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High Cost: Avoiding the Price of an Ineffective PowerPoint

One PowerPoint presentation gone bad can cost more than you think, according to this Think Outside The Slide article: almost as much as $250 million because of wasted resources and manpower.

Aside from the time invested by the audience, your sales, company decision-making, and even reputation are affected by your pitch’s impact.

Create a deck that will maximize your time and save you the effort and money.

Find out how to avoid an ineffective PowerPoint with these three tips:

1. Set a Goal

Knowing what you want to achieve is important in planning out how you’re going to get there.

Is it to move the audience to action? Is it to make a sale? Or is it simply to deliver information?

Not having an objective for your presentation can lead to a cluttered slide deck and disorganized speech.

To avoid this, you need to choose from these goals for your pitch.

Once you’re sure of what you want, enumerate the steps to achieving this goal.

Create an outline that lists down your course of action. Will you quote your latest sales figures? Will you highlight your product’s benefits? Doing so can also serve as your guide in creating more palatable content.

Craft a winning deck by determining what type of response you want to elicit from your listeners.

2. Simplify Your Points

Abstract ideas can be difficult to process, especially if they come in bulk.

Information overload, like spreadsheets overflowing with statistical data, can affect how much of your presentation the audience will recall once you’re finished.

Remember that your listeners don’t know your presentation as well as you do, so keep things simple.

Break down your ideas into key points so you can focus on discussing as you go along. These can include going straight to how much clients could save or earn if they approve your proposal, or the superior benefits of your product over the competition.

You also need to make sure that this is reflected in your slides to make it clearer and more concise.

Stick to one major topic per slide, but don’t give it to the audience as it is.

Explore a number of ways to creatively present difficult data, or to show your key points as a single text or image per slide for easier retention.

3. Engage the Audience

The downfall of many presentations, particularly sales pitches, is lack of audience engagement.

According to a 2015 study by Microsoft Canada, people’s attention spans have dropped to an average of eight seconds, writes Leon Watson of The Telegraph. But presenters seem to forget to consider this.

Either they go beyond their intended time limit, or they saturate their slides with too much information for the audience to handle.

Engage the audience by treating your PowerPoint only as a visual aid, rather than a replacement for your actual presence.

Interact with your listeners using expansive hand gestures and maximizing your physical space. Exude confidence and inspire trust in your body language.

Use social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s suggestion about applying a power pose to display self-assurance and certainty in your pitch.

People are more likely to listen to someone who knows what he’s doing, rather than someone who sounds unsure of his topic.

Conclusion

You can save the time, money, and further effort with one perfect presentation, so why not aim for that?

Set a goal for your current pitch, and know what you want to achieve to guide you in reaching it.

Break down complex ideas into easily understandable ones by selecting key points instead of whole paragraphs.

Engage the audience by stepping away from your PowerPoint and interacting with them through your body language and your speech.

The price of PowerPoint shouldn’t be too high. If you find yourself in need of some expert help, contact our SlideGenius professionals today for a free quote!

 

References

Blodget, Henry. “This Simple ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life And Career.” Business Insider. May 3, 2013. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.businessinsider.com/power-pose-2013-5

Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html

“What is the REAL Cost of Poor Presentations?.” Think Outside the Slide. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/what-is-the-real-cost-of-poor-presentations

Three Principles for a Minimalist PowerPoint Design

You might have experienced times when you used minimal content in your presentations. Has use of the minimalist concept sometimes led to bare and boring slides?

If so, you may have to reevaluate your PowerPoint design choices, but not by doing away with minimalism. Rather, improve your deck to utilize this technique more.

While users could blame the seemingly poor appearance on PowerPoint, using minimal content and taking a minimalist approach are two different things.

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Done correctly, the latter uses the important facts your clients need to know, as opposed to the former, which puts in only a few details.

This allows your deck to make an impact due to three important factors.

1. White Space

In his article citing renowned neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin’s The Organized Mind on The Orange County Register, Mark Landsbaum discusses the effects of taking in too much info at once.

These effects include unproductivity and loss of motivation, and the same effects may apply to information overload on the slide.

Because there’s too much content to process, a PowerPoint with text-heavy content makes people lose interest in your pitch faster.

People can only give their full attention to one thing at a time. If you want them to retain anything from your presentation, focus on showing your most important facts. Minimalists make use of white space in their design. This draws attention to important text and images on the screen.

Eliminating unnecessary elements from your deck reduces the strain on a reader’s eyes. It also lets them process key points faster. The next time you want to fill your slide with blocks of text, ask yourself if you can cut it down to leave space for rest.

2. Content Placement

You won’t be able to call people’s attention to your core message if they’re placed inconspicuously on your PowerPoint. This is where most presenters abuse the minimalist method. They believe that throwing content on a bare space will make it look more appealing.

However, minimalism is all about strategic placement. Spark people’s interest by putting the right element at the right place. Put headlines at the center where they could easily be seen. When using captions with an image, and you want readers to notice them immediately, try putting them near the middle as well.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Minimalism is all about strategic placement.” user=”SlideGenius” hashtags=”design, strategy, graphicdesign” url=”https://www.slidegenius.com/blog/three-principles-minimalist-powerpoint-design/” template=”light”]

Less important slide content like sub-headings and minor information should take up less space. So try placing them below or beside the core content.

3. Appropriate Colors

People react to certain colors in different ways. If you want to draw attention and exude positivity, warm colors like red and yellow can suit your needs. On the other hand, cool colors like blue and green relax the eyes.

Like saturating your slide deck with images, adding too many colors can be distracting and uninviting. Knowing the appropriate color scheme for your presentation is already an advantage on your part.

Tom Osborne of Viget.com recommends applying other color principles like contrast, to highlight aspects like talking points. Choose complementary colors, and apply one as a backdrop to the other for emphasizing. This doesn’t just apply to solid colors. Use these color principles on your text and images to achieve a visually-appealing design, and make your deck easier to look at.

The Takeaway

There’s no room for a cluttered slide deck in a professional presentation. Using a minimalist approach to PowerPoint design can make your deck layout easier to look at, and help attract prospects.

To do this, consider using white space to relax people’s eyes, and help them focus on your key points. Then place your content strategically to draw attention to important text or images on screen.

Utilize the appropriate colors to bring out the best parts of your deck. To make the minimalist approach work on your deck, use these design tips to impress your clients.

To keep everything balanced, contact a PowerPoint guru for a free quote!

 

References

“Color Contrast for Better Readability.” Viget Blogs. Accessed November 25, 2015. https://viget.com/inspire/color-contrast
“Perils of Processing Too Much Information.” The Orange County Register. Accessed November 25, 2015. www.ocregister.com/articles/day-659344-climate-time.html

 

Featured Image: “twist” by Thomas Leth-Olsen on Flickr.com

The Most Important Slides Your Pitch Deck Needs in a Sales Pitch

The number of slides in your presentation depends on two things: your audience and the type of presentation you’re delivering. For sales pitches, there are some things you need to keep standard, like your company background, what you’re selling, etc.

Want to know the information you need for your slide deck? We’ve taken advice from renowned entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki and listed down the most important slide content of a sales pitch.

Company Background

Before anything else, let your audience know who you are. Prospects will be less likely to listen or invest in you if you don’t provide your background information. Give them an overview of your job description, and company. This should include its name and a brief of its history.

Are You Looking for a Pitch Deck?
View Our Amazing Pitch Deck Examples!

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This part of your pitch doesn’t have to be lengthy at all. It shouldn’t take more than one introductory slide. Use this as an opportunity to squeeze in your company contact details. Your goal is for potential customers to call you up after your pitch.

Value Proposition

Once you’ve gotten introductions out of the way, it’s time to go into your business plan. Describe the problem or opportunity and present your product as its solution. Don’t be vague about your descriptions. Discuss how your product solves the problem and highlight what sets you apart from others who offer similar services. Avoid wordy slides and lengthy speeches too. Diagrams and flowcharts will drive home your point faster. Also, take this as an opportunity to present a demo or a sample to give them an idea of what they’ll invest in.

People don’t just want to hear about how good you are. They want to see how effective your offer really is. Showing them your product at work can convince them of what you’re capable of doing.

Financial Projections and Current Status

While you’ll want to impress investors during your pitch, you should also stay factual and realistic. Run your audience through a feasible timeline of your project. Build up your journey from your current status to what you hope to accomplish, both in the long-term and the short-term. Prepare a financial forecast, possibly for the next three to five years. Include an outlook of what the near future looks like for other key metrics as well. Tell people how far you are in your timeline. Some updates you can include are how much funds you have and how you plan to allocate them to achieve your objectives.

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View Our Amazing Pitch Deck Examples!

Once you have this information, explain the actions you’re taking to fulfill your forecast. Enumerate your present accomplishments, and expound on how they contribute to your business goals.

Assuring your listeners that you’re on your way increases the likelihood of them investing in you.

Seal the Deal

Your PowerPoint’s content should reflect all the key points to discuss with your audience. An introductory slide establishes who you are and where you stand. After establishing rapport, explain your product or service to people. Without being too technical, describe its value and how it differs from any competitors. Have diagrams and flowcharts replace complex data. If available, give a demo or a sample to concretize your point. Give a three-to-five-year forecast of your product’s progress, and keep the audience on track of where you currently are in your timeline. Cover all these points, to give investors a better perspective of your business.

Once you’re done fleshing out your presentation content, it’s time to figure out your design. Consult with our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References:

Kawasaki, Guy. “The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch.” Guy Kawasaki. March 5, 2015. www.guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch
Markowitz, Eric. “7 Deadly Sins of Sales Pitching.” Inc. April 18, 2011. www.inc.com/ss/7-deadly-sins-sales-pitching
Okyle, Carly. “The Only 10 Slides Needed When Pitching Your Business (Infographic).” Entrepreneur. March 18 2015. www.entrepreneur.com/article/244098
“Key Performance Indicators.” Klipfolio. n.d. www.klipfolio.com/resources/kpi-examples

 

Featured Image: “Encore Event Planning Seminar-38” by SpokaneFocus on Flickr.com

How You Might Be Missing the Point in PowerPoint

PowerPoint’s a must in the field of presentation. However, critics have raised several points against it, one of the most notorious being “Death by PowerPoint.”

Under its premise, this phenomenon is when a presenter bores a reader with their lengthy and rather clunky slide deck. However, is it really the presentation tool’s fault, or does the speaker have a hand in the mishap?

Find out how you might be misusing your slides:

It’s Not Your Crutch

Don’t fall into the trap of using your slide deck as a safety blanket.

It’s still necessary to practice your public speaking skills even if you have a winning deck. Reading from your slides will only cut off the personal connection you need to establish between yourself and your audience. Be more natural in your presentation and drop the script. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror and try to incorporate things that will further engage the audience, like your body language and posture. Make sure to maintain eye contact as you speak to people so that you appear both conversational and professional in your delivery.

You Have Too Many Slides

This well-known phenomenon, “Death by PowerPoint,” occurs when an inexperienced presenter drowns the audience with a barrage of slides and innumerable bullet points.

Remember that people can only process so much information at once, so it’s important to keep your presentation as short as possible. Leave out things from your slide that aren’t direct key points. Covering too many topics means you’ll be adding more slides to list them in. Business expert Guy Kawasaki formulated the 10-20-30 rule as a guide for presenters. Stick to 10 slides in 20 minutes, and don’t go below a 30-point font size. Your audience will only remember the highlights of your presentation, so don’t bombard them with too many slides that can distract their memory.

Your Design Might Need Tweaking

Some design choices can be detrimental to your overall slide deck. Since PowerPoint is primarily a visual tool, the way its aesthetics contribute to your core message affect people’s reception of it.

Take a step back and reconsider your deck’s design. Tap into its different aspects, like color and layout. Different colors evoke different emotions in people, so use the appropriate hues for your deck to get the right attention. Make use of white space to draw attention to important elements on your slides and let your audience’s eyes relax at the same time.

Conclusion

As the presenter, make sure that it’s not your own design choices that are holding you back from delivering a good pitch and presenting a well-made deck.

A deck isn’t an excuse to slack on your speech, so make sure to treat it only as a visual aid reserved for your key points. Cut back on the amount of slides you have and leave room for you to expound and explain each part of your presentation. Tweak your design to evoke the right response from people.

If you want a deck ready for your brand to use without the added hassle, contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

Hedges, Kristi. “Six Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint.” Forbes. November 14, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/11/14/six-ways-to-avoid-death-by-powerpoint
Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
“Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm

 

Featured Image: “Confused” by CollegeDegrees360 on flickr.com

How to Finish Your Deck on a Tight Deadline

With deadlines piling up, finishing those slides early could be the last thing on your mind. However, one thing you shouldn’t be cramming for is your slide deck, especially if you haven’t touched PowerPoint in a long time.

Craft your deck with laser-like focus by knowing how to maximize the available time you have. You’ll have to make compromises, but if you know your priorities, you can still turn in a winning deck.

Prioritize Tasks

A precise schedule lets you know how much time you can actually work with. Determine your deadline’s exact time and day. Plot out your agenda to create a visual reminder of everything you need to finish. This is better than thinking that you can act tomorrow instead of today.

Remember to include short breaks in your plan. Working without a break can burn you out and delay you further. If you’re clueless when it comes to PowerPoint, focusing on your content and delivery should be your main priority. Determine what your strengths are so you can devote time to an area that you have more experience in. Rest assured that if you’re truly in need, there are easier ways to get some things done.

Take Shortcuts

Trying to be a design expert overnight is difficult, so if you want your deck to look good, you may have to resort to using templates. Not all templates are created equal, so make sure that you find a high-quality template you can use for your deck. The template you choose should complement your content well.

Consider if the theme, mood, and color scheme all go together. You might take too much time trying to figure out how to make your deck look well-designed, so be careful not to let perfectionism take a huge chunk of your already limited time. When push comes to shove, you can always ask someone for help. You can also delegate tasks if you’re working in a team.

Ask for Help

It’s hard to admit to ourselves that we just can’t finish certain tasks. Working on a tight deadline can be an overwhelming problem to tackle alone. It’s better to let go of our pride than to let a presentation end in disaster by doing everything ourselves.

If you work with a team, you have full advantage of the skillsets available to you, especially if you’re collaborating with members who specialize in different fields. You can have someone in charge of research, have another person compile information and slides, or have someone work on the designs. If the deadline is simply impossible to meet on your own, ask for a helping hand or two before it’s too late.

According to bestselling author Harvey Mckay, this team strategy works whether you’re a boss or an employee. Everyone will benefit from collaborative effort.

In Short: Maximize Efficiency

In the most dire of cases, you can always ask for a later deadline, but use this option as a last resort. After all, it’s much better to exhaust other options than to hope for a deadline extension.

Remember: planning your schedule until the deadline allows you to focus on a workable path now instead of relying on the time you have for tomorrow. Templates may work for a rushed presentation, but a good deck needs a lot of time and preparation to be successful.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you feel you really need it. SlideGenius specializes in making PowerPoint decks, so we’re quite familiar with beating deadlines. Contact our team ASAP if you’re in a pinch, and we’ll be here to help you out.

 

References:

Mackay, Harvey. “Deliver on Deadline Every Time: 6 Tips” Inc. May 7, 2012. www.inc.com/harvey-mackay/how-to-meet-deadlines-under-pressure.html

 

Featured Image: “geralt” on pixabay.com

Just Scroll With It: Why Convert Your Slides into a Scrolling Web Presentation

It’s a common practice among many businessmen to prepare printed versions of their PowerPoint slides. Considering the fact that an average person can retain only up to seven key points from a presentation, that is actually a great business move. At the end of the meeting, a printed slide deck serves as a takeaway that your prospects may review at their own pace.

Apart from printing a few PDFs, you can provide your potential customers or investors with another way to access your presentations. This is by turning the slides into scrolling web pages.

With a scrolling web presentation, you can present your ideas to anyone and anywhere without the hassle of sending email attachments or bulky files. All they need to do is to key in a web address as if they are visiting any other site.

If you aren’t sure about converting your slides into a scrolling web page, the following advantages should be able to convince you:

View your presentation on the go

Thanks to today’s web technology, you can make use of responsive web designs to let your converted slides be viewed on various platforms.

With the scrolling functionality, you’ll be able to view the deck seamlessly on a laptop, tablet, or any mobile device wherever you or your prospects may be.

Enjoy website functionality with minimal navigation

Creating a web presentation lets you take advantage of the functionality of an ordinary website, such as adding videos and interactive content. This allows you to enhance the appeal of your presentation.

Moreover, visitors can browse each slide as they would with their favorite sites albeit by simply scrolling up or down instead of clicking buttons. Plus points for you for optimizing user experience.

Apply infinite scrolling but with a goal in sight

A scrolling web presentation takes after the idea of infinite scrolling, a usability option that gets rid of the usual pagination buttons that users click to navigate a site.

In his article on Smashing Magazine, Yogev Ahuvia presents the cons — alongside the pros — of infinite scrolling. Critics of this feature argue that users are goal-oriented and tend to find satisfaction upon reaching the end of an exploration.

But that’s not a problem with scrolling presentations.

Viewers can expect that a presentation isn’t exactly “infinite.” It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. They would be able to navigate the whole thing easily. In fact, you can still put buttons at the top of the screen as an optional shortcut to the different slide sections.

scrolling-site-feature

Conclusion

Ultimately, converting your slide decks into a scrolling web presentation works to your advantage. You aren’t just providing your prospects with an online takeaway, but you are also establishing your web presence.

That alone is an advantage in and of itself.

 

Reference

Ahuvia, Yogev. “Infinite Scrolling: Let’s Get To The Bottom Of This.” Smashing Magazine. May 02, 2013. Accessed June 06, 2014.