Five tips on elevating your presentation design to the next level
Business all around the world has adopted PowerPoint presentation as the go-to form of storytelling for over 25 years. That being said, the use of presentation to capture the listener's focus is an art over 3000 years old.
The great Greek philosopher Aristotle divided the modes of persuasion to convince any audience into three categories called, Ethos (The ethical appeal), Pathos (The emotional appeal), and Logos (The logical appeal).
According to Arristotle, Pathos is basically the tools at your arsenal that can be used to appeal to the emotions of an audience. And even in modern day, most investors usually go with their gut, making pathos the ideal tool to drive success. According to studies, the ones using their intuitions are about 20% more accurate than those using only analysis. And emotion has the power to help your audience resonate with their GUT feeling.
Pathos is associated with emotional appeals like fear, guilt or anger that can significantly impact the audience retention rate. Harnessing the power of pathos with the combination of text and visuals can increase the retention rates by a massive 65%.
We focus specifically on Pathos, taking audiences on a moving journey and making YOU their emotional rescue. Considering that 50% of presentation information is forgotten within an hour, tapping into people's feelings is crucial to ensure information retention.
In an era where people's attention span is decreasing exponentially, holding their attention and convincing them with your words and design can be tricky.
To make your presntation even mnore effective, here are the top five tips that will elevate your presentation design to get a more effective result every time.
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Less is more
When it comes to offering an excellent PowerPoint experience, size matters, but that does not mean you will jump on the first chance you get to overcrowd a page. Find the right balance between the perfect size that is not over the top and a size that will hold the attention with visual elements.
If you are still confused about it, just follow the general rule of thumb, which is to take five steps back from your laptop screen and see if the contents are still comprehensible. If not, you'll probably lose the audience in the room when it's on the big screen.
Too many words overwhelms and frustrates people, instead influence visually and efficiently.
Too many words overwhelms and frustrates people, instead influence visually.
"Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict."
Think of your presentation as an epic movie
Your presentation should be more like a movie that your audience can be emotionally hooked on instead of a pile of stats. Try to think of your presentation as a journey of a Hero. And just like every movie, there will be ups, downs, and, more importantly, conflict.
According to the famous Hollywood screenwriting guru Robert McKee, "Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict."
So instead of simply packing your presentation with positive information, try to create internal conflict within the audience's mind. This will allow them to feel the weight of the problem on their shoulder and look for a solution from you. Try tugging on the heartstrings of the viewer and getting them hooked.
And right when they start to resonate with the conflict, offer them a solution just like we see the happy ending to a great movie.
Make your hero slides stand out
Not all slides are ever created equal. In order to spread your message and your vision, there must always be hero slides. So, the idea is to provide your hero slides with a distinctive design treatment that differs from all the others.
Build impact around these slides. It would be best if you also thought of the pace and rhythm- like any good song, there is a verse, bridge, then chorus.
Like any good song, there is a verse, bridge, then chorus.
It's all about juxtaposition
Structure is good, but repetition can be overkill
The last thing someone wants to experience in a presentation is repetitive content. And that is precisely where embracing colors and contrast come into play. If you want to get your point across quickly, then having a good balance between color, photography, icons, simple columns of text information.
One of the biggest mistakes is filling up every white space with images and words. Know that it's okay to have some breathing pages- where simple is best. It's all about juxtaposition.
Help the audience to retain your key message
We always advise our clients to share a digital one-pager summary at the end of the presentation with key points highlighted as a takeaway.
Information retention is the most significant element of an effective presentation design. According to various studies done on this topic, we can see that after the initial 10 minutes of a presentation ending, only 50% of the audience will remember what was said. A mere 24 hours later, that number drops to 25%.
Like a tower of playing cards stacked one on top of another, in a presentation, every new point strains your audience's memory. And unless we summarize everything at the end, the audience will be unable to remember your presentation for a significant amount of time.
Also, fun fact- the ideal ted talk is around 18 mins long. So do not stretch your presentation more than it needs to.
Like a tower of playing cards stacked one on top of another, in a presentation, every new point strains your audience's memory.
4 quick tips to craft an impactful presentation
90% of the success of your presentation lies in the content crafting phase.
From our years of research, we can now safely say that humans are wired to listen to stories. That being said, to build an impactful presentation, you need to take your audience on a journey rather than simply telling a story.
When you take your audience on a journey, some of the most significant decisions you have to make are,
Where to start
Where to focus
Where to end it.
Finding the answer to these three questions can be the difference between a mediocre presentation and an impactful presentation that will make your audience see the world in a different way afterward.
With that in mind, let us dive right in and absorb the top tips on building an impactful presentation.
Audience focused presenting
Start with a hook
First 45 seconds matter
Structure it using the rule of three
Audience focused presenting
Over 70% of the audience’s frustration was that the speakers were spending more time reading the slides rather than spending time on engagement. Remember that you are the presentation, not the slide itself.
We break down the audience-focused presentation into three steps:
1. Profiling your audience
When it comes to a good presentation, you have to be proactive. Understand that the story you are presenting is not for yourself but your audience. Keeping that in mind, you must profile, study, and understand your audience so you can resonate with their needs and interests.
2. Structuring your message
As a presenter, you do not want information all over the place. Structuring your message helps you better interact with your audience, build a momentary relationship with them and improve their ability to dissect complex topics.
Moreover, this step also allows you to take a step away from the chaos of fast thinking and help you structure your messages for a more meaningful and simplistic result.
3. Design Visual Aids
The third and final step of this methodology is designing visual aids. Taking this step will create a better impact on your audience and increase the credibility of your message. Moreover, you will be able to deliver more information in a shorter amount of time, which is vital in today's presentation norm.
Profile your audience
Structure your messages
Design your visual aids
Every successful presentation starts with a hook that engages your audience from the beginning. One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is starting with a:
Slowly working towards the details/ facts of the topic
Finally finishing it up with the key message.
This might be an effective approach if you’re writing a book. However, for a presentation where every second matters, this is a complete NO-NO.
Instead, switch up the presentation approach and present the essential message of the presentation in the form of a catchy hook. This gives the audience a reason to stay hooked to your story and hold their attention.
Hook them in with the hero message
Add in supporting details/ facts to further convince the audience
Finally include any general information and end it repeating the hero message once again.
The first 45 seconds matter
When it comes to presentation, every second counts, especially the first 45. An audience will make up their mind about whether or not they want to invest their attention and time listening to what you have to say in the first 45 seconds. And the first impression you make during that timeline, will last well beyond the whole presentation due to the Primacy effect.
By getting the beginning just right, you get the opportunity to curve the pathway that leads to a successful and attention-grabbing storytelling session.
Get creative with your introduction by using one of the following,
Hola? Ni hao?
My name is...
Structure your presentation in a 3-stage format
Free-flowing your data in a presentation sometimes seems acceptable, as your audience will have the same time to absorb every piece of information. However, in practice, that is usually not true.
The human mind accepts information better if they are given in chunks. That is why it is highly advised to structure your presentation in 3 separate stages. This will ensure your story has a good flow that the audience can easily follow and digest.
In stage one, begin your story with a hook and offer supporting information to the message you want to showcase.
Use a relevant jump to your 2nd stage using data from your 1st theme.
And finally, move on to your 3rd and final theme to finish your presentation with an impactful explanation along with information to support all three messages.
Depending on your topic, you might have less thee three stages for your presentation. However, three is the maximum stage we recommend regardless of the focus topic of your presentation.
In order to maximize the potential of your presentation, you must follow an audience-focused approach before the craft.
Get creative with your greeting and grab the audience's attention within the first 45 seconds.
Quickly follow with a hook to keep them engaged.
Divide your whole story into three separate themes
Finally offer a concise recap and conclusion to hammer in the key message.