Since its launch, Microsoft Office has become the standard for productivity software and countless businesses, schools, and organizations have relied on PowerPoint to facilitate their presentations. For 25 years and counting, the program has dominated the presentation software landscape. However, as is the case with many long-term relationships, things can get a little bland. We’ve all been witness to a less than memorable PowerPoint presentation—or 12.
Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen, believes “we have become accustomed to a ‘PowerPoint culture’ in which a disconnect exists between the audience and the presenter.” Reynolds argues that more often than not, these presentations “actually undermine a speaker’s good intentions.”
So how do we create presentations that are fresh and impactful in 2015?
As one of the strongest tools we have as marketers, our websites aim to attract visitors, educate them, and ultimately convert them. If we can use what we know about website engagement and recreate it in the form of a presentation, we can hopefully have a room full of people walk away as believers. The same principles we use to create an effective website can also be applied to your next presentation. Here are a few tips for creating dynamic marketing PowerPoint presentations.
1. Have a plan
Just as you have a blueprint for how visitors should proceed through your site, and in turn, the funnel, map out how you want your presentation to flow. Keep in mind your end goal as well as your audience’s, and walk them through the steps to get there. Also, be sure to personalize each and every presentation and make eye contact. Do your homework and tailor your content to the group you are in front of. Your audience will be more inclined to engage if they feel that you are speaking to them directly and not just using the same canned presentation. Don’t be afraid to make notes reminding yourself to look up or slow down.
2. Make it appealing
Design is a main component of any presentation and can truly make it or break it. Here are some guidelines that are influenced by web design to help with slide creation:
- Use images: Look for simple visuals that are relevant to your topic and make sense.
- Be Consistent: Pay attention to colors, formatting, and overall tone. Consistency in these details from slide to slide ensures a more professional-looking presentation.
- Give it style: Lose the standard templates and really make it your own, whether it be according to your branding or tailored to your topic.
- One thing at a time: Keep it concise and easy for your audience to follow by addressing one idea per slide.
- Utilize white space: Less is more. Make important points stand out and keep your audience’s attention.
- Fonts should be large and easy to read: This makes it easier for your audience to see, but also prevents you from creating the dreaded wall of text on your slides.
- Embed your multimedia items: Just like a website, we don’t want to leave the page for our audience to get what they are looking for. If you include multimedia items, make sure to embed them in the slide and keep them inline with your presentation.
3. Create Value
What’s the point in doing a presentation if you can’t give your audience any takeaways? You want them to go out into the world ready to use and share the great information you just bestowed upon them. Grab their attention and engage them with interesting, substantial, even shocking content, but make sure it’s meaningful. You should also keep emotion in mind and consider how you want your audience to feel at the end of your presentation. Remember what Maya Angelou taught us: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
4. Test and Revise
Feel like you’re giving the same presentation over and over? Just as we do with websites, test your material until you find something that works for both you and your audience. All too often, we are relieved that the stress of presenting is over and then just move on. Instead, try new things and monitor your audience’s interest, and you will evolve as a presenter. Always save time for questions and comments at the end of your presentation and use that feedback. Be sure you are comfortable with your material and don’t forget to practice. It’s been said that Steve Jobs, presenter extraordinaire, would rehearse for two full days before each presentation.
The most important thing to remember is to use your slides as a supplement, not a script. You are the storyteller—your presentation should just enhance it.
What are your tips for creating dynamic PowerPoint presentations?