if you represent a child-focused business; blue, green and white if you’re a member of the health care community; or hot, trendy colors if you’re part of the fashion world. Group design elements in threes. Use only one font, in a variety of sizes, to create the copy for your board.
Mock up a sample tabletop presentation board once you’ve decided on all of the elements you want to include. Ask colleagues to give you feedback on the design, graphics and copy blocks. Ask them to be forthright and prepare for compromises: One may say that your typeface is impossible to read; another may declare your background color "jarring." Complete the desktop presentation board once everything’s been evaluated and you’re good to go.
Bring along a tabletop easel just in case the side returns of the presentation board you’ve chosen don't hold up. It won't hurt to take along glue to retack sections of your presentation to the backing should they begin to peel off.
- Bring along a tabletop easel just in case the side returns of the presentation board you've chosen don't hold up. It won't hurt to take along glue to retack sections of your presentation to the backing should they begin to peel off.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.