So you've got a big presentation coming up. You’ve probably already fired up PowerPoint and started piecing things together. But there’s a problem. Things just don’t look right. You’re not sure why, exactly, but things just seem a bit — off, somehow.
Has that ever happened to you? Sure it has. I know it has happened to me, but I’ve learned a few things about building better presentations that I want to share with you.
So take a break from PowerPointing for a moment and let me show you some tips for creating an effective PowerPoint presentation.
1. Tell A Story
Sometimes when I set out to create a PowerPoint presentation, I think back to when my daughter was little and it was my turn to put her to bed. She would always ask, “Daddy, will you tell me a story?” with a look of eager anticipation that is etched into my memory forever. There’s something intrinsic to human beings that makes us want to hear (and tell) stories. Use that to your advantage when you prepare a new talk.
Every presentation should tell a story. No, you probably can’t expect a business audience to be entranced by your made up tale of dragons and princesses (as my daughter always was). But even if you think your topic is boring, you need to give it that narrative edge. Every good story has heroes and villains. Conflicts and solutions. Think of your product as the hero who solves your customers’ problems. Tell people the story about the hero saving the day. It sounds a bit silly, but if you give it some thought, you’ll be able to frame your presentation as a compelling story every time. And don't forget to include the audience whenever possible. Ask them questions. Engage them. Draw them into the story. This will leave them feeling good about you, which is exactly what you want. It’s good for business.
2. No Distracting Effects
Microsoft’s engineers baked a ton of special animations and effects into the product, but take my advice: don’t use them! Well, you can use some of them, but many should never be used in a professional presentation. Stay away from distracting sound or visual effects. Avoid garish colors, acrobatic text animation, and cheesy clip art. While they may be fun to play with, they will pull your audience out of the story you’re telling, which is the last thing you want.
3. Simplicity Is Key
Simplicity is the key to creating a PowerPoint that stands out. Use less text. I often get asked to “spruce up” people’s slides — usually right before an important event. If I had a nickel for every hour I’ve spent decluttering PowerPoint presentations that were jammed with text, I’d be a rich man. If people wanted to read a bunch of text, they’d read a book (or a report). Try to limit yourself to three short points per slide. Don’t expect the slides to tell the whole story — save some for you, the presenter, which leads us into the final point.
4. Do Your Part
You can have the best PowerPoint deck in the world, but it can't convey its message alone. It’s up to you to bring the story to life. The speaker and the slides work together as a team. The PowerPoint deck sets the scene, while the speaker delivers the message. Know your topic cold, and be clear about what you want to say. Lead the audience through the story you want to tell, and let the PowerPoint presentation complement your story with high quality visuals and displays.
The point of any presentation is to communicate your message. To do this effectively, you need to engage your audience with a good story. Often, that story can be enhanced with a well-crafted PowerPoint deck. Strike the right balance and you’ll have a successful presentation.
If you need help with your presentation design, don't hesitate to contact us. Our experts will be happy to assist you in designing a professional presentation that will display your brand effectively!