The key to effective presentation design is the key to a great life: Questioning everything. Below are 5 questions for your PowerPoint.
1 – Why am I Doing This?
Are you selling an awesome idea? Educating employees? Trying to get matches on Tinder? Whatever you’re doing, focus on that one thing.
Let’s say you’re trying to sell a new product to potential investors. It’s a tent that sets itself up and packs itself away. To sell your tent, make them see it as a must-have for the next time they go camping. Don’t show slides saying how great your company is, and never boast about its brilliant design. To put it politely, they don’t give a toss. Instead, show them someone struggling to set up a tent in the dark. Tell them you know what a pain it is. Now show them your tent in action. Let it speak for itself. Ask them what they’d do with the extra time.
When you outline the focus of your presentation, you halve your workload and double your chance of success. It’s essential to effective presentation design. Of course, your focus depends on your audience. That means your next question should be…
2 – Who am I Showing This to?
What excites them? What will they be day-dreaming about during your presentation? If you want to speak to your audience, you have to know them. To know them, talk to them. Ask if there were any presentations that didn’t send them to sleep. After all, the secret to effective presentation design is knowing what’s effective.
A good tip to simplify this is to think of your audience as one person. That’ll end the pressure of pleasing a crowd, and make it easier to personalise your message. Once you know who that one person, you’ve got to ask…
3 – What’s in it For Them?
Unless they paid to see your presentation, they probably don’t want to watch it. If so, you need to stress what’s in it for them if they pay attention. Let’s say you have to teach employees how to safely use a new piece of equipment. You probably care about hitting KPI’s for safety awareness. They don’t. You know what they do care about? Getting home to their loved ones in one piece. So use that. Tell them they might not make it home if they don’t listen to this.
Now that you’ve got their attention, you need to keep it. That’s when you need to ask yourself…
4 – Is this Clear?
Look at this original Jackson Pollock:
Oh wait, that’s an actual PowerPoint slide commissioned by The Pentagon. I guess taxpayer dollars don’t cover effective presentation design. Anyway, this would have worked much better across a hundred slides instead of being crammed into one.
Now consider your slides. Do any of them look like this? If they do, cut them down. Spread them out, and keep text to a minimum. Where you can, use images instead of words. For more information on this, have a quick read of our post on Bringing Simplicity to your PowerPoint Presentations.
So you’ve thought of your audience, kept things simple, and crafted a compelling presentation. You’re not out of the woods yet. Now you’ve got to ask…
5 – What Will They Ask Me?
If you’re presenting to an audience, you’ve got to leave time for questions. Since you can’t avoid them, you’ve got to prepare for them. If you write potential questions down, it’ll get you ready for them at the end. This also helps you know what you’ve left out of your presentation.
Is There a Shortcut to Effective Presentation Design?