As a marketer, you know the pain of giving a presentation very well. Of course, you develop your presentations, but you will probably also be the default speaker for conferences, webinars, employee meetings, board meetings … even sales presentations.
It can be easy to fall into the routine of cutting and pasting relevant content into a PowerPoint, adding some photos, and considering it a good thing. But it will destroy your offers. Instead, with a few simple design tips, you can create more attractive and engaging presentations and avoid the dreaded “Death by PowerPoint”.
- Click on the first slide
Think of your presentation as a story. If readers are not addicted to the first page of the book, they are unlikely to continue reading. It is the same as the first slide of the presentation. If you can get the audience’s attention right from the start, they’re much more likely to stay focused for the rest of the presentation.
In the words of former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, his presentation must begin with “shock and awe”. Don’t start with the bottom. Go straight to the most interesting things your product or service can do or make an inspiring statement.
Another winning strategy is to lure them in with a question. “What would you do if Y happened?” it immediately engages your audience.
It is even better if the question contains a surprise. For example, ask a question and give three possible answers and then surprise them by saying that none of them is the correct answer. Your audience is already engaged (thinking about the answer) and would like to know more.
- Follow the billboard rule
You’ve probably heard of the 5-5-5 rule for PowerPoint: no more than five words per line of text, five lines of text per slide, or five slides with a lot of text on one line. It’s time to put that line aside, as it is a lot of content for today’s distracted audience.
The secret is to avoid too many slides with words – a human brain cannot do two things at the same time, so don’t expect your audience to read your slides while listening to you.
How many words are ideal? The presentation coach, Nancy Duarte, recommends the outside line. Billboards need to be written and designed so that managers can understand the message as quickly as possible. Follow your rule when creating the slide and practice with a contributor to ensure that the reader does not take more than three seconds to understand the message on each slide.
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when using a quote. But use the quotes sparingly and spend a lot of time on the presentation so that the audience can digest them.
- Empty the bookmarks
There is a reason why you’ve never seen a billboard with markers – it’s not effective at drawing attention or making a lasting impression on people.
This habit can be one of the most difficult to break, as it is something that most marketers have always done. Problem # 1 is that bookmarks make your presentation look like a written document (where bookmarks can be effective).
A good alternative is to place each point on its own slide and highlight each person’s message with colors or images. Or, if it hurts a lot to leave the bullets out, at least use them sparingly and with large spaces between the bullets so that they can be digested easily.
- Use masking to make images more impactful
The visual narrative offers a more effective task of conveying a message in almost all situations. Use an imaging technique called masking to draw the audience’s attention even more effectively and draw it to specific areas of the slide. Like a mask, most of the slide appears to be covered with dull or faded masking tape, except for the part where you need to focus your audience.
This technique is especially useful when you need to present complex data or graphs on a slide; helps prevent your audience from being overwhelmed and not knowing where to focus.
- Design visuals to increase retention
As important and valuable as the information you provide, two days after your presentation, people forgot 80% of what you said.
You can significantly increase retention using relevant and inspiring videos. Our brains are much better at processing and storing visual information than oral information. This is because 90% of the information sent to the brain every day is visual, and studies have shown that our eyes need only 13 milliseconds to see an image. Also, some reports have shown that filming increases retention by up to 400%.
Balance is essential for images, so don’t fill your deck with images, gifs, and videos that make you “noisy”. Be selective when choosing images that support your main message.
Whenever possible, choose the right instead of the false as well. People generally cannot see themselves in stock photos but lifestyle images.