It’s happened to the best of us in the business world. We’re sitting in a large room with uncomfortable seating and doing our best to keep our eyes open. It’s not the content that we aren’t interested in it’s the presentation of the content that is putting us to sleep. Nothing can kill an employee training, a selling presentation, or a bid for a contract than a poorly developed presentation. Without a good presentation design your presentation will ultimately bore, put to sleep, and chase what could have been a strong customer base away.
Chefs in the poshest of restaurants have known the secret to presentation design for decades. The taste of the food is only half of what sells a signature dish to the customer. Presentation is what often wows and brings patrons back again and again to try out the new entrees of an established eatery. A strong presentation design can make the blandest of information interesting just like a great chef can make meatloaf appear to be a delicacy.
As a presenter, designing a presentation to attract and maintain the attention of your stakeholders is detrimental. In order to do this successfully you need to know the answers to the 5 W’s; who, what, why, when, and where.
Who is making the presentation is just as important as knowing who the target audience is. When developing a presentation take into consideration the type of person giving the presentation. Is the person male or female? Do they read from the slides or are they able to speak from memory on a topic? Placing a person who cannot remember key facts with presentation slides that only list topics without information can be disastrous.
Your target audience is generally made up of the businesses stakeholders. Stakeholders are defined as any person or group of people who are invested whether financially or not in the business. To put it simply, a stakeholder is an employee, client, investor, or community. Your presentation design needs to be appealing to your stakeholders. To do this in the best possible way you should take some time to learn more about their culture or cultures, level of professionalism, and how the information you are presenting is invaluable to them. Keep in mind that although you may not be presenting to all of your stakeholders you will want to develop you presentation as if you will be. Many stakeholders wear different hats in a corporation.
As the developer of the presentation design it is up to you to make the information appealing and easily received by your audience. You cannot do this if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you are presenting. Furthermore, what you are presenting directly impacts how you design your presentation slides. You wouldn’t pair statistics on car crashes with a slide depicting balloons. The knowledge you are conveying needs to be understood in order to be appropriately received by the audience.
Presentations are done for a number of reasons. The corporation may be interested in gaining new investors, new clients, or new employees. A non-profit organization might be looking to extend knowledge on important community topics to the public. As you put together your presentation design reflect on why this presentation is important. Answering that question will give you the ability to communicate to your audience more effectively through the presentation design.
Some presenters and keynote speakers may not feel that knowing when the presentation is to be given effects how it is received. Many in the business world may tend to disagree and feel that timing has a large effect on the overall success of a presentation design. As the developer it is wise to think about what time of day the presentation will take place. If it will be done in the evening then adding action and sound effects may help keep the audience engaged as attention spans tend to lessen in the evening. Presentations occurring after lunch may need more graphics and color to help with keeping interest peaked. Early morning presentations may want to skip out on loud sound effects and bright colors as these enhancers are not always well received at this time of day.
Presentation design is undoubtedly affected by venue at which the presentation is to take place. Is it to be held in a large conference room, an auditorium, or a small office? Are there sound and projector capabilities available? What are the acoustics like? If possible take a tour of any unfamiliar venues where you may be presenting. Not being able to see or hear the presentation can definitely smother its effectiveness.
It’s not too late….use the 5 W’s to breathe new life into old presentation designs!
Have a few presentations that need dressing up? Give the 5 W’s a try and let the process guide you into making those old presentations refreshed and appealing. What have you got to lose but a few dried up power point slide?