In business, PowerPoint presentations are a common occurrence. Although PowerPoint presentations are not necessarily the best, most effective form of business presentations, they do lend a lot of valuable benefits. Mainly, the flexibility, ease, and speed with which a business PowerPoint presentation can be generated and shared are probably the most notable strengths.
Plan for Success with Your Business Presentations
When planning a business PowerPoint presentation, remember that first and foremost, no matter what kind of business presentation you may be giving (PowerPoint or for example, white board, story board, or flip chart presentations…) you must be prepared. Remember that in business, every thing you do involves selling – and that certainly applies when giving a business PowerPoint presentation.
You are selling your product, service, or a concept, to your staff, executives, prospective or existing clients. No matter what you are presenting, the purpose of your presentation is to get agreement and inspire action from your audience – sales in other words – even if your PowerPoint presentation is for a Fire Safety seminar required by the local or state ordinances. So, no matter what you are “selling” or presenting, you must know your material. People will simply not buy off on what you have to say if it becomes clear and obvious that you are not knowledgeable in the area you are presenting; and trust me, if you don’t know, they will know.
Being prepared of course means knowing your material, but it also applies to planning your PowerPoint presentation thoroughly. So, assuming you know your stuff, be sure to set aside time to handle the nuts and bolts of your business presentation. This means organizing your material, designing your slides, and another very important step: Practice!
Practice Makes Perfect
Think of giving a PowerPoint presentation as a kind of performance. You will be on stage, with all eyeballs focused on you. You don’t want to walk out on stage and falter, stumble, or lose your place.
Being an expert is not enough. You have to know the flow and structure of your presentation, and you must rehearse (or practice) it. And that does not mean sitting in your cubicle reading and memorizing your business presentation. It means standing in front of a mirror, or colleagues, or spouse, or 12 year old kids, and giving the presentation out loud, as many times as it takes to get it right. This is what actors and actresses do, and this is what good, effective business PowerPoint presenters do, prior to a “performance.”
Business PowerPoint Tips
Having covered your foundation, i.e. knowing your material and being prepared, here are a few practical guidelines for preparing a business PowerPoint presentation.
1. Keep it Simple
If you are new to giving PowerPoint presentations, just know this: There is no need to create a graphic design masterpiece, or to make this into rocket science. In fact, the more complex you try to be, likely the more bored your audience will be.
2. Avoid the “Sea Of Text” Syndrome
As I have stated in other articles, people think in images (pictures) not words. This is especially important when doing PowerPoint presentations, business or otherwise. Too much text just overwhelms the eyes and is difficult to process.
3. Use Easy to Read Titles and Captions
When using text, make sure it is done right. That means making titles, headings, and captions easy to read. Avoid overly “fancy” fonts, and always make your text and background contrasting colors.
4. Use Images and Graphics Generously
The converse of what I said above about too much text; there can never be too many images in your PowerPoint presentation, as long as they have a relevant purpose and function within the broad message you are trying to convey. So use relevant images and graphics generously. This engages the audience, keeps them interested and focused, which means they will be less likely to drift off during your business presentation.
5. Don’t Over-Do It
Remember to limit your slides. That is, often when giving business presentations, less is more. Certainly make sure you have enough PowerPoint slides to cover each relevant point as you work through your business presentation – but not more than you need. Having too many slides may cause you to have to “rush” through them as you speak, which is confusing visually. Or, it may mean a longer presentation than everyone planned for, and under those circumstances, keeping your audience engaged becomes even more challenging then it already is.