5 Tips For Better Presentations

Posted on Aug 23, 2013

Visual presentations are still a valuable tool to help educate and share information with prospective client(s) such as how others have been helped, or sharing common problems and pains that may need solving again. That of course assumes you planning to talk with them, and not at them, otherwise you are a glorified screen-reader and they might as well be looking at your website. Here are 5 good tips that will help you improve your presentations so they flow better and your audience take something useful away from them, rather than just the chance to sit in silence for half an hour.

1. Make It Shorter

No matter how trimmed you think your presentation is, chances are it’s still too long. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 2 minutes per slide, so if you are aiming to talk for 20 minutes then no more than 10 slides. Don’t make people dizzy by flicking through pages so fast they might as well not be there. And try and not look at the screen when changing slides (or using any minimal animation) as if it is some big reveal that is mesmerising you too.

2. Switch In Pictures

Most presentations are far too wordy and in some cases, you might as well just put the slide up and let your audience read your script right off the slide. “Research” suggests that a picture is the same as 998.6 words (often rounded to 2 s.f.), so make use of this by starting your presentation with some images that cover the boring introductions or mundane information about your business or solution. Graphs work too, as do screenshots (so long as they are legible). Words should cover no more than two-thirds of your presentation, ideally less.

3. Focus On The Flow
A great place to start is to tell your audience in advance that you have already prepared a handout of the most important points to take away, so they can spend their time focussing on what you are sharing. You can also offer to share a PDF version of the notes too so they don’t miss out. This frees you up take them on a semi-structured journey that is likely to hit the most relevant points for them. Don’t be afraid to skip slides or only half cover slides if during your conversations / interactions you find out that certain parts may no longer be relevant (see Tip 5).

4. Try Something Different
Prezi is a nice tool that allows a bit of a different flow, although there is a tendency to make these too wordy (see Tip 2) – then it just becomes a chose your own adventure. Google Drive can use be used to freshen up the medium used (and displays well on a tablet), and both services can be shared easily after the event.

5. It’s Only A Starting Point

Unless your product is a highly consumable item, you can’t sell without first understanding what needs your prospective client has and how your solution could help solve those pains. It’s key to remember and plan your presentation as a brief informational tool that can stimulate discussions and uncovering pain. Ask questions along the way, get your audience to confirm (or deny) that your assumptions are correct and if they are having similar issues / experiences to what you are describing, and to validate that this is what they are wanting to achieve and the key reasons (pains) behind it. A presentation is a tool to educate but more importantly stimulate (further) interest and conversations.

I hope this tips are a good starting place, please get in touch if you would like so more tailored advice or training. Sell well!