‘We need you to create a really fantastic presentation for this pitch!’
Cue the alarm bells ‘I’m not a designer! I’m not tech savvy! This will take up way too much time!’
You don’t have to be an IT wizard or a graphic designer to create a powerful and professional presentation. These quick tips are a great reference for anyone faced with the task of creating a presentation, and scratching their head and wondering where to start!
Preparation is key
Before you open PowerPoint you need a presentation brief. Too often we blame time restraints for a lack of preparation, however spending 30 minutes working on a brief can save you a significant amount of time further down the track. It could be as simple as:
- Cover Page
- Background (your company, your clients company)
- Benefits (how can these two work together? What can you offer your audience?)
- Cost / Performance Indicators
- Summary of Deliverables
Adding the contents of what you’d like to say for each slide/section will provide a sense of how the material will flow once it’s put into your presentation.
Key images should also be kept on file prior to commencing work on the presentation itself. Ensure you have hi-res images on hand for your company logo, your client’s logo and any key marketing collateral that your brand has on hand as a starting point.
PowerPoint is your friend
Once the preparation is complete, it’s time to make friends with power point. It has a lot of different settings to offer such as Smart Art plus layout templates that can save you time and ensure that your presentation looks professional and current. Creating a Master slide (via – view – slide master) will establish a consistent background design across your entire presentation. Place your client’s logo here alongside your own as a signature across all pages to create subconscious connection between brands.
Keep it simple
Don’t overcomplicate pages with too much copy. If you don’t enjoy sitting back and reading through it, how can you expect an audience to? Attention spans are short and your presentation should consider this. You want your audience to leave feeling inspired, not exhausted and your PowerPoint should include cues that you can expand on through conversation.
The font size and style should remain consistent across the presentation.
Choose one heading font such as : Arial Black, Cooper Black, Rockwell, Aharoni.
Choose one body font such as: Calibri Body, Helvetica Lt and Times New Roman.
If you’re using images from google, always refine your image search via: Search Tools – Large Images. A small image might look fine on your desktop, but once it’s printed or blown up on the big screen it will appear at a poor quality, which can contribute to a poor perception of your company’s success and professionalism.
Your presentation is more than your PowerPoint
The presentation should take part of the bigger frame work that is your audience’s experience. At one of the best presentations I’ve ever attended, the Marketing Manager ordered cupcakes customised to the clients brand and included the client’s theme music upon entry to the room. The entire presentation included subtle links to the background of the clients company and as a result, the presentation was a huge success and marked the start of a long partnership. Business owners are faced constantly with sales pitches and partnership options – making sure your pitch stands out from the crowd can take you a long way.
Proof read your presentation – then have others proof read it
A simple yet essential step is proof reading. It rarely feels fantastic when a seemingly obvious typo is noted by a colleague. But how much worse is it when a typo hits a room full of professionals?
Never underestimate the importance of checking over your work and use the help of others to check over it, too.
Now that you have some basic presentation guidance, don’t be afraid to get creative and fine tune your work by exploring additional features. If you’re still in doubt about your design skills, remember that your presentation does not rest on your PowerPoint alone. Keep it simple – as ultimately your passion and enthusiasm will connect with an audience much more effectively than the most amazing PowerPoint will.