Whether you’re giving a live presentation or emailing your deck to a prospect, you’ll make more of an impact if your PowerPoint (or Prezi) presentation packs a punch. In creating and updating at least 100 presentations over many years, I’ve discovered that most fall short for the same general reasons. Whether yours needs a major overhaul or just a few tweaks, here are three quick fixes that can improve most any presentation.
Cut the Clutter
If you’re like most presenters, your PowerPoint deck has too many pages and too much information on each page. Deciding what specific information your audience needs is challenging, especially when “too many cooks” with different priorities have contributed to the presentation. The quick fix: Use the Appendix. Create a section at the end of the presentation to store all the extraneous slides and just highlight those topics in the presentation. Some good candidates? Heavily detailed source material, complete team biographies, and anything titled “background” or “history”.
Lose the Bullets
Now that your 42 slide presentation is (hopefully) down to 15 or 20 slides, you have some room to add a few. Chances are your presentation has some slides that are overcrowded with boring bulleted lists or way too much text. The quick fix: Turn words into pictures. If you’re presenting facts or statistics, create an infographic-style page rather than a bulleted list. If your bullets have (yikes!) sub-bullets, break out the information into multiple pages and add graphics that illustrate your message. Still seeing too much text? Move descriptive text to the notes section and keep just the highlights on the viewable slide. This allows your presenter to talk through the key issues while the slide provides a focal point.
Break out of the Box
PowerPoint templates are helpful…to a point. It’s important to keep consistency with fonts, colors and graphics. However, the “free” PowerPoint artwork is getting pretty tired, and do you really need a footer with your company logo, page number and “confidential” on every slide? Ditto for a horizontal header on the top of every page. The quick fix: start with a blank canvas. If you’ve kept your presentation under 20 pages, it’s time to lose the boxy, framed appearance that comes standard with many PowerPoint templates. Either create your own minimalist template or liberally use the “hide background graphics” option in the Slide Master. The extra space will give you more room for creativity.
Once you’ve applied these three fixes to your existing presentation, you’ll find the principals easy to apply to your new presentations. Have a PowerPoint question or a presentation you want me to look at? Get in touch HERE!