“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”. I recited this dialogue from a movie “The Godfather” as I entered into the conference room. It was my first sales presentation, and I was ready with my charm, well prepared speech and neatly done presentation slides. At the end of the presentation, as I approached to get a feedback, I discovered that the audience was confused and hence not convinced. Well, the factor which created the confusion was badly created PowerPoint slides. Upon stressing on the problem, I came to know that, there was a lot of content, unnecessary usage of multiple colors and no story-line. I am sure, we all must have faced similar problems in our professional or academic lives.
After creating hundreds of presentations in last few years, I have zeroed down on few tips on “How to create a presentation which will impress the audience”.
Would you like to watch a movie having no story-line or structure? Obviously No, and same applies to the presentations. Before even opening MS-Office, pause, and draft a story-line based on the objective of the presentation. Ideal presentation should have a smooth flow and it should transcend a story. There are three questions that you have to answer in the presentation, What? Why? So, what?
Audience should understand “what” the presentation is all about, then “why” would elaborate on the topic of the presentation, and finally “So, what” should conclude the topic. In short, have start, middle and end to the presentation.
Always divide your presentation into various chapters, and make sure to create a flow by which, one chapter should lead to the next.
Master the “Slide Master”
Once, you finalize on the story-line, the next step is to create a skeleton for the presentation. You can design introduction slide, chapter slide and other slides based on the content. Slide Master will help you to setup the skeleton for your presentation. Various things such as setting a company logo, background image/color and inserting placeholders, which you can do using Slide Master. It will definitely make the presentation creation process easy and organized.
Now that you have a story-line and skeleton, you can think about the color combination that you are going to use in the presentation.
Not all people have an eye for a suitable color combination, and due to which, people like us, find it surprisingly difficult. In case, you are not sure about the color combination, you can always refer to the color combination that the company uses for its website, publications and reports. It is always better to select color combination based on the audiences’ background.
Once you identify the color combination, just be consistent with it throughout the presentation. Remember, right color combination will help the audience to relate with the content of your presentation. Talking about “relating with content”, using appropriate images would help you as well.
“Pictures speak thousand words”, cliched but yet powerful suggestion. Always feel free to use fitting images to convey information. Remember, all text makes the presentation boring, so insert interesting high resolution pictures and icons whenever possible.
You can increase the granularity of the presentation by inserting icons. These icons will help you to draw attention to your content.
Graphs and Infographics
Research has proven that human brain can remember thousands of images, with a surprising level of detail. This quality of human brain can be utilized by using graphs and infographics in your presentation. Infographics help you to visualize any data, which helps to inform and persuade audience. Further, infographics will also help you to create a visual cue for your content.
Designs to convey information
Design of the presentation either makes or breaks the deal. We all know that, if you are not having a design background, then creation of persuasive presentation is a jolting task. In such a scenario, having a set of predesigned set of slides or presentation library would definitely help you. There are many PowerPoint add-ins that would help you in providing presentation slide libraries. You can choose an add-in that will provide you with the flexibility of innovating those designs. Remember, innovate but be consistent with the usage of object size and colors.
It is totally unprofessional and unacceptable to present slides with inconsistency. It is a big turn off from audiences’ point of view to look at a presentation which has varying color combinations, font size, font type and objects size. Inconsistency displays lack of efforts and inexperience of the presenter.
It is a good practice to define the font size & type for title text, summary sentence and main content beforehand. Always, maintain the placement of the objects consistent to avoid disturbing “jumping effect” of slides.
Finally, I would recommend to all the PowerPoint users that approach the presentation from a story telling point of view. Well done PowerPoint slides will make your presentations/meetings effective and productive. In case, you do not have a design background, then there are PowerPoint Add-ins available in the market that will make your life easy to create visually impressive presentations in a fraction of a time, so go ahead and use the available technology.