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A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Great PowerPoint Ideas

A professional presentation takes time, not just in making the actual pitch deck, but in planning how to make it.

Presentation experts (even the ones behind Apple’s and TED Talks’ presentations) recommend spending the majority of your time planning for how to make and deliver the sales pitch. According to brand communication expert, Carmine Gallo, this takes at least 90 hours, with only a third of that time used for building the actual deck.

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The rest of the time needs to be spent on knowing your client’s expectations. Qualtrics’ Scott Smith presents seven customer expectations to watch out for, so make sure to dedicate your time to researching the topic, and developing an effective method of delivery.

Ask yourself:

  • What problem am I trying to solve?
  • Is there an applicable solution that I can use?
  • How will I solve the problem then?
  • What advantage can I offer that the competition can’t?

A secret to getting effective PowerPoint ideas is planning ahead of time.

Let’s go into detail about how to plan your business presentation.

Step 1: Write Everything You Want to Say

Make a list, sit down with your colleagues, consult your company’s production/research teams, draw quick sketches and draft a script. Just get something, anything on paper when you start.

This way, you’ll have an easier time sorting through PowerPoint ideas that work from those that don’t.

Both professional presenters and advertising experts talk about similar methods. Whether it’s planning on paper or, as ad veteran Luke Sullivan suggests, sticking drawings of your best ideas on the wall, the best way to get your sales pitch idea is to dump everything into an empty space and sort them out.

Step 2: Be Your Own Coldest Critic

Once you have everything you can think of in one place, be it an empty Microsoft PowerPoint file or on blank sheets of paper, start judging. Using the questions listed above can work as your guide.

Everything you place in your PowerPoint deck stems from two sources: the client’s problem and the product or service you’ll use to solve it. The strategy is up to you. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to bank on your company’s reputation for being the best in the business?
  • Do you want to highlight one advantage you have over the competition?
  • Do you want to introduce a game-changing solution to an old problem?

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Your ideas must fit whatever strategy you choose.

If you want to pitch for a car-rental service provider, or sell your electronics to a local distributor, ask yourself about the workability of your idea (for example, displaying consistent sales numbers or user testimonies). If you think it’s doable, keep it.

Step 3: Once You Have the “Eureka” Moment, Stay on It

One benefit of dumping your ideas and being your harshest critic is that you arrive at your winning sales pitch idea faster.

Everything you say and write will flow by themselves if your idea and strategy are sound enough. The best thing to do is stay with it.

Write down your script and slide content while your thoughts are still fresh in your mind. Delaying it will interrupt your train of thought, wasting time better spent on finalizing your PowerPoint deck.

The Lesson to Learn

Don’t be afraid to critique your own ideas. A sales presentation is all about testing ideas against the client’s problems and coming up with your best solution.

If it works, come up with an appropriate strategy to sell your proposal better than the competition does. Keep at it until you find your selling idea.

To help you come up with it even faster, spend time with a PowerPoint presentation expert. It’s worth the investment. (All it takes is fifteen minutes.)

 

References

Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Plan Ahead to Avoid PowerPointless Presentations.SlideGenius, Inc. May 27, 2015. Accessed July 15, 2015.
Smith, Scott, “Customer Expectations: 7 Types all Exceptional Researchers Must Understand.” Qualtrics. Accessed July 15, 2015.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008

 

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PowerPoint Presentations: Do You Really Need Them?

PowerPoint is the undisputed king of all presentation software. With about 500 million users relying on it to create their visual aids, no one can deny its dominance.

Aside from the contemporary presentation designs it offers, we need them to enhance and support our core message.

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We still get questions from some presenters, wondering if they even need slides to go with their speech. To answer this question, let’s first examine how they benefit your presentations:

All-Around Usefulness

What helps PowerPoint immensely is its inclusion in Microsoft Office.

Its similarity to Word (and even freeware Word variations) means that it’s convenient for all types of users and purposes.

This software has basic photo-manipulating capabilities, whereas animations and image placement are easy to do. It’s also made it easier to edit and layout text. With these advanced features, sharing visual information has become easier to plan for and execute.

According to tech guru, Aaron Parson, most presentations will benefit from PowerPoint’s versatility. It can be used for pitching, selling, teaching, and even entertaining. It lets you draw diagrams, assorted graphs, charts, and even basic illustrations, with possibilities for online sharing.

Notable Exceptions

While PowerPoint exhibits all-around usefulness, there are still some situations where you shouldn’t depend on it.

Motivational speeches often don’t need accompanying visual aids. They require greater focus on the presenter’s body language and facial expressions – things that projected slides could distract from.

Speeches that focus on a speaker’s personal experiences generally don’t need an accompanying deck. Better described as performances, presenters serve as their own visual aids through non-verbal communication.

PowerPoint by Default

Determine from the beginning if your presentation needs an accompanying deck. This allows you to better divide and plan your time and resources for maximizing your speech.

Knowing that you almost always need a deck to back you up, it pays to know what makes for effective PowerPoint presentations.

Conclusion

PowerPoint remains a vital tool to complement your message visually because of its convenience and ease of use.

Knowing from the beginning whether you need to include a PowerPoint deck will help you plan for it, or prepare to present without it.

Certain types of presentations lend themselves to PowerPoint decks. If you’ll be giving a speech based on personal experience, without needing to explain complicated facts, people will focus more on your facial expressions and body language. In the instances you do need to use slides, learn the various factors that determine its success or failure.

Looking for something to inspire you on PowerPoint presentations? Check out our portfolio, or contact us now for a free quote.

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References

3 Reasons Why PowerPoint Presentations Are Still Effective.SlideGenius, Inc. August 6, 2015.
Parson, Aaron. “5 Uses of PowerPoint.” EHow. June 2, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2015.
PowerPoint Usage and Marketshare.” Infogr.am. Accessed July 6, 2015.

3 Expert Tips on Making Your Ideas PowerPoint-Friendly

An effective presentation deck simplifies collected data to inform and entertain an audience. Contrary to popular belief, bare and uninspired decks won’t make your ideas stand out.

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Your audiences are people too, and that means that like the rest of us, their attention spans have made a drastic drop in the past few years. Keep them interested with slides that bring your ideas to life.

In order to be called a PowerPoint expert, you need to experience translating ideas into effective visual, statistical, and textual content.

Here are three ways to turn your ideas into effective slide designs:

Why Use Paragraphs When You Can Use Sentences?

Long paragraphs clutter a slide. This is a common symptom of a presenter pressed for time, unable to sort out his thoughts or a lazy presenter who intended to read off of his slides.

We’ve previously discussed the importance of having perceived credibility. By minimizing text, you’ll give the impression of taking your presentations seriously and knowing what you’re doing.

Set clear objectives from the beginning, then retain the minimal amount of words that can still meet these goals.

Translate Numbers into Narratives

Numbers have the power to inform or to distract. A set of slides with many numbers are tiring to understand and are boring to look at. It would be wise not to test your listeners’ patience with a numerical overload.

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Instead of throwing numbers and statistics around, give them meaningful connections that tell a story. Ensure that this story relates properly to your presentation’s message and purpose, or else your flow will get stilted.

Pure numerical data is useless without the relationships and connections that a story can bring. As with text, cut back those numbers and do yourself a big favor.

When Possible, Show Don’t Tell

Pictures can tell a thousand words. You should let them. They’re effective at portraying narratives in shorthand.

Given that most people learn visually, images are helpful tools that can both teach and amuse. They offer a break for the eyes when an arresting image is used. In addition, they complement your message or your deck’s theme.

They also illustrate or demonstrate concepts that can take more than two sentences in written form, making your presentation more streamlined and interesting. Don’t forget to explain it in person when you’re on stage.

Conclusion

Letting your ideas run wild can make fully engaging presentations, but overdoing it can divert attention and cause confusion.

Short and concise sentences, descriptive and narrative representation of numbers, and generous use of images are just three of the most important ways to get your message across. Always take a step back and practice restraint to best translate your ideas to your slides.

Need a deck that can communicate your ideas perfectly? Contact our PowerPoint experts and receive a free quote.

 

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References

Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2015.
How Long Should a Paragraph Be?About.com Education. Accessed June 29, 2015.