There was a time when using visual aids during a presentation meant large print illustrations tacked onto cardboard and set upon a tripod. These bulky extras were a pain to create and lug around, but were a necessary evil when it came to making a punch with an important presentation to investors, clients, customers, etc.
However, then the magic of computer software came along, and Microsoft developed the saving grace to any presentation: PowerPoint. With PowerPoint, anyone can create stunning slides to give a striking visual element while making a speech by simply projecting it onto a screen or blank wall. Using written statements, bullet point outlines, colorful images, and even animation between slide elements, PowerPoint is your friend when it comes to making an effective presentation.
However, not everyone knows the practical secrets of utilizing PowerPoint to make the best impression. That is why we bring to you the six most dynamic tips and secrets to help you be the best PowerPoint presenter you can be.
Avoid Slide Clutter
One big mistake most presenters make is simply including too much information on a single slide. If you must use text to emphasize your statements, use brief bullet points. The best guide for each slide is to have a header, subject title of slide, and 3 or 4 short bullet points.
Use illustrations and photos when you think they will help drive the point home. However, if you do, avoid shrinking a complex image and including it with all the other points. Use a separate slide if necessary so the image gets the most effect, then get back to the text.
Make the Most of Charts and Graphs
A plethora of numbers on a slide does not make a lot of sense to viewers. For instance, if you are trying to show the history of your yearly revenues, a slew of side-by-side numbers has little impact.
Instead, use charts and graphs to help crunch those numbers into helpful visual images. A bar graph showing the steady increase in sales and revenue is the best way to display that kind of information.
Go Easy on the Creativity
The creative tools that come with PowerPoint software makes it very tempting to go crazy with transitions, animation, sounds, video, etc. However, be sure the transitions you use remain simple. Don’t let them distract from the points you are trying to make. A simple guide is to show your points one by one as you make them, but don’t have them fly, spin, or twirl in.
Brand Your Business
Your presentation is likely to support your small business in some way. Whether you are pitching to investors, or describing the benefits of your product to customers, you want your company name branded all over the presentation.
For starters, make sure that each slide template has your company name and logo. Don’t make it too crowded, but just at the top or the corner of each slide. And if possible, always show photos of customers enjoying your product, your product on the store shelf, etc.
Limit Your Slides and Your Time
A presentation is not a marathon sales pitch. A shorter presentation is a better presentation. Keep it under 20 minutes. 10 to 15 minutes is more preferable. You want more time for interaction with the attendees, especially if they have questions.
Your slides should be kept to a minimum too. Don’t try to include dozens of slides and try to race through them just so you can show more images, photos, or slide tricks. 20 is a good target for the number of slides. Remember, you want your personality and presentation to shine, rather than get lost behind digital slides.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Never try to “wing it” on your presentation. You should rehearse your presentation not just once, but again and again. While you can use notes if necessary to keep you on track, you should never fully write your speech and read from it.
A presentation should be extemporaneous, and when practiced can be free-flowing, yet professional.
Make your business presentations count. Use these helpful tips to ensure that your presentation gets you that next deal!