It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running, presentations bring with them a wide range of different benefits that cannot be ignored.
Professionals make the decision to create a presentation for many reasons – including to inform, educate, motivate and even persuade their target audience members. In addition to helping get people excited about upcoming products or services, presentations can also be ideal for internal communications, too. You can use it to explain to employees the importance of some upcoming initiative or to help contextualize how much value the hard work they’ve put into your company actually generated.
Regardless, the presentation format is nothing if not flexible – meaning that there really is no “one size fits all” approach to getting it right. Having said that, if you do want to make sure that your presentation skills are up to par and that you’re creating the best possible experience that you can, there are a few key pointers you’ll want to remember along the way.
Understanding Your Audience
By far, one of the most important tips you need to keep in mind when creating better presentations is that what you’re doing really isn’t about you at all.
Instead, it’s about your audience.
Who are these people? What information are they looking for? What do they need? What do they dislike? The answers to these questions should inform not only the type of presentation you choose to give but also a lot of the creative decisions that you make from that point forward.
Even if you’re not necessarily giving a presentation in person, you still have to consider your audience first and foremost. An effective presentation isn’t about what you want to tell someone – it’s about what they want to know. What you can teach them. What you can leave them with at the end of the presentation that they didn’t have when it started.
If you’re able to do that, you won’t just grab someone’s attention – you’ll be able to keep it for the foreseeable future. Anything less than that will likely come off as cold and cynical, which is exactly the wrong impression that you do not want to create.
Maintain the Proper Pace
Another important idea to remember when giving a presentation is that you’re involved in a much more active experience than you realize. As opposed to something like a blog post which is relatively passive, meaning that people can read it at their leisure, the creative choices that you’re making with your free presentation software like Visme will dictate a large part of how someone’s experience will go.
What this means is you need to be mindful of someone’s time, and how you’ve chosen to use it. Generally speaking, your presentation should take no longer than 20 or so minutes to consume. Keep the total number of slides to a bare minimum – only use as many as you need to get your point across. Anything longer than that risks overwhelming the viewer, which will ultimately sever the important connection that you’re trying to make with them.
Think of it a bit like the experience of watching a movie. We’ve all seen movies that we started out really liking… but that ended up overstaying their welcome and coming in at about a half-hour too long. You definitely don’t want to find yourself in that situation. If anything, you need to get out early and as the old saying goes, “always leave them wanting more.”
Always Keep It Simple
Finally, the best way to give a more effective presentation involves keeping it simple whenever possible. Resist the urge to add too much supplementary information to whatever point you’re trying to make. Remember that people are smart and typically, they don’t need nearly as much of an explanation to understand even complicated topics as we tend to assume they do.
What, exactly, is the key message – or a few key points – that you’re trying to get across? What is it that you want to leave people with? Write them out on a list before you start building your presentation and always refer back to them throughout the creative process.
For the best results, you should be able to convey the core message of your presentation in just a few seconds or less. Once you understand what that basic idea is, hold onto it. Anything that doesn’t service that core message is an element that doesn’t belong in your presentation. It may work well in another, separate one – but it’s only doing you a disservice if you keep it into the one you’re currently building.
In the end, the presentation format is so compelling in large part because it relies on visuals – an element that is far more effective at conveying both ideas and emotions than text alone will ever be. Yet your design choices play a big role in how that information is perceived – the format in and of itself isn’t enough to get the job done.
Provided that you begin with your audience, that you put thought into the pace of the presentation, and that you keep things simple above all else, you’ll end up with a presentation that people aren’t just actively engaged with. You’ll have one that sticks with them long after the presentation itself has finished.