Despite technological innovations and new ways of reaching people and clients, one of the most effective is still the classic presentation. Making the most of your time with your audience can yield big results, so long as you plan, prepare and perfect.
Types of presentation
Whether your presentation is for two people in an office, 20 in a boardroom, or 200 at a seminar, it will generally fall into one of two categories:
Informative – Primarily educational, this type of presentation is concerned with teaching your audience about ideas and techniques. This can be a new way to do business, or simply a new way to perform processes within your company.
Persuasive – This type of presentation is focused on promoting an idea or a product, whether for monetary gain or to convince an audience of the viability of your concept. This may mean hiring you as a consultant, or introducing a new product from your company.
Successful presentations engage the audience and feel like a conversation rather than a lecture. People favour brevity and will switch off if your points aren’t sharp and relevant. The visuals of your presentation should support and enhance the content, rather than being the entire speech condensed to slides. Follow these points to ensure your presentation is the best it can be:
Have a clear purpose
This will give you focus and help keep your presentation succinct and to the point. Be specific about your angle and what you are trying to achieve. Ensure the presentation follows a clear structure that your audience can follow. Use slide visuals to emphasise the points you are making. Remember your slides should not contain the entirety of your speech.
Aim to present your audience with a clear version of the concept. Each slide should take no more than 3 seconds to process. Use imagery effectively – sometimes it can be more effective to convey an idea through an image than through text.
Put the message in a neatly laid out storyboard format, where each point leads effortlessly to the next. This will give it a sense of narrative flow, which will make it easy for the audience to remain engaged. Avoid random slide transitions or cluttering the slide with unnecessary decoration. If relevant, consider incorporating other visuals such as animated graphics and videos to retain the audience’s interest and make complex ideas easier to understand and digest.
Engage your audience
Reinforce your points with anecdotes, examples and relevant statistical data. Successful stories are shown, rather than told, and the story of your presentation needs to be illustrated with both actual pictures and scenes painted within the audience’s imagination. Ensure the audience can relate to the presentation content.
Beyond the Presentation
Once you’ve given your presentation, there is no need for the results of your hard work to stop there. Your time researching and creating won’t go to waste if you use your presentation as the basis of further projects.
- As part of an employee training or induction – Take your good ideas and make them company policy. Using your presentation as part of a new or existing employees’ training session will help cement your ideas far more effectively.
- Turn it into a slideshow – Slideshows can be an effective component of your digital media strategy. This kind of content is often shared via social media and can help drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.
- Create a series of blog posts or a downloadable ebook – Take your most piercing ideas and expand on them in a blog post incorporating the slide visuals of your presentation. You could also repurpose a combination of expanded blog articles and the slide visuals in a downloadable ebook. This can help to establish the company or business owner as thought leader in their industry and provide valuable education content to clients and prospects.
The key with presentations is to keep them clear, focused and relevant to your audience. A well designed presentation deck can be a valuable marketing asset for a business.