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3 Ways Professional PowerPoint Designs Prioritize Audiences

Great public speaking skills can only get you so far. Whatever your presentation’s purpose, your structure and content should put it to action.

Redefine your slide deck as a visual aid – it’s actually a vehicle for your message to get across and convince your audience. Unfortunately, presenters often make the mistake of relying on the slide deck to cater to needs and fill in for flaws. The true secret is to design your slides with your audience in mind.

But don’t worry. Getting there isn’t as hard as it seems. Here are the three most important foundations for creating professional PowerPoint designs.

1. One Message Per Slide

Scientists like to compare the human mind to a machine or a computer. This doesn’t mean you should treat your audience like a network of robots. Not everyone can retain chunks of new and unconnected information in the span of a pitch.

Avoid needlessly padding out your deck. Unless your purpose is to confuse your audience, then keep your slides clean, with only one main point in each one. This ensures that the crowd won’t be too tired from seeing oversaturated slides while giving them more time to digest your message. The less an audience needs to understand, the more likely they are to understand it.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

This has worked for novelists and filmmakers alike. As visual learners, people are more likely to retain information when presented visually than verbally.

Why resort to words when you can tell a story with a single picture? Whenever you can, replace text with visuals or graphics, including charts, graphs, and diagrams. Here’s a warning, though: don’t overdo it and keep adding photos and graphics for no reason.

Visuals are best used as a tool to support your points and to accomplish your set goals.

3. Keep the Fluff Out

We can’t stress this hard enough: simplicity is key. Take a cue from Professional PowerPoint designers who do this for a living. Having extra information doesn’t add any credibility, and can unnecessarily drag out your deck.

Novice presenters often cram their slides with information so that they can use the deck as speech notes. Your PowerPoint deck is tailored for your audience to better understand what you’re trying to say, not to act as your cue card. Let your core message come through with the absence of extraneous clutter.

Conclusion

Whatever your purpose is, simplify your structure to best inform, engage, and persuade. The most common culprits keeping you from succeeding are the ones we’ve just discussed. Put only one message per slide so that your audience doesn’t get overloaded with information.

Use images wherever possible to represent your ideas or data, as visuals have been proven to be more effective for information retention. Lastly, keep your slides simple to save yourself and your audience time. This lets you remove any distractions from your pitch’s core message.

No matter what happens, consider your audience as the primary benefactors of your deck to better interest and convince them.

 

References

The Visual (spatial) Learning Style.” Learning Styles. Accessed August 13, 2015.
Visual Simplicity Is Captivating in Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 30, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015.

2 Tips on Using Long Text in Professional PowerPoint Designs

Contrary to the presenter’s rule of keeping your slides simple, there are special exceptions when you can use long text in your visuals, even for a professional PowerPoint design.

There’s one standard to apply when doing this, a specialty practiced by the makers of the Volkswagen print ads: make it interesting.

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Justify the Long Text with an Idea

In his book, Cutting Edge Advertising, Jim Aitchison explains how your text should have an interesting idea to justify its length. This is often the case when you have a good story to tell. This is not to say that it’s justifiable to copy and paste your entire story into a single slide. After all, PowerPoint should be used as a visual aid, not a script.

A good way to balance this is to make the text work well with your slide designs, similar to how the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals made their print ads. These featured a cat and a dog holding a list of things they promise their new owners if they were to be adopted.

Critics often tell you to avoid using lists and bullet points, which is usually a good idea to follow. But while the list in the example is lengthy, the idea is based on the insight of annoyances pet owners have to deal with. This insight is relatable enough to its target readers, and the idea is strong enough to present a solution to the pet owner’s problems.

If you have a sales presentation idea that your clients can relate to, you already have an advantage over the competition, if only because you give the impression that you understand their problems and want to help solve them.

Write the Text Well

There’s a difference between making a text-heavy slide and a well-written story. While disguising a print ad as a news article may work for broadsheets and possibly for presentation handouts, the same can’t be said with PowerPoint slides.

If you have an interesting story to tell and you want your audience to remember the keywords, balance them with a visual and an interesting headline, similar to how Timberland and Volkswagen did their new ads. For slides, focus on your narration and fade in the text with simple animations as you speak. You can also alter the fonts to highlight what you want your audiences to remember.

While there are exceptions that call for using long text, remember that even this needs to be presentable for a professional presentation. To help you get the most of this, getting the help of a professional PowerPoint design specialist can help you gain the advantage you need.

 

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References

Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Reduce and Simplify Like a PowerPoint Professional.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals(SPCA): “ROTTWEILER” Print Ad by Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore.” Advertising Archive. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Three Professional Ways to Evaluate a PowerPoint Idea

We often think that a great presentation can simply outsell its competitors, but an effective PowerPoint deck uses an interesting idea at its core. This idea lends itself to its content, its design and even the speaker’s words. Professional presenters like TED speakers fulfill this core requirement: a single idea that defines their stories.

Every part of their presentation, even the rule of three, is used to support this one idea. It’s also the reason why people like Steve Jobs can effectively sell his gadgets to loyal Apple supporters.

What makes a selling presentation idea?

There are three ways to tell if yours is as effective as the pros, similar to how advertising agencies evaluate their ideas:

1. Your Clients and Audience Can Relate to It

An effective sales presentation has something that its audience can relate to.

Will you bank on shared beliefs?

Will you play to your passions and share a personal story that inspires others?

Your presentation idea or strategy should be relatable to your audience. In Cutting Edge Advertising, Jim Aitchison expounds on how there should be an insight into human behavior that they can see. In the case of clients, everyone wants something to make their lives easier. The trick is to show them exactly how. To put yourself ahead of the competition, use simple sayings like: “This product conveniently puts the information you need at your fingertips.”

2. It Has Potential for Variety

Once you have a solid PowerPoint idea, the next step is to make a strategy. Similar to an advertisement strategy, a presentation strategy is something that creativity mentor Luke Sullivan would describe as the key message you want to communicate.

Do you want to say that you’re an industry leader with a track record for helping other companies? Do you want to position yourself as a competitive startup with advantages over the market leader?

If you can make a presentation strategy that’s this simple, you have the added benefit of having a pitch to improve on and build up for the next client. The key point to a flexible presentation idea is to ask yourself: “Can it be done differently?” If your idea suggests different words and pictures that all point to the same strategy, it can save you a whole lot of trouble building a new pitch for a new client with different needs.

3. Is It Engaging Enough?

This simply means that your idea must be effective enough to make the audience think for themselves. Is your slide content or speech specific enough for clients to visualize what you want them to see? Can they do this even without the visuals from your slides?

Engage your audience by spiking up their imagination. If your words paint a vivid picture, it keeps them hooked and prevents them from tuning out from or sleeping through your pitch.

The Takeaway: Always Be Skeptical

Every idea has its potential, but the great ideas are always the ones that have a better chance of selling. This is why presenters should always be skeptical of the ideas to use in a business presentation.

Ask yourself: “Will I still like it after two or three days?” It also helps if you have a professional PowerPoint expert to help make the most out of your idea and save you the time coming up with one. All you need is a few minutes to get in touch with one for free.

 

References

Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 7, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Promotion & Advertising Strategy.” Marketing Strategy. Accessed August 7, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008.

A PowerPoint Presentation is Not a Literary Document

Since its release in 1990, PowerPoint has become one of the most-used presentation tools both in the boardroom and out of it. Its numerous features and user-friendliness have made it popular among on-the-go individuals in need of complementary visuals.

However, it’s for the same reasons that people tend to abuse PowerPoint when making slide presentations. Even higher-ups are guilty of overdesigning and creating a visually appealing but overflowing slide with too much content. Though done with the intention of improving audience learning, it’s among the riskiest behaviors that weaken your credibility.

If you’ve been using this software in your talks, seminars and meetings, steer clear from treating it as a literary document. Avoid this presentation trap by following these expert tips:

Avoid Overcrowding Text

Long passages and dramatic sentences are for books, not for slides. Throwing heavy-text at your audience is only effective at tuning them out from your discussion. Though your point is to convey a complete thought, it can still cause confusion when a bunch of ideas is presented at the same time.

Don’t risk losing your audience’s attention. Limit your content to a few points for a clear and concise presentation. Start by asking yourself: “Do they really need to know this?”

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Use Effective Visuals

In response to being too verbose, using effective visuals is a sure way to prevent your slide presentation from looking like a literary piece. Images, videos, or any moving elements are great substitutes for text.

Since visuals are processed 60,000 times faster compared to text, take advantage of them to make an influential and engaging pitch.

Don’t Read Your Slides

Literary works require thorough appreciation, but reading your slide while you’re presenting is like stating the obvious. This was actually pinpointed as the top habit that annoyed audiences in Dave Paradi’s 2013 PowerPoint survey.

When you read off each word, you lose your connection with your listeners, leaving them with this impression: “This guy spends a lot of time facing the screen.” Rid yourself of this bad presentation habit. At the same time, learn how not to depend on your script.

It’s okay to read bits of information from your deck, as long as you limit it to the absolute minimum to let you glide into a more natural and expressive way of talking.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that literary works such as stories make presentations successful, your PowerPoint slides shouldn’t be crammed with text just to instill a sense of drama to your audience. Got problems creating PowerPoint presentation that sell? Contact SlideGenius and we’ll help you design a deck with a selling edge!

 

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References

How Not to Depend on Your PowerPoint Presentation Scripts.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 6, 2015.
Latest Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results.Think Outside The Slide. August 28, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2015.
The Power of Visual Communication.” Billion Dollar Graphics. Accessed August 6, 2015.

3 Effective Tips for Simplifying PowerPoint Slide Designs

We’ve said before that simple slide designs are every professional presenter’s bread and butter. Whether they’re TED Talk speakers or Steve Jobs, all of them rely on slides that feature one visual and one caption, allowing them to get their point across clearly.

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These slides aren’t used as scripts. After all, professional presenters use them to help the audience visualize what they say while they use an informal, conversational tone. According to brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, they also support their speech with at least three important points centered on a main idea.

While we can talk about the benefits of simplified PowerPoint slide designs, it’s also important to know exactly how to do them.

Ad veteran Luke Sullivan cites top advertising professionals as those who make simple, effective advertisements by boiling them down to one main element.

Three Simple Questions to Answer

A typical PowerPoint slide contains an image, a headline, a caption, body text, and sometimes lists and bullet points. While they contain the information you need, slides like these can end up overloaded and confusing.

Reduce your slides to the essentials with these questions:

1. Can You Make Your Slide Work Without the Body Text?

Pasting text on the slide and reading it out ends up alienating you from your audience and cutting potential for interaction with them.

Don’t recite a script. Instead, tell them a compelling story and giving them reasons to invest in your proposal. Remove the text from your slides if your visuals can work without them, no matter how well-written they may be.

This will make your layout cleaner and let you talk more. Your presentation is there to help your audience visualize what you’re supposed to say, not give you an on-stage script.

2. Is Your Caption Bringing Any New Information?

Your caption should support your image.

Let’s take a look at one of Gallo’s examples — Steve Jobs presentations. The caption “1000 songs in our pocket” was superimposed with the image of an actual pants pocket to show the iPod Nano’s main feature.

This is similar to author Jim Aitchison’s example of the style used in the Volkswagen ad featuring a lunar landing craft with the caption “It’s ugly, but it gets you there”. These effective captions bring new information that’s not seen in the visual, but if your image can work without it, so much the better.

A print ad for The Economist only had the image of a keyhole with the magazine’s logo at the bottom.

While part of a campaign, this showed that the publication was the key to unlocking useful industry secrets and information that only its readers can enjoy.

3. Do You Need a Title, or Can the Visual Speak for Itself?

Sometimes, presenters use titles on top of their slides to separate different sections.

In theory, this sounds logical, but if your visual can speak for itself, or if you tell your audience what you want to talk about in the next part of your PowerPoint, why use a title?

A simple headline on the slide itself or a single image shown front and center works better.

Ensure that only one element is prominent in your slide. This makes it easier for your audience to read your text, and keeps their attention focused on you.

Keep the Audience’s Eyes on You

You can make PowerPoint slide designs comparable to those used by Steve Jobs and TED speakers by following this principle of simplicity.

This exercise is difficult when you’re tempted to paste everything into your slides. You’re the one giving the pitch, not your PowerPoint. Keep your audience focused on what you say.

To help you make simple but effective PowerPoint slides, all you need is fifteen minutes to get in touch with our presentation experts.

 

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References

Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Reduce and Simplify Like a PowerPoint Professional.SlideGenius, Inc. May 25, 2015. Accessed July 8, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
The Economist: Keyhole.Adsoftheworld.

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.

Four Ways to Get Great Presentation Ideas from Ad Agencies

Before making the sales pitch, know what problem your client needs to solve and what their expectations are. This makes it easier to select the best presentation technique and tactic.

First, you need a great presentation idea.

Are you focusing on practicality like Volkswagen? Or, as renowned author, Jim Aitchison, presented, will you capitalize on the advantages of being second like Avis Rent-a-Car?

Are you looking to attack the competition like when 7-Up presented itself as the “uncola”, the opposition of Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

Before starting on your PowerPoint deck, come up with a simple but powerful strategy to guide your presentation ideas.

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1. Know Where You Stand

Are you a startup? An established company with a credible reputation? Are you somewhere in between?

Regardless of your business size, it’s important to identify your position as opposed to the competition. Inc contributing editor, Darren Dahl, suggests that one of the most effective ways to do this is by determining your company’s financial standing.

Once you know how you stand in relation to your competitors, define what you can offer through your corporate presentation. Find out what advantages you have over the competition and capitalize on those in your sales pitch.

2. Know Your Client’s Business

Clients may call on other companies for a briefing or a factory tour. According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, this builds your credibility because:

  1. You give the impression that you care and want to know more about your clients.
  2. You get to speak to them in their terms and their language.

Talking in their terms makes it easier for clients to understand your pitch.

When consulting your clients, ask them everything you can. Study their PR materials, look at how they do business with their customers, where they stand in the market, etc.

Your winning presentation idea can be found in your client’s business.

3. Know Your Customers

Find out how your customers see you.

Show your clients that you have satisfied the people you’ve done business with before, and they’ll be more easily convinced to invest in your proposal.

If clients can’t give you the information you need, answer the one question they always ask: “what’s in it for me?”

4. Know the Competition

Knowing how your competition does business tells you how they present themselves. Analyzing your competition’s presentation techniques tells you how to counter them in your own pitch.

If your competition banks on their advantages over the rest of the market, emphasize one thing they don’t have. Avis stated that the lines at their car rental counter are shorter than the leading brands’.

Even the fiercest competitor in your industry vertical will have a weakness you can exploit.

The Final Act: Simplify Your Strategy

Once you have the information you need, make your corporate presentation strategy as simple as possible.

You can emphasize the benefits of being the second place market performer, or boast about a pocket-sized device that holds a thousand songs.

As brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, puts it, you can talk about how your new gadget achieved a comparable market share to the rest of the competition within its initial shipments.

Whatever benefit you choose to emphasize, make your point at the start of your pitch.

Having a great idea and communicating it well isn’t enough. To truly maximize this, you need a professional corporate presentation designer. Take a few minutes to talk to us and start getting the profits you deserve.

 

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References

Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Dahl, Darren. “How to Evaluate Your Company’s Financial Position.” Inc.com. August 30, 2010. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Great PowerPoint Presentations Need Great Main Ideas.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

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.

The Secret to an Effective Sales Presentation Rehearsal

The best sales presentations are planned weeks in advance, with rehearsals taking several hours.

Presenters refine several factors such as speech tone, body language, hand gestures, demonstrations, and even slide timing.

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The Secret

What’s the overarching secret to getting the most out of your rehearsal?

Deliberate practice.

According to brand communications expert Carmine Gallo, this is a form of training which involves setting specific goals (say, giving a sales pitch in five minutes), asking for feedback, and continuous improvement during your career as a professional presenter.

Setting Goals

Using this method of training means being specific down to the last detail.

How powerful will your tone be? What sort of emotions do you need to use for presenting? How long will your speech take per slide?

Gallo presents Steve Jobs as an example because of his meticulousness. Jobs spends several hours practicing the sales pitch’s every aspect, right down to how much lighting to use for showing his products.

Similarly, a skilled presenter notes his pitch’s every detail and how they’ll work during the actual show date. This lets you plan how your deck work, including your speech’s timing, for an effortless sales pitch.

Properly Using Feedback

Do the presentation rehearsal with your team, supervisor or even in front of a mirror.

If you have someone or something to help spot your errors, take note of your mistakes and avoid doing them during the actual pitch.

Note if there were likable things you did (ex. building rapport with the audience, poking good-natured fun at yourself) that you can repeat.

Sales strategist Marc Wayshak suggests that another effective way of getting feedback would be to ask prospects what works for them or what doesn’t. This won’t diminish your credibility. In fact, it will make you seem even more determined to connect with them and understand their needs.

Continuous Improvement

As simple as this sounds, improving yourself can take years. Practice is essential to a sales presentation, especially if you want to sound spontaneous.

Over the course of your career, improve yourself by studying both your performance and your audience’s feedback.

Combined with rigorous deliberative practice, you’ll eventually define and improve your mix of personal presentation techniques, letting you sell better than you ever could before.

The Bottom Line

Practice everything, down to the tiniest detail. If you’re as passionate about giving a presentation as Steve Jobs and the top TED speakers are, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Learn from your mistakes and strengths to reach your fullest potential as a presenter.

Once you’ve honed your skills, work with a presentation design specialist to give you the right selling tools!

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References

Gallo, C. 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 June 19, 2015.
Wayshak, Marc. “5 Tips to Giving the Perfect Sales Presentation.” Salesforce Blog. January 23, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2015.

Sales Presentation Tips from The Art of War: Know Your Craft

In their breakthrough book, The Art of War for Managers, business veterans Gerald and Steven Michaelson cite one of history’s greatest military tacticians, Sun Tzu.

Drawing from one of Sun Tzu’s famous lines, “…the general who understands war is… the guarantor of the security of the nation,” these business gurus suggest that if you spend time knowing your business well enough, you’ll lead it effectively.

The same principle applies to sales presentations.

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CEOs and sales teams take time to know their businesses and products before pitching. They also have a firm grasp of the public speaking techniques they need to sell.

As a presenter, here are three aspects you should master:

Your Product

Knowing your tools is the first step to building a selling idea. According to renowned author Jim Aitchison, learning every aspect of your product or service lets you explain its features correctly. It also helps you outline the benefits your prospects are interested in.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is it?
  • How does it work?
  • What benefits does it give to clients?
  • What situations can they use it in?

These should lead to what clients need to know, more specifically: how the product or service help their business.

Your Presentation Techniques

Once you know how your business and products work, rehearse. There is no shortcut.

As brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, says, even some professional presenters spend several weeks rehearsing for a single pitch. They also take note of what works and what doesn’t so they can improve their public speaking.

Professional presenters deliberately practice until they get their pitch just right, almost as if their work was effortless.

Learn how to use the techniques and tools at your disposal before entering the boardroom to give yourself an immense advantage over others.

Your PowerPoint Deck

Once you know everything about your product or service and have spent hours rehearsing your speech, it’s time to prepare your third and most crucial component: your PowerPoint deck.

Your deck is not a script, but it’s there to help your audience visualize what you have to say, so keep it as simple and understandable as possible.

You can even hire professional PowerPoint specialists to help you design a deck that effectively sells your pitch.

Learn the Tools and the Trade

Presentation skills and techniques are acquired over time. Some spend hours practicing to gain them, while others have built them up over their careers. The same thing goes for knowing your business well enough to sell it.

Know every aspect of your product first. There’s nothing to pitch if you don’t understand your own offering. Rehearse until you master your tone, gestures, and timing. All the information you have is useless if you can’t deliver it clearly.

Finally, make your deck simple but packed with meaningful content. Don’t use them as your cue cards. Instead, use them to emphasize what you want to say. With enough practice, you’ll know how to best persuade a crowd by combining all these factors into a great sales presentation.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

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References

Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore, New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2010.
Knowing Your Products and Services.” Queensland Government. Accessed June 15, 2015.
Michaelson, G., and Steven Michaelson. Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Managers: 50 Strategic Rules Updated for Today’s Business. 2nd ed. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media. 2010.
The Secret to an Effective Sales Presentation Rehearsal.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 15, 2015.

 

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