For more than two decades it has been a term synonymous with meetings, lectures, speeches, and presentations. PowerPoint, a Microsoft Office software program, is utilized to back-up, enhance or complement oral presentations in groups settings. There are more than 500 million PowerPoint users using the software program to create 30 million presentations every day, and over six million teachers use the program to connect with students each day. It is difficult to imagine a meeting or presentation without the expectation of being confronted with a PowerPoint demonstration.
The popularity of the program may be its biggest negative. With so much pre-exposure, designing an effective PowerPoint presentation can be daunting and time consuming. Pre-formatted templates make creating a PowerPoint presentation easier but more challenging to overcome the audience’s “been here before” reaction. Comparisons to previous presentations from the outset can be damaging to your message, particularly if the former program was poorly designed and received.
Presenting a consistent experience across all marketing collateral is critical to creating and supporting a brand’s value. “It’s important to remember that at each touch point with your customer, the quality of performance and credibility of your message is on display for all to see,” says Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction). “Making a first impression has always been a key factor in grabbing attention and building a credible rapport with an audience, but creating effective, memorable, and credible presentations that resonate with your audience will ensure your message is effectively received and more likely acted upon.
First and foremost, keep it simple. Less often equals more. Use the PowerPoint to complement the speaker’s oral message. Never talk to the screen. Use the visual element to complement and support the talking points. Listeners will identify and connect more readily to the personality of the presenter than a video, slide, or infographic. Research reveals that a video or slide is most effective when the speaker references the visual in support of an oral argument. “Dual coding of information,” or using two different streams of information, increases the chances of retention and recall.
While different methods and approaches do not always create the same results, creative licence taken in the development of a PowerPoint usually results in a more successful experience for the speaker and the audience. Newer versions of PowerPoint allow the designer to utilize increased font types and sizes, with bolder and dual colour options that stand out on the screen. The addition of 3D gives depth to a presentation and, no pun intended, gives another dimension to graphics and printed content. The ability to deviate from geometric designs and venture into fluid shapes allows the presentation to stand out and be more visually interesting.
It is thought to be best to use more photos, videos, and infographics than written content. Place less information on each slide, offer 20 slides or less, and limit the number of words to describe only the most important information you want to impart. Too much detailed information will confuse and tire the listener. Detailed, supporting information can be presented better in a carry-away format. Be concise. The average presentation runs more than 25 minutes, but any presentation that runs longer than the attention and interest of an audience is too long and becomes ineffective with each passing second. The best PowerPoint presentations should not be the main focus of the listeners, but rather should support the presenter’s message.
Practice makes perfect and rehearsing a presentation will improve its effectiveness, timeliness, and enhance a speaker’s credibility. Unforced errors are unforgivable and unforgettable in any presentation.
If you are looking for assistance driving visibility with your audience, Junction will execute against your design and marketing goals and objectives. Learn more at Junction Creative Solutions or call 678-686-1125.