Presentations are the industry-standard when it comes to communicating with larger groups effectively. Meeting rooms and conference halls are remiss if they do not have a Presentation in the background during meetings. And with the pandemic and rise of remote working, presentations have solidified their place within the virtual workplace and meeting rooms as well.
Considering the reality of the virtual workspace, a team spends more time looking at presentations with a voiceover rather than actual face-to-face communication. This, however, means that the necessity of a visually appealing and engaging presentation has drastically increased as that becomes the primary source of information within a virtual meeting.
So how do you make effective presentations? As it happens, making a good presentation is part science and part art. Also, making a powerful presentation requires you to consider three fundamental factors – the audience, the message, and the environment.
1. The Audience
It is critical that you cater your presentation to the interests of your audience. This means, know who is it that you will be presenting to and understand their priorities and responsibilities. By making sure that your information is targeted, you can avoid providing unnecessary details and irrelevant information.
A couple of questions that you can ask yourself to understand your target audience are –
- Who will be there? – age, occupation, field, education, experiences, preconceptions, background
- Why are they there and do they really want to be there – their motivations?
- What are they expecting? What benefit will they get from listening to you?
- What do they know already about your subject?
If it is a regular work meeting, you will most likely already have the answers to these questions and making a presentation that is specific will not be too difficult. However, if you’re presenting to someone unfamiliar, you need to understand where they come from and how you can best communicate your ideas and thoughts. For instance, sales pitches to new clients entail clear research into the client and their vested interests to ensure your presentation is going to be of interest and will provide new and relevant information to them.
2. The Message
The message is the whole reason you are building your presentations. Thus, the message is key. Have clear objectives and be sure about what you want to convey through your presentation. A major aspect of this is to have a clear Call To Action within your slides. If your audience is unsure about what to do once you’ve finished your presentation, you have failed in communicating and engaging them effectively. So, take time and come up with your content carefully, ensuring you don’t accidentally end up miscommunicating or losing focus when it comes to your message.
So, once you have noted down your final objectives and key take-aways, you can decide on a design or presentation template that suits your ideas and ensures that your meaning is made clear. After all, it takes the human brain only 3 seconds to process visuals and is one of the most desirable features of having slides accompanying your verbal presentation.
3. The Environment
Once you have the content, objectives, and basic design in place, think about where you have to give your presentation. In the current remote working environment, it is safe to assume that the presentation would most likely take place in a virtual meeting setup.
This means that you cannot rely as much on your body language and meeting room etiquette to guide you through a presentation when 90% of it will be done through a voiceover imposed upon a presentation. Therefore, the importance of catering your presentation to suit the online format cannot be overstated.
Also, here is where the audience and environment intersect. Does your audience comprise solely of those that have prior knowledge about your topic, or is it someone that will be hearing about it for the first time? In either case, your environment makes a huge difference in addressing your audience as well, and your presentation needs to match the expectations of the audience within that environment.
Now that you know what, where, and to whom you are going to present, start focusing on the actual making of the presentation. Making a presentation that accurately conveys the essence of all three factors given above can be a complicated task. Certain things to keep in mind while doing that are –
- Legibility – If your text is barely readable and uses confusing fonts, then you are only going to confuse and frustrate your audience. Use clear and classic fonts to put text in your presentation. Also, don’t make it too verbose. Keep it short, crisp, and clear. Effective use of white-spaces is your friend.
- Emphasis and Hierarchy – A great tool in your presentation-making arsenal is the clever use of emphasis and hierarchy of text. Decide the order of your information and the keywords/highlights of each bit of text. Ensure that you are emphasizing, using typographical elements, those parts that you need the audience to focus on. But try to avoid using WordArt for that, because that will give your presentation a very dated and unprofessional feel.
- Graphics- We are going to pretend that ClipArt doesn’t exist on PowerPoint. The only visuals we should put are ones that are consistent with the theme and relevant to the discussion, as well as look professional. If a graphic fails any of these criteria, don’t put it in your presentation and clutter it with irrelevant details
- Uniformity – Decide on a theme when starting out your presentation and ensure that all your content is placed uniformly, and your slides designed consistently. This means, using only specific fonts, colors, and typographical elements throughout the presentation. Your presentation should feel cohesive. Try using a consistent background image, color, or design details to ensure uniformity across the slides.
With all this information, if you find yourself struggling to create the perfect presentation, using PowerPoint templates is a great tool to speed up that process and create stunning presentations easier. SlideUpLift is one such online service that provides business-ready, 100% customizable presentation templates for all possible business requirements such as Executive Summary Templates, Roadmap PowerPoint Templates, Timeline Templates, Change Management Strategy, Pitch Decks, and many more. So, find the perfect PowerPoint template from SlideUpLift’s extensive collection and give a truly memorable presentation!
Speaker at Business convention and Presentation -DepositPhotos