Presentations are often an oft-ignored skill within the corporate world, yet we need them constantly. Whether for a job interview, sales pitch, or keynote speech, the ability to deliver a strong presentation is vital throughout our careers. The beauty of presentations is that they borrow from different skillsets and disciplines to create something engaging – such as script writing, animation, public speaking, and more.

We’ve written volumes of the value of presentation design and execution, about PowerPoint’s place as the software for presentation creation and its value in the wider communications world. This time, I’d like to offer five quick tips for improving your next business presentation, whether that be for your employer, your staff, a current or potential client.

1. Write it Out

Even the most adept public speakers still plan out their presentations. Winging it only works when the content is essentially ingrained into your memory; and even then, I hope you at least wrote out a basic structure for your presentation or prepared some notes beforehand.

Prior to writing your presentation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do long do you have for the presentation? (This is vital as it will dictate just how much detail you can give and how attentive your audience will be)
  • Who is your audience? (There’s a distinct difference in tone and delivery when presenting to an investor, a subordinate, a superior, or a potential client)
  • What is the purpose of your presentation? (Forget messaging; what action do you want to evoke from your audience)?
  • What are the key things you want your audience to take away from your presentation?

While the last two points may seem similar, the first is about action and the second is about thought. From here you can create a simple outline of your presentation, even if they’re simply bulletpoints addressing those previous questions.

2. Keep it Short and Simple

Often when we’re approached to put together a presentation, our team are constantly scaling down the number of elements onscreen or begging clients to simplify their ideas to a few basic dot points. People (myself included) tend to struggle when asked to condense their ideas or expressions.

It’s human nature to overexplain because we assume the listener is clueless and we also fear the sound of silence, particularly when we’re presenting to audiences. There is no need to overexplain something – it’s more important that you can boil down your ideas into something more digestible, which is where the value of visual aids comes in. Speaking of which…

3. Use PowerPoint to Support Your Argument (Not Make It)

It’s painful seeing presenters use their PowerPoint slideshow as a crutch – relying on bulletpoints and pretty pictures instead of quality content and a well-prepared presentation.

Visual aids are supposed to reinforce a presenter’s message rather than directly convey it. A well-designed PowerPoint presentation can transform a dull talk into a memorable experience so long as the presenter isn’t simply reading off their slides.

A good PowerPoint slideshow should condense your complex ideas into something more easily interpreted, or highlight some of your more salient points with infographics, diagrams, photos, and charts. Your slides should enhance your messaging or convey something better seen than said.

4. Make it Multimedia

Unless you’re a stand-up comedian, your audience will appreciate a multimedia experience during your presentation. PowerPoint provides a complete multimedia-design program for creating slides with animation, graphic design, and interactivity. These features help break up a presentation’s monotony, gives the presenter a break, and creates audience engagement.

As before, let your multimedia file support your idea rather than steal your limelight. Any video or audio clip you choose to play during your presentation should only be used to further illustrate your point, and only if it’s more effective at doing so than you are.

5. Seek Expert Help

Before you’ve put together your presentation, it won’t hurt looking to other experts in that field to see how they captivate audiences. However, remember not all experts are necessarily gifted presenters too. Sure, many of the best presentations come from people who understand and are passionate about the content, but they’re not always the best orators or know how to properly design a captivating presentation – whether it’s for staff, customers, or suppliers.

Our team at Synapsis Creative understand the various design and creative elements that go into making an engaging content. From initial planning, script writing, and story boarding all the way to animation, interactivity, and adapting for webinar – we can help you establish or evolve your communications for any audience or platform.

Need to liven up your PowerPoint presentation’s design? Try our free PowerPoint template collection so you can simply import your content, edit at will, and visualise your ideas easily. Download your free template here