In the business world, of course, we don’t have the luxury of building a deck that is completely graphic. Our presentations have to deliver everything from our business vision to product pricing without the benefit of a designer to build our decks.
Not having a designer is no excuse for a terrible presentation
Your presentations are a reflection of you and your company. Want to instantly lose credibility? Share a presentation that is dense with words, in different fonts and full of misspellings. No matter how good you are on your feet, you’ll leave your audience with a poor impression.
A lot of people tell me tell me that PowerPoint sucks. I think they are shooting the messenger but maybe they are right because – unfortunately – PowerPoint doesn’t write the presentation for us.
One sales vp told me that that she’d rather have her buyer looking at her products instead of a slide. Her point is well taken but a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation can frame the conversation, document the meeting and set-up key questions. Not surprisingly, the more presentations we built together, the more she wanted to use PowerPoint because of how the buyers were responding.
What makes a GREAT PowerPoint presentation?
- Keep it short – a good rule of thumb is 1 slide for every 2 minutes of presentation time
- Give your slides (and message) a personality that runs through the entire presentation
- Tell a story, don’t just dump data
- Connect with the pain point of your audience and share your solution on how you will solve it
- Use photos to help bring your message to life or embed video to help communicate more robustly
- Use short bullets to convey the idea – don’t write a book or a script to read
- Don’t be afraid of color or a larger font to make a key point
- Don’t get cute –animation sounds and slide transitions are very distracting. Keep the focus on you and your message
- Don’t use busy backgrounds and design templates
- Be ruthless and consistent. Every slide should make a critical point and all the slides should present information in the same way
A word of advice: practice with your presentation beforehand. You’ll feel more confident, know when and how to address each slide and it will help you consider the order of your slides more carefully. No one can follow a presenter who’s flipping slides forward and backwards to try and show something addressed later in the presentation.
It’s going too far to say a great presentation makes the sale but it uses the same components – a compelling story backed with strong proof points and powerful visuals – that you and the sales team use to build your business.