Whether it’s an internal business presentation, a pitch to prospective clients, or a PowerPoint designed to train staff, the aim of the game is to keep your audience engaged at all times.
Sadly, the act of sitting in a room and watching a static screen for a pre-designated amount of time can feel unappealing to some audiences, so it’s vital that you give yourself the best chance of ensuring that everyone is fully tuned in listening to what you have to say.
Although the use of PowerPoint is common practice across businesses in the 21st Century, we’re still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to creating compelling presentations that are capable of grabbing attention.
Luckily, there are plenty of smart ways that presenters can remedy this, and here in this article, we’ll take a look at three smart approaches that you can take in building a winning presentation, whoever the audience may be.
The gold standard of PowerPoint is the ‘10/20/30’ rule. This notion was thought up by Guy Kawasaki, a prolific venture capitalist who has been publishing books on his profession for over 30 years.
Simply, the 10/20/30 rule refers to having 10 slides, lasting no more than 20 minutes, and containing no font smaller than size 30.
The thought of having just 10 slides in a presentation may seem daunting, but it helps to prevent the audience from being bombarded by excessive information. As part of the 10 slide template, presenters can be challenged to constructing a more concise template that will ultimately help the viewer to retain more information – it also invites the person giving the presentation to discuss topics more effectively without their own focus being taken away by a fresh slide with different discussion points.
Kawasaki believes that the ideal presentation would last no longer than 20 minutes. He highlights the fact that many presentations actually take longer to set up than what’s allotted and the timeframe of 20 minutes is perfect for avoiding the act of accidentally eating into the audiences time – which ultimately could take their attention away.
Keeping your text to over a 30pt font size is vital – not only in preventing widespread squinting, but in resisting the temptation of cramming information on to a slide and reading it. With the 10/20/30 rule, you’re forced into using a larger font, and in turn, will automatically shed the unnecessary information embedded in your presentation.
Keep to a consistent structure
Another highly effective rule of thumb for a successful PowerPoint presentation is the ‘3-Act’ structure. This helps to create a narrative to your presentation that will help keep your audiences compelled instead of feeling like they’re revisiting points made six slides ago.
In Act One, you clearly introduce your presentation, giving the audience an idea of what they’re going to learn from the slides they’re about to see.
Act Two is dedicated to sustaining their attention. Usually, you’ll be detailing a problem and offering a solution for their consideration – all while remembering to educate and inform along the way. Think of this act as your main course. It’s here where you’ll build your case and sell its benefits.
Act Three focuses on solving the problem that’s been presented. Recap and remind your audience of the key takeaways of your presentation and consider leaving them with a Call-to-Action if you see fit.
Furthermore, it’s imperative that you structure your presentation with one single talking point for each slide. This helps to keep the audience focused on the matters at hand while preventing confusion through a bombardment of information.
Rather controversially, business branding and design agency Circle S Studio advises against the use of bullet points when structuring slides. This is due to the fact that bullet points can be too attention grabbing in presentation scenarios. Once you reveal a slide containing a series of bullet points, the audience’s attention will immediately revert from listening to you to reading the list on your slides.
There’s no easier path to presenting success than through the effective use of infographics and flow charts.
In a presentation situation where the audience is required to stay focused for prolonged amounts of time, there’s nothing better than a relevant sensory treat of high-quality information delivered in an appealing way.
Sadly, infographics are a few-and-far-between when it comes to PowerPoint presentations, with users often believing that they’re incapable of creating the aesthetically pleasing charts that could captivate an audience. But this needn’t be the case.
There’re numerous providers that offer an impressive array of pre-prepared templates with embedded charts, tables and infographics available in a catalogue comprised of thousands of designs.
Some of these providers are:
- TemplateMonster – Over 1,000 PowerPoint templates in 15+ categories
- PoweredTemplate – Over 30,000 templates for PowerPoint, Word, Diagrams & Charts
- Envato – Over 5,000 templates for Keynote, PowerPoint & Google Slides
- CreativeMarket – Over 9,000 templates for Keynote, PowerPoint and Infographics
By downloading a template for the sort of data you’re aiming to create a visualisation for, you can build a smart and modern presentation that has every chance of becoming a roaring success to your peers, clients, or trainees.
Image Credits: PowerPoint Presentation from vector_s/Shutterstock