The above is a perfect example of what not to do in your next Powerpoint presentation! It exemplifies why the phrase ‘death by powerpoint’ is all too often used in the world of business when it comes to discussion a powerpoint presentation!
So what can you do differently – I think the video makes it pretty clear that there are alternatives to the kind of Powerpoint presentation that most people do!! Here are our thoughts on a few things you can do differently….
1/ Not use powerpoint at all…maybe even don’t use slides!! Often the most engaging presentations are when you can connect with the speaker themselves 0 this requires careful learning, rehearsal and confidence, but can be a lot more effective than falling back on a bog standard Powerpoint Presentation that impresses no-one!
2/ Hire a professional to create your Powerpoint presentation – that doesn’t mean necessarily hiring a graphic designer and asking them to do pretty slides. It means hiring a presentation specialist (like us!) someone who is an expert in what a successful presentation is made up of – the structure, messages and content – and then the design! The investment is worth it – to just for a one off presentation but as something your company can use again and again!
3/ Use Prezi! Prezi is a much more dynamic alternative to a Powerpoint presentation and the nature of it forces the creator to be more creative and therefore is better remembered than a bog standard powerpoint presentation! For more information on Prezi presentations see here
I’m sure you have been subjected to a business presentation full of seemingly endless sets of slides that leave you feeling more interested in the pigeon outside the window than the messages being presented in front of you!
And of course none of us wants to be in that situation where we waste our time and opportunity by not communicating effectively with our business presentation.
But a good business presentation takes time and effort to create. Re-hashing another departments slides or hastily throwing together some bullet points the night before just isn’t good enough in the competitive business world we live in.
What’s more, if you are making a sales business presentation and cannot invest the proper amount of time, resource and effort in getting the presentation right then it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the client relationship.
So here are some basic tips that will immediately enable you to take your business presentation up a number of notches and get your messages heard.
1/ Structure before design….
Most people say “I need a better designed Powerpoint presentation”. Actually what they need is a better structured business presentation. Only then can they have a better designed powerpoint presentation! Stop thinking about your slides as slides and think of them as messages. You firstly need to know what is the overarching message you are conveying. Have this message, clear as a headline and tape it up above your desk. Then constantly refer back to it and ask yourself with every slide and piece of content whether it is relevant and helping with this underpinning message.
What’s more, the time of the people you are presenting is precious – respect your audiences time and only tell them what is relevant to them; they will thank you and ultimately engage more in your message as a result.
One of the first things we learn at school is about storytelling and structure, so why have so many people in business forgotten this? – Beginning , middle and end with key characters and plot line is critical to any story and your presentation is the same.
Start by collating your content, messages and pieces of information on post it notes and then physically move them around to create your structure and story. Refer back to your headline and anything that is not relevant or doesn’t serve this then disgard – less is more!
2/ Start and End…..
Without a doubt the first and last slides are the most important. Why then do so many business presentations start with a title slide which has the name of the presenter, the company and the date and if you are lucky a logo which no-one notices anyway? Considering that this title slide is often on the screen as people enter or on your laptop during the initial meeting pleasantries, it is what your audience sees the most of – so use the opportunity to capture their imagination and be memorable! Equally the last slide, will often be left up there following your presentation or at the very least it is the last thing that people remember, so don’t have a slide that just says ‘questions?’ – that is not a message to leave people with….
3/ Lose the bullet points……
We all know that a slide with minimal text is more appealing. So don’t be tempted to be lazy and overload with text. If you are concerned about needing the prompts yourself then either use the Powerpoint viewer tool, if you are using Powerpoint or Keynote or if you are using Prezi then have notes to prompt you or better still, learn it – its not that difficult and just takes a bit of effort! It is your content after all so you should be able to learn it fairly easily!
A good technique if you are struggling to take text off your slide is to print out two versions of your slides; one with all the text deleted and put them side by side and think what alternatives you could put in the blank spaces in place of the text on the other one.
4/ Know what you are conveying…….
Always think what am I trying to convey here? Is it an emotion? If so then written words won’t do the job. Writing “I’m angry” doesn’t have the same effect as seeing someone who is angry or better still hearing it or seeing the effects of it!
If you need to convey statistic results then pick out the most critical ones and focus on them in a way that makes it immediately apparent to the audience for what you want them to see. Better still put them in context of what they mean – make them relatable, real world and show the impact of what they are saying. Tell the story of the statistic and what is means for the viewer rather than just what it is.
5/ Don’t underestimate the importance of the presenter…..
It’s no good having an amazing slide deck if you have a poor presenter. Be authentic and genuine – people won’t trust the presentation if they can’t trust the presenter. Be yourself, let people enjoy listening to you and remember a visual aid is just that; an aid. It should not be everything, it should serve to back up what you are saying in person. Otherwise you may as well just send everyone a video – which of course we advocate too, but for different purposes!! You have an opportunity to present in person; grab it, take time and effort to do it properly and make it count!!
If you would prefer to have help with your business presentation then contact us and our presentation consultant can offer a free no obligation consultation……….
If you would like to take advantage of our current free business presentation assessment offering then contact us here to find out more……..our presentation consultant can come and meet with you, conduct a free workshop session, analysing your current presentation and how you can improve this. Alternative we can provide this consultation and analysis as a virtual service.