Great presentations are one of the most effective ways to secure sales. They can showcase YOU as an expert in your field, used wisely they can create a stunning 1st impression, and with the right content they allow you to present with confidence (even if you’re not a confident speaker).
PowerPoint has been around for a long time and it continues to be a fantastic tool for supporting a speech, helping an audience to visualise and understand complicated concepts, or focusing attention on a particular subject.
But at Create Design Studio we also understand how people dread “Death by PowerPoint”, where badly designed slides can undermine what you want to say (or confuse your audience).
So here’s our guide to help you create professional looking presentations that have engaging and concise content (while avoiding the most common mistakes).
1. Slide Design
This is the all important starting point because the design of your slide frames everything your audience will see.
There are loads of templates available but if you want to stand out from the crowd it’s worth getting a template designed specifically for your business. Our experience will ensure your slides represent the look and feel of your business, while providing space for the right amount of information.
2. Composing Slides
Pick a font that’s easy to read
Avoid overuse of italics, bold and underlining
Use slightly larger point sizes for headers (colour is good too)
Step back from your PC or screen to check you can read it from a distance
3. Be Consistent
Use the same font on all slides
Select colours that match your logo, website or brochures, so your slides have a “corporate” appearance
4. Text: Less really is more
Don’t be tempted to throw it all on the page
Keep it simple: using “Keywords” that you can talk around
Avoid using sentences: bullet-points catch the eye more easily
Use cue cards to avoid reading from the screen: it helps you talk more freely
Your audience should be listening to you, with the slides acting as a backdrop to support your words rather than replacing them.
5. Using photographs and images
A really useful way to avoid reading slides is to put photographs or images on screen that relate to the subject you are talking about. These act as handy prompts that you can talk around or discuss with your audience.
Consider how a favourite photograph sparks memories, enabling you to talk about where it was taken and what you were doing. That’s the effect you want to create using your slides.
Pictures convey more than using too many words on screen
They can reinforce or complement your key messages
They can explain complicated subjects more easily
It’s often useful to apply images or photographs that appear on your website or your company’s literature. There are also free image libraries available (search via Google).
We also have access to stock photography / images and can provide guidance on the most appropriate to show your business off to best effect.
6. Animation, Film & Media
Cartoon images and animation can be effective if you’re presenting to an audience that can associate them with the subject matter, but be careful to avoid using them for comic effect as it may distract your audience from what you’re speaking about.
Film and media clips can also be incorporated and are often used for emphasis. They are particularly powerful when used to open a presentation or as a conclusion. We can show you how to employ these, so they give your presentations a professional “edge”.
7. Memory Hook
Your final slide should contain a memory hook: the “Take Home Message”
Make it a highlight that stands out for a specific subject
Or your company’s strapline, if it’s a more general piece on your business
This enables you to draw your presentation to an effective close
8. Think about your audience
Put yourself in their place
What do they know already?
What do you think they are expecting to hear?
What do you need to tell them to meet their expectations?
Will Case Studies help them identify with the subject?
Will photos, images or film clips help to illustrate specific points?
The more you hear the sound of your own voice and the more you practice with the slides, the more confident you will become. You’ll also quickly find that you don’t need to look at the screen, because you’ll know what’s coming next and can relax into the presentation.
Practicing allows you to check the timing of your presentation, so you can add or delete slides to ensure you don’t overrun or end up with an awkward time gap at the end.
It also helps to slow you down. When people are nervous they speak quickly, but when they are confident about their subject matter they automatically slow down – which means their audience hears everything more easily.
10. Once it’s done, leave it alone
Make any adjustments well ahead of the date you present and once you’ve got the timings right don’t be tempted to tinker with it any more.
Great presentations win business
If your presentations currently fall short of what you want them to be the tips above should help you to revisit and improve them, so you’ll win more business in future.
And if you would like to have a visually stunning template to get things started please get in touch with us on 01420 549637 or email [email protected]. We can also provide tuition and further tips to ensure you and your presentations have the “Wow” factor.