PowerPoint was introduced to the world in 1987. Jump three decades, PowerPoint has now become ubiquitous and found on almost every business computer. Business executives swear by their presentations, as it helps them put across a lot of information in a few slides, using bullet points. Presentations are also extensively used in schools, universities, start-ups, global businesses, people’s homes, and governments.
However, plain presentations, especially those using standard templates, are becoming a thing of the past. One of the main reasons is that they are still predominantly text-based, and we, as consumers of information, are looking for more engaging and influential means of communicating. Given this background, this article provides a perspective in some of the ways that your office presentation can look perfect.
Keep it Simple
The most important secret of a well-made presentation is to keep it simple. Avoid using lengthy sentences, crammed bullet points, or complex diagrams in your slides. You may be a subject matter expert in your domain, but the audience has a limited attention span.
So it is better not to waste it all on one slide. Keep these complex slides as an addendum to your presentation, which can be viewed by the participants at their convenience. The saying ‘death by PowerPoint’ still holds true for a lot of presentations!
Focus: Use Stories
Always create your presentations, keeping in mind the needs of the audience, rather than a showcase of your knowledge. Concentrate on your core message, rather than trying to explain everything under the sun. Create your presentation around stories tailored to your audience.
The story could revolve around videos, humorous anecdotes, or a combination of text and images. Humans are programmed to love stories and will be able to engage with and recall your presentation even after they step out of the room.
Great cameras, powerful smartphones, and easy availability of bandwidth and storage have led to an abundance of videos. Consumers of all types, business or personal, love videos. Why? Because videos tell a perfect story, and we as humans have always loved stories.
A video provides a combination of audio and visual messaging, which is unmatched by any other medium like text, plain pictures, or pure audio.
Videos help get the key messages across in a format that is memorable and has the highest recall value. The next time you have to give a presentation, you could start with your video introduction using an easy video intro maker application like the one available from InVideo. No doubt, videos help to captivate, engage, and explain to the viewers.
Adding High-Quality Images
‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ is a well-known saying and is most apt in creating high impact presentations. Viewing non-stop text and bullets is the best way to put a viewer to sleep or get distracted from the presentation. But adding relevant images brings back the focus on the message you are trying to convey. Ensure that you keep a balance between the number of images, GIFs, and emojis that you use, as too much of anything is bad.
By injecting humor into your presentation, you can keep the ambiance light-hearted. The use of humor allows the audience to take a quick pause and relax a bit, thereby increasing awareness for the later parts of the presentation.
Interact With The Audience
Start by asking simple yes or no questions to your audience. During the presentation, ask questions that will help to undertake a key point that you are trying to tell. Do not keep questions only for the end, or for a Q&A session. By regularly asking questions, you can keep your audience better engaged and eager to know more. It also helps get insights and points of view from other participants.
Use In-presentation Pop Quizzes
Add a couple of pop-quizzes to your presentations. This will help you gauge the mood of the participants, break the monotony of the presentation, and also provide you with insights into what your audience is thinking of.
Remember the 10-20-30 Rule
According to Guy Kawasaki, a globally renowned presenter and entrepreneur, an important to remember is the 10-20-30 rule which states that –
- A presentation should not contain more than 10 slides
- It should last no more than 20 minutes
- You should use a font size of 30 or more
Always End on Time
Remember that time is one of the most precious commodities we have today. Stick to the timeline and do not carry on beyond the allocated time. Take further questions or discussion offline or to be shared via email or phone later. Be mindful of interventions if required, to prevent needless rambling and repetition by audience members.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Finally, this is one of the most important techniques to make great presentations. Most of us are not natural public speakers. While we are knowledgeable in our domain, many of us still suffer from Glossophobia! And what is Glossophobia, you may ask? In simple terms, it is nothing, but stage fright, and some experts say that over 75% of people have it. The easiest way to get over it is to relax and practice your presentation before you have to give it in front of a live audience.
Despite a lot of its inherent problems, PowerPoint presentations are here to stay. They still are easy to make and use, and are culturally accepted by a large number of people globally. It encourages less tech-savvy people to create their presentations without relying on someone else. Presentations can also be stored for future use, as training material, or for referencing at a later date.
By following the above steps, you can easily turn your normal good presentation into a great presentation. Users can take advantage of pre-designed templates and animations to give their presentations a slick, professional look. Or they can use an online video maker to make fantastic videos to help drive your key points with persuasive flair. So before you give that next killer presentation, relax, breathe, and enjoy the kudos!