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Win First Impressions with Great PowerPoint Presentations

First impressions impact business partnerships in positive and negative ways, possibly even torpedoing a promising opportunity.

Make amazing first impressions consistent with great PowerPoint presentations.

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Even the best speakers can only do so much. To give audiences a clearer picture, you need a deck that reflects your talent, passion, and dedication.

Consistently seal the deal by making winning pitches with these tips:

Plan Ahead

To determine what should and shouldn’t be in your slides, ask yourself:

What do you want to say?
How do you want to say it?
Why should your audience care about your offer?

Knowing your objectives focuses your presentation, letting you know exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why your audience should care.

Planning ahead and determining your objectives give you a better idea of your presentation’s flow, letting you set a unifying story to engage your audience. These lead to more benefits in the long run.

Keep It Short

The best PowerPoint presentations keep it short but straightforward.

Don’t turn your deck into mere bullet points of your speech. Nothing tunes out an audience more than a presenter reading straight from his projected slides.

Renowned Silicon Valley marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki is a proponent of the 10/20/30 rule. He believes that effective presentations need only ten slides.

While this isn’t a strict rule, it’s a good guide to keep your deck lean and mean. According to him, these are the most important parts to discuss in your deck:

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Business Model
  4. Underlying Magic/Technology
  5. Marketing and Sales
  6. Competition
  7. Team
  8. Projections and Milestones
  9. Status and Timeline
  10. Summary and Call-to-Action

There are many variations for winning slide combinations, but this quick guide is a reasonable place to start making your own winning deck.

Show, Don’t Tell

Investment PowerPoint slides

Pictures speak a thousand words, but so can other multimedia elements. Videos and simple animations are ideal for keeping your audiences interested because people think visually, with images being processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Why waste a hundred words spread across two slides for something that can be explained by one image, graph, chart, or video?

Imbue Your Deck with Passion

Potential clients won’t believe a halfhearted presentation. Put passion into your deck by giving it a powerful central story.

People relate better to a narrative they can personally connect with. Research your audience beforehand and figure out a story that help them understand you better.

Portray your competitors or central problem as a villain, and yourself and your product as the protagonist. Structure your presentation as a narrative with an exposition, a climax, and a conclusion. Bring much needed life into a presentation by using storytelling elements to hook your listeners in.

Conclusion

When introducing your brand, audiences aren’t only judging you, but your whole presentation, too.

Be your personal best when facing the crowd. As a representative of a bigger picture, you can’t deny the importance of having a professional-looking deck to back you up.

If you need to make a winning first impression now, contact our slide geniuses for consistently great PowerPoint Presentations that seal the deal. Contact us now for a free quote!

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References

Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed June 22, 2015.
Why Every SEO Strategy Needs Infographics.” WMG. 2014. Accessed June 22, 2015.
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. 2005. Accessed June 22, 2015.

You’re Doing It Wrong: PowerPoint Rules You Should Be Following

For years now, people have been relying on PowerPoint to communicate ideas, sell products, facilitate meetings, and conferences. Many presenters, however, still fall short and end up with lousy, poorly designed slides that do nothing but torture their audience. Thankfully, there are experts in the field who have set the rules or standards for others to follow.

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After a quick search, we found two sets of the most popular PowerPoint rules that many people subscribe to. Both may not be all-encompassing but they are excellent guidelines, nonetheless.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist, among other things. If we’re going to talk about quality and importance of simplicity in presentation design, he’s the go-to, well, Guy. He practically listens to hundreds of pitches all the time, making him knowledgeable of what works and doesn’t. For him, a PowerPoint presentation should:

  • Feature 10 slides or less
  • Last no more than 20 minutes
  • Contain font not smaller than 30pt

This rule is applicable to pitches and office meetings. And because most people cannot absorb more than 10 concepts in a single meeting, it is best that you limit your presentation to 10 slides. The 20-minute duration should give you enough time to host a Q and A discussion afterwards. A 30-point typeface will make information on a slide large enough to be readable without making it look too crowded.

Seth Godin’s Five Rules for Creating Amazing Presentations

Seth Godin is a man of many interests and as a public speaker, he’s no stranger to PowerPoint presentations. He even wrote an e-book about it.

If you want to create an amazing presentation, here are the points we have taken from the book:

  1. Use no more than six words on every slide (If you include too much text, the audience will simply read the slides ahead of you).
  2. Do not use cheesy images and look for professional stock photos instead.
  3. Avoid fancy transitions such as dissolves, spins, etc, as these can be distracting, making you seem less professional.
  4. Use sound effects, but not the built-in types. You may want to rip from CDs or use the “Proust effect.”
  5. Do not provide print collateral at the start of the meeting. You want your audience to focus on the presentation, not read ahead of you.

Great presentations can trigger the right emotions, inspire change, and move people. These two sets of rules can raise the level of your next presentation from boring to life-changing. You don’t need to choose between the two, though. Applying both of them is sure to produce excellent results. But whatever you do, here’s another rule for you to remember. This one’s from presentation expert Nancy Duarte:

Never deliver a presentation you would not want to sit through.

Now, if there’s One PowerPoint Rule to rule them all, that would be it.

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Apply the 10/20/30 Rule to Your PowerPoint Presentations Now

Guy Kawasaki is a successful venture capitalist who has been writing books about the trade since 1987. A few years back, he wrote a short blog advocating a simple rule for PowerPoint presentations. He called it the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.

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According to the 10/20/30 rule,

…a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Kawasaki came up with this quick presentation style due to his line of business, citing how he’d often listen to dozens of pitches in a short period of time. Even if you’re not in the venture capital business, the 10/20/30 rule can still be applicable to you.

Given people’s increasingly shortening attention spans, keeping your presentation compact can save all of you time while still getting the meat of your message across. Here we expound on each of Kawasaki’s points:

10 Slides

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Image credit: Eliott Brown

Kawasaki pointed out that it’s challenging to comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting. Most people assume that you need to be highly detailed in order to be impressive, but this isn’t always the case.

The 10/20/30 rule also suggests that you use the ten slides to tackle all the topics important to your audience. For a venture capitalist, these topics are the following:

  1. Problem
  2. Your solution
  3. Business model
  4. Underlying magic/technology
  5. Marketing and sales
  6. Competition
  7. Team
  8. Projections and milestones
  9. Status and timeline
  10. Summary and call to action

Use this list as a guide when you’re trying to condense your presentations into neat, salient points. Depending on the type of presentation you’re giving, you can tweak these to fit your purpose, but try to keep your slides to a minimum, with a visible flow like the one above.

20 Minutes

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Image credit: Quinn Dombrowski

You should be done with your ten-slide presentation in twenty minutes. Kawasaki would often allot an hour to hear an entrepreneurial pitch, but most of the time gets lost in other things. Your laptop might take a while to sync with the projector.

Emergencies might also pull your audience away from the meeting. It’s best to keep your presentation short, so that you’ll also have time to address questions and other concerns.

30-pt Font Size

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Image credit: Andreas Levers

Kawasaki observed that the only reason people used smaller font sizes is to be able to cram huge chunks of text into a slide.

In doing so, your audience may perceive that you’re not familiar with the material, and that you’re using the PowerPoint as a teleprompter.

The 10/20/30 rule forces you to use a larger font, so you can cut back on unnecessary details. Remember: you’re the one who has to do the talking, not your PowerPoint presentation.

10 slides in 20 minutes using a font no smaller than 30 points. Easy enough, right?

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References

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. Accessed June 15, 2014.
Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed June 15, 2014.

 

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