The ability to make figures visual is the mark of a good presentation. But there are some pitfalls that need to be avoided here. Read on to find out more.
In a recent blog post, we described how important presentations are in anchoring a brand in employees’ hearts and minds. A little while ago, I had an interesting conversation with the head of communications at a not-so-small business. She told me that PowerPoint was the reason the brand was having trouble really taking off inside the company. Which only demonstrates once again that, like it or not, you should never underestimate the power of PowerPoint.
What is it that actually makes a presentation compelling? We already asked ourselves this question many years ago (and continue to ask it). It essentially comes down to just a few criteria, which we’ve summarized into what we call the OSCAR Principle. If your presentation meets these five criteria, it’s likely to receive an OSCAR nomination – and get you the desired results.
In this post, we’d like to take another look at the role of presentations in company internal communications. For indeed, more presentations are held internally than externally. Think of decision documents, projects, review meetings, sales conferences, departmental meetings, and a dozen other occasions. And here’s a small word that tells you something about their ascribed level of importance. That word is ‘only’. It is ‘only’ for internal purposes. ‘Only’ for co-workers. ‘Only’ for an info-update briefing...
When it comes to presentations, there’s what you can be classified as routine craftsmanship and there’s rousing, passionate freestyle brand management. This includes company presentations as well as canvassing or sales appointments, results and project presentations or speeches and lectures.
Heard of Nicolas Boileau? Don’t worry if you haven’t. It’s just remarkable that this 17th century French author made an observation that provides the key to a good PowerPoint slide title: ‘What is well conceived well is clearly expressed’. Clear, well-phrased titles attune your audience to the content and purpose of each slide, providing rapid orientation and keeping them focused on your presentation. And there’s a useful side effect: when you’re done, you really do know what you want to say!
At some point, you may want to hand out your presentation: in paper form or perhaps electronically. This may sound simple, but there are a few things you should consider first. In our experience, there’s more to this than simply clicking ‘print’ or ‘attach file’. Why? As is so often the case – the devil is in the detail.
Have you read our previous blog on the subject of orientation, explaining that your audience members need orientation and security before they can give you their full attention? Then you are already well informed about the ‘receiving end’. But what about you, the speaker? In order to give a good presentation, you too need security and orientation before you begin.
You want to give a good presentation that holds your audience’s attention right to the end? One that creates enthusiasm for your topic? And for you as the speaker? Your presentation concept is the key. Based on your target group, aims and central message, and taking into account the time available, you need to create a clear structure with a golden thread running through it.
What does Twitter have to do with your PowerPoint slides? Can you learn about effective communication from Twitter? Yes, you can. Twitter has just about perfected the art of brevity. And your perfect slide convinces by being succinct and to the point. How does it work? With the Twitter transfer:
How much can you squeeze onto a slide? You’ve collated so much information and material, that it’s difficult to decide. In the process, you can easily overlook the fact that it’s not about cramming as much information onto the slide as possible, but about making a clear statement.
You have data in Excel that you could use to make many different points. Which are important? Let’s take as an example the turnover figures of a nationally operating company over a number of years.
Sound familiar? You have piles of data, most of it in Excel, and are trying to work out how best to get it onto a PowerPoint slide. The simplest way is ‘copy and paste’. But it’s certainly not the best way. Large amounts of data are often confusing, because it’s hard to single out what really matters.
For your presentation to appear harmonious and professional, all elements should be properly aligned. Not just on one slide, but across all slides in the presentation. There are two things that make this easier: layout grids and PowerPoint guides.
You know the feeling? You’re sitting in a meeting and the presentation is good as far as its content goes, but it’s somehow not very convincing. There is usually a very trivial reason for this: the individual elements of the presentation don’t match, each slide looks different, and some slides have obviously been recycled from other presentations. In short: the presentation doesn’t have a unified look.