Most people tend to focus all their energy on creating effective PowerPoint designs. It’s true that well-designed slides can help engage audiences even more. Visuals allow people to remember crucial details, given that vision trumps all other senses when it comes to processing information. Still, those who prefer to start by building slides on PowerPoint are missing a crucial detail. They forget that presentation content is the real focus.
Building a presentation is a lot like building a house. Before painting the walls and decorating with furniture, you will need a strong foundation. You will need to build thick walls and sturdy floors. You will need pillars to hold everything in shape. In presentations, that foundation is your content.
So what does it take to create the best content possible? How do you ensure that your foundation is solid and consistent? These are the four fundamental qualities found in effective presentation content:
1.) Has clear and specific message
Your presentation content needs to have a clear and specific message. This will be the core of your presentation, where all your other points revolve. Every argument you make throughout will be to prove the value of your statement. Determine the purpose of your presentation and define the goals you want to achieve. Are you talking to sales prospects? Are you pitching to potential investors? Do you want the audience to see the advantage of your product over competing brands? Craft a single message that encompasses your objectives. Keep it short, powerful, and descriptive.
2.) Streamlined and simplified
In presentations, less is always more. You can easily lose the attention of your audience if you stray too much from your main point. Even if you have plenty of ideas to share, the only thing that’s relevant to your audience will be those that help your message move forward. Streamline your presentation content with some brainstorming techniques. Once you’ve let your ideas run wild, you can choose the points that are most relevant and compelling. If you’re working with data or complex concepts, simplify your discussion by using analogies and metaphors.
3.) Supported by facts and data
To add credibility to your presentation content, you will need to support your points by citing appropriate sources. Make sure you have the necessary data to show that your arguments are valid and accurate. Look for research papers that can help authenticate your ideas. If you’ve done your own research, include the data from your results. You can also include testimonials or interviews.
4.) Compelling and memorable
Overall, your presentation content needs to attract the attention of your audience and keep them interested throughout. You can do that by crafting your content in the form of a story. According to research conducted by Dr. Paul Zak, the most effective content follows the structure of classical Greek dramas. Presentations with the pattern of exposition – rising action – climax – falling action – resolution are more likely to elicit emotional response from the audience.
All in all, your presentation content needs to have information that is specific, useful, accurate, and memorable. Take note of these key characteristics to find the best way to share the message you want to deliver.
“Dr. Paul Zak: Empathy, Neurochemistry, and the Dramatic Arc.” Future of Storytelling. 2014. Accessed October 07, 2014.
Featured Image: Grant Hollingworth via Flickr