How To Prepare An Awesome Business Presentation

Business presentations are inescapable in today’s world, where entrepreneurship and innovation are at the heart of businesses. With limited resources, only the best ideas and concepts are taken seriously and given the opportunity to shine. It is therefore important to deliver business presentations in the most effective and captivating way as possible, giving you the edge to stand out from your competitors and clinch the deal. Here are 12 ways to deliver effective business presentations.

How to Prepare an Awesome Business Presentation

Great business presentations need not be complex, so don’t fret, we’ll show you the steps you can take to get started! Here are the basics you need to remember.

1. Know your audience

Your presentation should fit the needs of the audience, and so you have to know who they are, what they have done and their background. These are essential questions that you need to have answers to in order to deliver an effective presentation that will appeal to your audience of investors or executives. Look up the biographies, social media accounts and the general background of your audience members, then use this information to craft your presentation appropriately.

2. Practice makes perfect

You may have heard this phrase a lot, but “practice makes perfect” is arguably the only way that will guarantee you a great presentation! The more you practice, the more familiar and comfortable you will be with the contents of the presentation. Record every practice presentation and replay it to see what you could improve on and change for the next practice. Modifying and improving your delivery every time will only get you closer to a more impactful and effective business presentation.

3. Show your passion and sincerity

You are presenting to a room full of people, so use that to your advantage! Rely on the human aspect of your presentation by emotionally connecting with the investors or executives through stories that express your passion and sincerity about the content you are presenting. Not only will this move the audience but it will also convince the investors or executives that you can make this project happen successfully.

4. Be business savvy

No matter what the contents of your presentation may be, ensure that you present your material through a business perspective. After all, investments are a business decision, and projects need to make sense financially. Know the numbers in your project at your fingertips and estimate profits that the business venture can potentially rake. Do not simply focus on the product or idea, but also focus on its practicality in terms of profits and business.

5. Make your presentation visual and interactive

If you are presenting a product, demonstrate how it works to your audience. Get them involved in seeing how this product can be used to make their lives easier or more luxurious. Research shows that physical touch or interaction with a product will make the person more inclined to want the product. If you are presenting an idea or business venture, try making the slides as interactive and visual as possible, to draw your audience into the subject matter of your presentation.

6. Be concise

In your business presentation, try introducing your idea or product in the simplest manner possible and avoid adding too much information that may take attention away from the product or idea. The best way to ensure that you are not over-complicating your presentation with technical terms and jargon is to think that you are presenting to a 5-year-old. Be so clear and concise that even a child will buy into your idea or product!

7. Prepare a guide

While points 5 and 6 aim at simplifying your presentation, at the same time we do not want to oversimplify the content or material of the presentation. To supplement your sharing, you can have a pamphlet that goes into detail about the product or idea; information that you have purposefully missed in your presentation. This pamphlet can complement your slides and you can pass them around before you start your presentation.

8. Show the audience — “why your product/idea?”

It is important to show the investors or executives you’re presenting to why your product or idea is needed. Why is it a missing piece in the world right now? What makes your product unique, as compared to others in the market? Answering these questions will not only make what you offer desirable, but will also allow you to stand out from your competitors. Show the investors or executives what your product or idea has that differentiates itself from the others.

9. Be confident, but not arrogant

Confidence is key when you are presenting. This comes down to body posture, the way you speak, and the eye contact you make with others. However, it is essential that your confidence does not come across as cockiness or arrogance. Australian entrepreneur Jodie Fox, co-founder of Shoes of Prey, gives great advice regarding this. She says,

“You need to get in there and confidently present the idea, and the basis on which you have come to that idea but to demonstrate that you are listening when your idea is challenged, and then enter into a dialogue if you’re invited to.”

10. Be calm

During and after the presentation, there may be questions thrown at you but always remember to keep your cool! We know that this advice is easy to understand yet hard to follow. However, do keep in mind that only you know your idea or product the best; you have been involved in its conception and are familiar with it. Take your time in answering the questions and do not be fazed.

11. Be honest

Even if you know your product or idea like the back of your hand, you may not be able to answer every question that you are being asked by the investor or executive. Maintain your composure when you are asked a question that you do not know the answer to, be truthful and tell them that you do not know the answer to their question, but do so tactfully; in this case, honestly is the best policy. Tell them that you will get back to them immediately after you have clarified about their question. Do this through email or call them personally to answer their questions after the presentation.

12. Take the opportunity to learn

At the end of the day, even if you do not get the deal or approval from your target audience, take every presentation that you have done as an opportunity to learn and grow. Use the feedback and criticisms of these investors and executives to improve on your idea, product and presentation. Listen to their advice, take good notes and use it as constructive criticism aimed at helping your project. Come back stronger and better with an improved concept or product!

There you have it — 12 pointers to help you prepare an awesome business presentation! Just remember:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Practice makes perfect
  3. Show your passion and sincerity
  4. Be business savvy
  5. Make your presentation visual and interactive
  6. Be concise
  7. Prepare a guide
  8. Show the audience — “why your product/idea?”
  9. Be confident, but not arrogant
  10. Be calm
  11. Be honest
  12. Take the opportunity to learn

Use these steps as a general guideline to help you with your future business presentations. We do have one last tip: Try watching an episode or two of Shark Tank in your free time; we find it to be a great show that teaches you the dos and don’ts of business presentations (plus, you get time to kick back and relax a little!).

All the best!

Making Your Best PowerPoint Presentation – The Ultimate Guide

Think back on all the presentations you have ever sat through. Which presentation comes to mind immediately, and why was it so particularly impressionable? In which phase of your life did you encounter it, and was it effective in conveying its message?

In the digital age where technology practically enables our everyday lives, making a PowerPoint presentation is almost effortless — but an effective one? That takes practice and most importantly, a keen understanding of how to do it.

Making Your Best PowerPoint Presentation — The Ultimate Guide

In this guide, we will be breaking presentations down into the two key components to be considered: content and visuals. Most people get carried away with either, but for a PowerPoint to be sufficiently informative and impressionable, these two must complement each other in order to achieve the perfect balance.

Content

Understand Your Audience

Best powerpoint gift

We sometimes ask our clients to think of a PowerPoint presentation as a gift you’re preparing for someone. When selecting a present, you have to keep in mind his / her general background, preferences and needs.

The same goes for creating a presentation; it is essential to familiarize yourself with the style of your audience.

Flashy slides and dramatic transitions may work well with children but not with adults. As such, before you begin working on anything, take a couple of minutes to think about the people you are reaching out to. It will help you determine how important it is to impress them, and how much consideration you’ll need to give to your presentation.

a. Set a purpose and objective

Spontaneous presentations are fun (try them out sometime!), but chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re creating a presentation for a specific task.

With that in mind, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish. Is it to deliver your content in 15 slides, or 20 minutes? Is it to achieve a certain conversion rate after the presentation? Knowing and keeping a clear idea of what your goal is can help you measure the success of the presentation, and gauge what is required to fulfil your objectives, which can be a huge time-saver.

To put it simply — if there is no purpose or objective, there is no reason to give the presentation.

b. Use Ethos, Pathos and Logos

Language is a powerful medium through which ideas are conveyed, and one good way to manipulate it is through the use of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Ethos calls upon the ethics or values of the speaker, Pathos evokes emotions in the audience and Logos relies on logic by using evidence and facts to persuade.

While a delicate balance of all three is the ideal scenario, it is likely that there will be one aspect that warrants greater attention. For instance, if you’re giving a talk at a university, an appeal to ethics and boosting your credibility as an established figure is what will hook your audience’s attention and convince them that you are worth listening to.

On the other hand, if you’re a representative of a non-profit organization calling for donations, pathos would appear to be the most significant tool, as the most important thing would be to move the hearts of your audience, compelling them to take action.

Work on Your Content First

When you begin developing your presentation, it’s easy to get carried away with designing; who doesn’t like pretty images? While it is cool (we love our jobs!), try focusing on getting your content right first, as it will influence your layout to a certain extent. Generally, we recommend starting with understanding your objectives and the audience who will view your presentation.

Then arrange your presentation in a coherent and compelling manner; we usually do this through a storyboard, but you can do it in any way that works for you.

Once you’ve got a general outline down, work on selecting your main visuals and the overall look of the presentation such as the colour, fonts, and background. You can then put it all together in PowerPoint based on what you’ve planned.

Prepare Detailed Handouts or Publications for Your Audience

Regardless of the size of the audience you are addressing, PowerPoint presentations with too many visuals and too little text can be virtually meaningless without the speaker’s narration.

Most people are aware of the benefits of having more visuals than text, but what they don’t know is the importance of putting in the effort to create a detailed, written handout as a takeaway from the presentation for the audience to reflect on and refer to.

There is, unfortunately, little point in having your audience remember the stunning graphics you had but not the main points of your sharing.

Be sure to spare a few more minutes and include the key points of your presentation in the handout so that it does not become a fleeting work that will not survive beyond your vocalization of the points. This is especially important when your presentation is packed with essential information that you want the audience to retain.

The creation of detailed handouts also serves another practical function, which is to cater to any interested parties who might have missed the presentation due to various reasons, or for audience members who attended your talk to spread the word. The space to absorb the information conveyed in your

Presentation through a written handout also caters to people who are more used to reading on their own — just like how some people prefer to sit in for lectures, whereas others prefer to do their self-studying in peace and quiet. Regardless, having these handouts ensures that no one is neglected.

Create User-Friendly Exports

With technology being ingrained into our everyday lives, you may find yourself in a situation where you are asked to send an online copy of your PowerPoint presentation to someone else. While that sounds easy, measures should be taken to ensure that the version the other party receives and looks through is how you want it to be seen.

Never assume that your deck will look the same on all platforms; if the other party does not have PowerPoint installed on their computer or is using a completely different version of it, it might very likely result in your slides appearing differently. This means that your alignment might be off, fonts are not displayed correctly, or worse, that your speaker’s notes are clearly seen in the presentation file.

Thankfully, there is one easy solution to prevent this — export your presentation as a PDF so that everything will remain as it is, and no changes can be made to it. This can be achieved through File > Export > Create PDF.

Remember: You may have the best PowerPoint presentation, but you still need to be prepared for all possible scenarios as much as possible!

Familiarize Yourself with the Functions in PowerPoint

If you’ve ever faced the problem of Googling repeatedly to locate several functions in PowerPoint, you may not be making full use of the convenience that this beautiful program offers.

There is a ribbon, or a toolbar, that runs along the top of the PowerPoint window which contains most of the commands that are used frequently. The ribbon is organized into tabs, and each tab contains a group of related sources. For instance, in the “Review” tab, you can find some of the most commonly used tools that may be useful, such as checking for spelling and grammatical errors or activating the thesaurus.

Before you start working on your presentation, take a few minutes to run through the functions available again. Afterward, you will find that your process becomes much more efficient, as you won’t have to waste time searching for a particular function. The same goes for keyboard shortcuts; using Ctrl / Command + c & v is much faster than using your mouse to search for the copy and paste functions. Moreover, learning about the different functions that exist may just get your creative juices flowing as inspiration can come from that knowledge.

In addition, PowerPoint also has a Quick Access Toolbar which can be placed in two possible locations, depending on your preference. It is a customizable toolbar containing a set of commands that are independent of the displayed ribbon. Buttons that represent commands can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar, and this toolbar will always remain visible, which means your creation process will become that much simpler and more efficient.

Create a Captivating Cover Title

Picture your presentation as an advertisement. Summarize your entire presentation in a phrase, 7 words or less, that you want your audience to take away. The key here is to make it a compelling one — for instance, benefit statements such as “Boosting Sales Through Technology” for a sales pitch will work well in helping your audience understand the most important message being conveyed in the presentation.

We recommend introducing the phrase right at the start so that the audience has ample time to familiarize themselves with the goal of your pitch.

Use Impactful Closing Techniques

Depending on the presentation that you are giving, a strong ending is pretty much the cherry on top, and it determines whether your audience walks away with a good impression of your presentation. There are multiple closing techniques and choosing one mostly depends on the sort of presentation that you are giving.

Here’s a general guide based on the three most prominent styles of presentation — persuasive, informative, and introductory:

For persuasive presentations, where your main aim is to convince your audience to believe in the argument that you are making, offer a new perspective or angle for your audience to contemplate over. While your ending slide should definitely reiterate your overall points, offering a new perspective or angle would give your audience an opportunity to reflect, as well as provide an impression that you have looked at the issue at hand from a myriad of perspectives.

For informative presentations, it would be ideal to end your session with a Q&A session. Give your audience members a chance to clarify any questions they might have on the spot and at the same time, present a reliable image of yourself by being familiar with the content of your slides. If you’re thrown a question that you can’t answer, don’t panic! Thank the audience for his/her question and say that you will look into the matter before getting back to him/her. Be sure to do so, else you’ll lose your credibility. While you should know the topic like the back of your hand, there will be times where we’re offered a perspective or question that we’ve never considered, and that’s alright- just remember to remain calm and collected.

For introductory presentations such as business pitches, end off by including a call to action. Offer them a good reason to take action and be clear with what you’re trying to accomplish by bringing it forward in your last slide. Practice delivering your conclusion and engage the audience with eye-contact and emotions as you wrap up for a strong finish.

Visuals

Choose the Right Visuals

Less is not always more, but when it comes to a PowerPoint presentation, less is definitely more. In order to convey a clear and memorable message, it is essential to ensure that your presentation relies on a simple visual system. Focus on simplicity so that your audience will not be distracted by visuals.

Think of their attention span as limited — use only a few colours and fonts that are pleasant to read to keep them there with you. Ensure that your brand or message remains consistent throughout and one way to do that is through understanding colour psychology.

Studies have shown that our brains are generally more inclined to prefer recognizable brands, which makes colour incredibly important when creating a brand identity. Bolder suggestions that highlight the importance of new brands using the loco palette colours that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors have been made as well. Aside from simply standing out, surveys conducted have also shown that different genders are actually more receptive to certain colours. As such, you might want to consider doing a little bit of research yourself and recognizing which gender you would like to place greater emphasis on before choosing a colour scheme.

The general guideline is that men seem to prefer bold colours while women prefer softer colours. Also, men were more likely to select shades of colours as their favourites (colours with black added), whereas women were more receptive to tints of colours (colours with white added).

However, this differs from case to case and in different cultures as well. As such, the main takeaway is that colours play a greater role than you can ever imagine, so do not neglect its importance in the difference it can make in your presentation. Do a little more research on your own before you decide on your colour branding.

Organize Your Presentation

PowerPoint has multiple features that will allow you to reconsider the order of your slides and convey the essential information in the simplest way possible. Think of your presentation as an argument — it has to flow coherently so that your audience can follow through without feeling confused or overwhelmed.

The Slide Sorter View function is a great way for you to run through everything that you have on hand and decide the following things: whether there is any information you can afford to omit or have missed out, and how you can rearrange your information in a way that is smooth and easy to follow. Read through your slides again as if you were looking at them for the first time and read out the information as you would when presenting.

At the same time, pay attention to the details in your visuals and ensure that the alignment, colours, and fonts are consistent. The key is for the presentation to be informative but not overwhelming, and eye-catching but not to the point of it being distracting.

Logical Arrangement

To take it one step further, there is an art to how you should organize your material as well. Masterful presenters deliberately arrange their presentation in a specific order that motivates the audience to take action. Just like in an essay, your presentation should always be ordered in this format: problem, solution, and call-to-action.

Start with the problem by pointing out what your audience is currently facing without your product in the case of a sales pitch, then go on to present your product information as the solution.

You should be targeting their pain points; giving them reasons why they should hear you out and show them that you can make their lives better with your solution. In the last section, motivate them to take action by providing details on how they can do so, such as including the price of your product and a contact number they can reach to obtain any clarifications.

Lastly, to boost your overall credibility, it would be ideal to include good reviews that can serve as reliable testimonials and lock in your audience’s desire to do whatever it is you are encouraging.

Bonus: The Importance of Good Work Ethics

Creating your best PowerPoint presentation takes time and effort, and good work ethics serve as a guide in helping you achieve it. If you want a TLDR (too long; didn’t read) version of this article, read this section, as it serves as the foundation for what we’ve shared throughout. Think of it as three P’s: preparation, productivity, and priorities.

Preparation

We’ve seen clients attempt to rush out presentations last minute hoping to achieve miracles — some do, but many ultimately fall short of expectations. A compelling presentation doesn’t happen overnight; even we ourselves, after so many years of experience, cannot create one in such limited time.

This is why we emphasize the necessity of having good work ethics which helps to keep you grounded and focused on creating the best you can. Before you even begin developing your presentation, it is important to acknowledge that preparation is key to creating a compelling one.

Constantly remind yourself of this as you go along as if you try to ‘wing it’, you’ll find yourself producing lacklustre results that not only reflect badly on you but also on your organization.

Productivity

Regardless of why you’re creating this presentation, you’ll likely have other tasks on your plate. Managing your time is incredibly important, as it is easy to lose track of time and find yourself rushing through slides last minute. If you rarely do presentations or this is your first time, plan carefully the steps you’ll need to take. Decide how much time you can and should spend on each step, then start working on your presentation. Diving in without any planning in advance will cause you to waste time not really doing anything.

Priorities

Understanding what your priorities are for the presentation helps in increasing your productivity. For example, think of the standard your presentation must achieve before you can share it. Your utmost priority is to ensure that your presentation reaches that standard minimally. Even if things go wrong, having a presentation that is good enough is better than having none.

Conclusion

The making of a great PowerPoint presentation is not easy and we know that. We’ve worked on countless presentations over the years- yet from time to time, we still face difficulty in trying to present our clients’ materials in the best way possible. What helps us is a set of tried and tested methods that serve as our foundation, some of which we’ve shared with you today. The tips offered in this guide are not overly complicated and should be mastered so you can work towards creating your own set of compelling and effective slides. We believe that with practice, you too, can create your best PowerPoint presentation effortlessly. Good luck!

Powerful Sales Presentations: 7 Best Practices

Guy Kawasaki, an author and venture capitalist, once said, “Enchantment is the purest form of sales. Enchantment is all about changing people’s hearts, minds and actions because you provide them a vision or a way to do things better. The difference between enchantment and simple sales is that with enchantment you have the other person’s best interests at heart, too.”

A good sales presentation, otherwise known as a sales pitch, is often the distinguishing factor of a successful company that has all of its prospective buyers in the palm of its hand. In today’s rapidly changing market, where approximately 100 million new businesses are started every year by aspiring entrepreneurs with so much to offer, just staying afloat can be a struggle sometimes.

If what you’re looking for is a way to rise above the rest, help is here — because this article is going to teach you the art of delivering a stunning sales pitch.

How To Create Powerful Sales Presentations

If you’re just starting out, don’t worry, we’re going to tell you exactly what you need to do. Making your sales pitch compelling really isn’t rocket science, and it’s going to come naturally once you get the hang of it!

1. Understand Your Audience, Tailor Your Presentation

In most cases, you already know the group of people that you will be pitching to. Take advantage of that and spend some time learning about them: familiarize yourself with their backgrounds, read up on their industries, and get to know them a little better through checking their business websites or searching them online. For a small group of audience, you should be able to do more in-depth background research. However, this tip works even with a significantly larger group of people, even though you might not be able to probe as much. If possible, find out who your rival companies are and in your presentation, not only demonstrate how the product that you’re selling is perfect for people with their backgrounds, but also how it has a competitive edge over other companies. Your selling point should be focused on a specific feature that your audience can benefit from most.

2. Brevity is the Soul of Wit

The people listening to your sales pitch are likely to be those with authority, or have the power to influence the decision makers — which is why you’re pitching to them. Be mindful that these are people with busy schedules and are not new to sales pitches, so make a list of crucial information that would be essential in pushing your sale beforehand and adhere closely to it. Avoid going off-tangent or going to extreme lengths to try to impress them. Most importantly, always ask questions and address their specific concerns so that the entire interaction happens on a more intimate level. This makes for an effective sales presentation, as it reflects the notion that you understand your clients’ needs, and also enriches your personal learning experience. Always make sure you:

  1. Address how your product covers any specific needs that they have
  2. Acknowledge any reservations or doubts that they might have
  3. Accept their feedback if anything falls short and use that to fine-tune your product/presentation

3. Know When to be a Storyteller

Everybody loves a story — good stories, when told at the right situations, can evoke emotional responses from people. People are more engaged when they hear personal narratives as compared to a list of hard facts, because it allows them to connect with you on a more personal and meaningful level. It helps them see who you are beyond a salesman trying to get them to buy something from you; you have depth, history.

The fun part is, you get to choose how you want to incorporate the element of storytelling into your pitch! You can choose to deliver your presentation in the form of a story, or you can choose to build your product on a series of anecdotes, there are so many ways it can be done. Infuse humour whenever a window opens for it, and appeal to your audience through personal narrations.

Remember: Remind them that you’re so much more than just another salesman.

4. Remember the Power of Three

While it is tempting to pack all the benefits of your product into your slide deck, keep in mind that good sales presentations should never neglect the power of three:

  • Your pitch should contain no more than three big, central ideas
  • Each individual slide should contain no more than three pieces of information

It has been proven time and time again that there’s just something about the power of three — making three points — that really resonates with the human brain. Things that come in threes are just more satisfying, more memorable, and more effective. Any more than three, and you might find yourself losing the attention of your audience.

5. Include Relevant Examples, Evidence, and Data

All words and no proof makes your entire sales presentation weak and flimsy, so be sure to back up your claims with plenty of evidence. Include relevant examples and present your data in the form of charts or graphs, whichever would make them most easily comprehensible with one look. Additionally, instead of giving generic descriptions of what your product can do for your clients, provide specific examples of how your product has helped people of similar backgrounds achieve what they want.

Ideally, ask satisfied customers for referrals to other potential prospects. Referrals are more likely to end up in a sale as prior bridges have already been built, and nothing works better than the good old ethos.

6. Pursuing the Next Steps

Never be too eager to pressure potential clients into sealing any deals. Understand that they might still have some doubts, and be flexible with your options instead of rushing them straight into a commitment. Be open to offering alternatives such as free trials or demos, and let them know they can take a bit more time to consider the product because you truly have their interests at heart. As long as you are pursuing a next step together, it’s a win. Showing them that you genuinely believe in the product you are selling will also go a long way.

7. A Good Slogan Sticks for a Long Time

Last but not least, do your best to come up with a catchy slogan that is not only related to, but also reminiscent of your product. If you’ve ever had the experience of having a particular song or tune stuck in your head and finding yourself humming along without even realizing it, this is the exact same effect that a quality slogan can have. Impress your audience with an applaudable presentation, but make that impression a lasting one with a slogan that sticks in their heads and pops up when they’re not expecting it. Before you know it, you’ve already charmed your way into their hearts.

You’ll see that it’s not all that difficult to find your place in a market that never sleeps. Just remember, for a powerful sales presentation, make sure you:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Get to the point
  3. Be engaging
  4. Condense your information
  5. Include relevant evidence
  6. Pursue a further relationship
  7. End with a catchy slogan

All it takes is a little bit of practice and voila, watch as the magic happens. Good luck!

Why Not Every Presentation Should Be Like Steve Jobs’s

Many of us would agree that Steve Jobs’ presentations can be considered to have ‘legendary’ status. We’ve probably come across them in some way, either through watching Apple’s WWDC, or reading articles and books such as Carmine Gallo’s that was dedicated to discussing his speeches.

Ever since the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, the less-text, highly visual and ‘big picture’ style of presentations have grown in appeal to presenters from all walks of life. In fact, if you were to compare it to Bill Gates circa 2000, it would seem that Steve’s unorthodox approach to presentation visuals and their format was at odds with how the rest of the corporate world delivered their presentations at the time.

It stood out amongst text-heavy presentations that put people to sleep, gave audiences the breath of fresh air they needed to remain engaged, and enthralled many with the aesthetic presentation approach. This is why it is now the gold standard of an ideal keynote presentation.

But is that really the best?

Contrary to popular belief, this style of presenting may not always be the best catchall definition of an ‘effective’ presentation. Instead, presentations should be designed according to their contexts.

The problem is, most people tried to follow suit without understanding two things:

  1. Steve Jobs could get away with that style of presenting because he had the autonomy to do it.
  2. This format of presenting may be great for a keynote speech, but might not fit every setting.

Put it this way – if you had to speak to your company’s CEO and a five-year-old child about a topic, would you use the same tone towards both? Similarly, different presentation settings require different styles, and different audiences require different ways of reaching out to them. This is why a Steve Jobs, TED-style presentation will not work in a boardroom, and a text-heavy slide deck may not succeed at a conference.

Presentations that follow the style frequently used by Apple work best for on-stage presentations at large events such as WWDC or TED talks. These situations are occasions where visually impactful slides make a huge difference and help to bring across key messages quickly to numerous audience members in a short timeframe.

However, in boardroom meetings where critical decisions need to be made by the audience, such presentations may end up backfiring as they may seem fluffy and probably lack important information needed to support the decision-making process. Instead, the presentations have to go beyond inspiring audiences and should involve slightly text-heavy slides with fewer images.

In short – Just like how we dress appropriately for different social functions, presentations are most effective when they are designed with the audience and the context in mind. Touting one particular style of presenting as a catch-all method for various kinds of presentations might be a segue towards career suicide.

Regardless of whether you’re using PowerPoint or other presentation software, the principles tend to be the same – you need to cater your presentation towards the setting. We encourage learners in our presentation skills courses to always be aware of the context before developing their presentations.

So let’s talk about the five different styles of presentations you may encounter, and the best approach for each of them.

presentation matrix - HighSpark

The Presentation-type Matrix

1. Keynote Speeches

The typical objective of a keynote speech is to inspire and help the audience retain key points quickly. This is why the content generally focuses more on the “why” rather than the “what”; for example, in most TED talks, speakers pull together stories with the main take-home message that is both insightful and impactful. In these situations, the presentations generally involve fewer words, highly visual and meaningful images, and a couple of key points.

These speeches are commonly also littered with literary devices like analogies, quotes and other tools for presentations. Steve’s presentations are notorious for having lines like: “And one more thing…” and also anecdotes of how customers use Apple’s products.

A good example to check out would be organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s TED talk, ‘Are You a Giver or a Taker?’. He wove in various experiences from interactions with others into a narrative that highlighted his key message: Why helping others drives our success.

2. Marketing Presentations

Marketing decks are generally created with the aim of spreading awareness about a product, organization, or initiative, and hopefully, gain an initial buy-in, hence they’re shared across various platforms such as the internet or social media. One popular example would be SlideShare, a social platform that allows users to upload their presentations on the site.

Like many of the featured SlideShare presentations, the content of the presentation deck is generally structured in a narrative, with minimal text and visually impactful stock images and icons to sustain the interest of the readers.

The general rule of thumb here is that your digital presentations that need to stand alone should have just enough text for it to be consumable without a presenter to walk through it but at the same time brief enough to be skimmed through quickly. Steve Jobs was well-known to have his slides designed to be as brief as possible. The problem with this approach without a presenter is that the audience can’t make meaning from such presentations.

Remember, in the digital world, most of us have extremely short attention spans. Think of your marketing materials as a hook – provide just the right amount of information to arouse interest, so that the audience is motivated to find out more. If there are too many details, it is difficult for them to maintain interest.

3. Sales Decks

Like what its name suggests, sales decks are generally used by salespeople to present their product to a client, with the aim of closing a deal. Chances are, you’ve gotten a foot-in-the-door beforehand with your marketing materials and numerous follow-ups, so your audience already knows the big picture. Now that they’re in the buying-decision process, what they want are the key details.

Here, both information and visuals hold equal importance, as the audience needs to visualize in order to be persuaded. At the same time, details should be included to add credibility, and concrete case studies of the products will help to paint a clear picture in their mind on how they can benefit from what you’re offering.

There are three main pillars of a sales presentation: Problems, Solutions, and Benefits. You need to show your audience that you understand the problems that they’re facing, how you can be their solution, and what are the benefits of choosing you instead of your competitors or sticking to the status quo. So when you meet your prospect for the first time, command their attention by addressing their key challenges, before ever talking about the solutions you offer.

In these presentations, technical aspects and details of your solutions are not required during the first stage of discussion. Instead, leave them until the end, when your audience is at least half-invested in what you’re offering. Unlike a ‘Steve Jobs style’ presentation where you speak about most topics at a high-level, sales presentations sometimes require you to get into the nitty gritty of your solutions.

Auston case study highspark presentation design

Example: Auston Institute Sales Presentation

4. Internal Review Presentations

Mostly used in corporate settings, the main objective of an internal review is usually to align goals amongst the stakeholders and propose areas for further improvements. This is where slapping an image onto a slide without any text just won’t cut it – details are key in this situation.

This can be said to be a polar opposite of Steve’s style of presenting. In many companies, especially larger firms, gathering stakeholders can be a challenge, and not everyone may be able to turn up for the meeting, increasing the likelihood of the presentation deck being disseminated after the meeting. Without sufficient details, the reader will not be able to understand, hence rendering the deck useless. If you try sending something out of Steve Jobs’ presentation during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, it’s likely you’ll get a mouthful from your boss and colleagues.

In this case, information including ‘Why’, ‘What’, ‘Who’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, and ‘How’ are extremely important, and should be presented in order for stakeholders to make a decision.

This doesn’t mean that your slides have to look wordy and cluttered – your content can be arranged in a fashion that draws your audience’s attention to the key message, and be designed with visuals that add value to the communication of the content.

Internal reviews might not always look pretty, but they need to first and foremost ‘work’.

5. Investor Decks

This is more relevant for startups and new companies on the rise. To reach into the deep pockets of your potential investors, you have to be extremely clear and specific about your strategy to be a highly profitable and successful company. Details need to be shown to give the investors confidence in both your idea and your team.

However, many investor pitch decks (notably the public ones during Demo Day) are required to be delivered in 5-7 minutes. This is why you’ll need to keep your text minimal to allow them to focus on the key message of your pitch. At the same time, every important detail must be shared and highlighted.

So think of it as an elevator pitch – if you only had a minute to convince someone to buy into your idea, what would you say? That’s where your key message lies. When in doubt, have a look at some of the successful pitch deck examples online and you’ll get a good sensing of what’s required.

This is why (similar to keynote speeches) investor decks include fewer words and more images. The emphasis is on getting your audience to see your vision, and envision the same things you want to achieve. The only caveat is if you need this investor presentation to be read by others – then you might need a separate version to stand on its own. In some instances, Steve’s style might work on Demo Day, however in closed doors situations, you might want a little more data on your slide to back you up and support your pointers.

There you have it, five types of presentations for different situations apart from the Steve Jobs ‘TED style presentations’. Remember that those techniques we highlighted above aren’t always the gold standard, you’ll need to apply them correctly for it to be effective.

For your next presentation, keep your audience and purpose of the deck in mind. From there, you can figure out the appropriate style, and apply the right balance of text and images.

Have fun and all the best!

Psst – Which of these styles work best for your presentations? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Awesome Branding Tools for Killer Presentations

You know you have to give a presentation. You cringe just thinking about it. Between coming up with a unique way to present your information, engaging your audience, and keeping yourself engaged, it’s enough to make you scream. Not to mention that sometimes all the knowledge you’ve garnered from presentation courses previously might seem to not give you enough of an edge in such circumstances.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can supplement your presentation with various branding tools to make it more exciting for both you and the audience.

After all, the whole point is to make sure the audience learns and retains the information you present to them.

Furthermore, these branding tools are very useful if you want to build a strong brand identity. These tools are an extremely important factor since it can help build your reputation, make you stand out from your competition and project your values and unique selling propositions (USPs) which help to attract future prospects.

Hence, check out these 5 branding tools to give your presentation a boost!

1. Video

A great way to open your presentation is with a video, and you can use it to introduce the audience to your brand. Include your logo at both the beginning and end, and incorporate your color scheme and typography throughout.

Do keep it short, as you still have a presentation that will follow up. You can consider using catchy music to keep the audience engaged. In addition, include imagery that illustrates the points you plan to discuss and appeals to the audience in a way a simple slideshow might not. This will help you build an emotional bond with them. If you aren’t confident in your ability to make a high-quality clip, work with an expert to edit your video and add other post-production elements to make it stand out.

2. Slideshow

Just like the video, you should design your slideshow to match your branding, including colors, typography, imagery, and logos. Keep your presentation to three key points so that it doesn’t become too lengthy, and your audience will have an easier time remembering your topics.

Remember, the slideshow is a supplement of your presentation, so do not read directly from the slides. This will put your audience on the fast track towards boredom (you may even see them fall asleep)! Instead of using it as a substitute for your notes, the slideshow should help tell your story or highlight facts and figures. Be creative and keep it simple.

3. Brochures and Infographics

It’s easy to direct the audience to your website and social media, but it’ll be good to send them home with something too. A professionally designed brochure will help build credibility with your audience and illustrate your key points. Be sure to use images and charts to break up the text and make it easier to follow.

Your brochure should pique audience members’ interest in your products or services. It also has a longer shelf life than the other elements of your presentation as the audience can take it home and use it as reference material. Leave a few extra behind for people who might have missed the presentation.

Alternatively, if you prefer keeping things digital, you can create an infographic that the audience can refer to after the presentation has ended. A good infographic design should contain the main elements of your presentation or summarize the information in key points. You can distribute it via email if your audience registered their attendance, or place a link to it in your slides.

4. Mascot

Another way to get the audience’s attention is to bring along a mascot. Of course, this does not work for every business and is more effective for industries that are less serious. However, if your brand allows for it, a professional in a fun, colorful suit is a great way to get audiences excited.

A mascot will not only break up the monotony of your presentation, it’ll also help create more brand awareness. You’ll probably want to wait till you approach the end of your presentation to bring out the mascot, and make sure it can help illustrate one of your key points. Otherwise, it could be more of a distraction and end up backfiring.

Mascots add a fun element to your presentation while making your brand as a whole more personable. The audience can hang around after the presentation for photos with the mascot, which could create a buzz on social media and get you more followers.

5. Prizes

An effective way to engage your audience is to have a competition with the promise of prizes at the end. Create a three-question quiz to reward the people who paid attention. Alternatively, include a few special Easter Eggs throughout your slides that audience members can keep a lookout for, and award prizes at the end. You could even have your mascot hand them out!

As for the prizes themselves, this is where your brand comes in. Giving out items such as custom T-shirts, tote bags and keychains with your logo and colors on them will build more brand awareness when the winners take your swag out and put it to use. You can also include gift cards or coupons for your products or services. 

Developing a presentation can be rough. You want to make sure your audiences walk away with more knowledge about your products or services and hope that they are as excited about it as you are.

Coming up with ways to get your points across and integrate your brand without giving the impression of a sleazy salesman is the hardest part. Using some of these tools will help you create an exciting experience for your audience, and make you feel like you’ve knocked it out of the park.

Do you have other cool branding tools to boost your presentations? Let us know what they are in the comments below!