Digital presentations have become a staple in today’s business world. Meetings rarely occur without a slideshow of text, images and tables to lead the way.
However, creating an exceptional presentation requires much thought and certain elements to capture an audience’s attention. It takes a lot of work to turn a presentation into something that aids your business and benefits your cause. Use your presentation as a tool instead of a script or a crutch for speaking.
When You Need a Presentation
There are many business circumstances that will arise in which you will need to make a presentation. Many times you will find that a presentation will benefit your end goal by making you appear more professional and prepared. It will also keep you on track by outlining your key points and will help your audience follow your thoughts and ideas. Consider integrating a visual presentation during any circumstance where you need to share information with a group, such as:
- Trade Shows
- Industry Events
Elements of a Good Presentation
Most importantly, your presentation should be well-prepared and thoroughly planned. Many issues with bad presentations can be solved simply by doing a little more research and practice. If you know what you are trying to convey to other people and are prepared for questions and further explanations, then your presentation will automatically be more effective.
Keep these other tips in mind when creating your presentation:
- Use an outline format to help your presentation flow logically and to keep you on target. List your key points (3 to 5 is ideal) in a narrative form to address issues and how to solve them. Your presentation should not be a script; instead, try to format it like a story outline that flows from beginning (problem) to end (solution and steps to take).
- Keep it short and organized. Fifteen minutes is ideal for most presentations, making it easy for you to get and keep attention without dragging on and losing interest. Don’t put too much information on one slide. Be succinct and straightforward.
- The presentation template should be clean, simple and easy to read. A neat and consistent format will make it easier for people to follow along and get information from the presentation. A simple template also works better when incorporating visual elements like charts and pictures without being distracting. It will make your visuals more striking in contrast to the backdrop.
- Your information must grab attention and be interesting. This means that you should include timely references, have interactive elements or questions, lots of visuals and even incorporate humor when appropriate. Don’t bore your audience.
- Don’t forget the importance of good public speaking skills. Don’t use a presentation to distract the audience from the speaker. Rehearse the presentation and face the audience, referring to the presentation only to supplement your speaking points.
Best Applications for Presentations
While PowerPoint is probably the most popular and widely used presentation software, there are many other apps and websites available to help create a riveting visual presentation. Consider these options when designing your presentation:
- Keynote: This Apple-owned presentation software is great because it will work with any iOS device. It is also compatible with MS PowerPoint, letting you import, edit and save PowerPoint files (although sometimes this distorts your presentation, so beware). These features make it perfect for collaboration. The software has drag-and-drop tools and a sleek interface, which means you can quickly and easily create a professional presentation.
- LibreOffice Impress: The free office suite is a good alternative to its larger competitors, and Impress is also compatible with MS PowerPoint. The software provides lots of multimedia options, including tools for drawing and diagramming. It also has numerous viewing modes, such as “outline” and “handout,” making preparation a breeze.
- Google Presentations: This popular cloud-based Google tool allows you to create presentation files from your Google account, meaning that you can access your presentation anywhere. The interface is very simplified and easy to understand, while still providing all of the tools you are likely accustomed to working with in PowerPoint. Even better, it’s free!
- Prezi: Prezi allows for working both online or offline, creating a convenient option for whatever your needs may be. The online features are great for collaboration and sharing since they can be accessed anywhere, anytime. The presentation tools are focused on highly visual and engaging content.
- Haiku Deck: Another easy-to-share option, Haiku Deck is presentation software that prides itself on simplicity and aesthetics. The program provides many design options and lets you visualize your ideas, all while focusing on your outline. There are also tools for creating graphs and tables and uploading images.
Resources for Templates
A clean template is one of the most important elements of an effective presentation. While most of the sites listed above provide templates specifically designed for their presentation software, you can refer to these resources for additional template options: