How did your last presentation go? Was it fine? Just fine? You’re fairly sure you got your message across, but maybe you’re not totally sure. It could have been better.
Let’s not settle for “fine.” Presentations are powerful messaging opportunities, and you only get one shot at this at whatever event or training opportunity you’re presenting at. As marketers, we know this, and presentations are an important part of our content strategies. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of B2B marketers surveyed said that they used in-person events as a content marketing tactic. And 75% of that group surveyed said it was the most important tactic—and they’re on to something.
The popularity of TED Talks is a perfect example of the potential inherent in the presentation format, and what kind of reach and impact you can achieve when you have cohesive visuals that enhance and complement your message.
For instance, check out David McCandless’ 2010 TED Talk, “The beauty of data visualization.”
Notice how impactful the visuals are when those complex data points are given a makeover. More importantly, notice how his conversation about the data drives their meaning home, and how the clever use of a memorable idiom paired with a visually interesting graph sticks in your mind after watching. His use of color is particularly notable—adding color to technical documents, for instance, increases recall of that content by up to 82%.
A well-developed presentation can become an experience that moves audiences to pay attention, to learn, and then, to act on the knowledge gained. Whether it’s presenting one-on-one to a client or at a large conference, this is what we want them to do—make an impact! So, how can you elevate your next speaking event from “fine” into knocking it out of the park?
One way? Don’t go it alone. We sat down with a few of our presentation designers to talk about the value-add of bringing in a pro and to explore some of the methodology behind this magic. Here’s what they shared.
Start with a Presentation Designer
Work with a skilled presentation designer and you’ll discover there’s more to what they do than just making you a nice PowerPoint template. They’re the difference between a “fine” PowerPoint deck and a presentation that helps you deliver that impactful, meaningful experience to your attendees.
A skilled presentation designer is a designer and a presentation expert rolled into one awesome package. By putting your presentation into their hands, you can focus on your message—they’ve got your visuals and design covered. They also have the technical skills to take care of things such as setting up your PowerPoint’s template for optimal functionality; especially when it comes to making the inevitable last minute edits.
In short, presentation designers are a technical and creative resource that can be utilized at any stage of the presentation development process. Maybe you just need your graphics cleaned up a bit. Maybe you need help organizing the flow of your ideas. Or maybe you need help building a presentation from the ground up. No matter where you’re at in the process, a good presentation designer can be flexible and jump in when you need them.
Ask the Right Questions
When developing a presentation, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of what you want to say. It’s important to take a step back and ask simple, but essential questions that a presentation designer can guide you through, such as:
“What am I trying to convey?”
More importantly, what do you really need to accomplish that goal? One thing you don’t need, for instance, is a duplication of your spoken content onto the page. Let the slides support the message—not be the message.
“How do I express this concept visually?”
A visual aid for your message should align with the overall design and, as we mentioned above, provide you with a strong supporting piece that resonates with the audience. A companion question would be, how do you want your audience to feel when they see it?
“Does this content add anything to the presentation?”
Is it necessary, or is it just taking up space? If you have to show complex graphs to convey a trend, as McCandless did, make sure it’s clear that’s what your focal point is, so the audience isn’t overwhelmed with all of that data and fine print they don’t need to worry about.
Activate Your Audience
You’re an awesome orator, and you know what you want to say. You just need help making your PowerPoint look sleek and professional. Everything else will take care of itself when you present, right? Wrong. Performance is important, but performance alone doesn’t guarantee that your audience will walk away from your event engaged and ready to act. An effective presentation experience requires well-thought out content, visuals, and design—not just a sleek look.
A presentation designer embodies that mixture of content and visual design for the sole purpose of presentations. “We are valuable because we’re not siloed into one area,” said Amanda Bridges, Event Planner and Presentation Specialist here at Brella. “We understand how design works to make the message stand out and how the message impacts the design. You may not get the same thing from someone who is primarily a speech writer or someone who is primarily a designer, because they know their specific craft—presentation designers understand how to bring the two together.”
Knowing how these elements support one another is the key to engaging your audience and being heard.
Change Your Mindset, Improve Your Impact
An awesome PowerPoint template doesn’t make an impact alone—great presentation experiences do. Work with a presentation designer and you’ll forever change your approach to presentations. They can be the creative spark that improves your audience reach and your impact.