Slide presentations are one of the most effective formats for delivering keynotes, sales propositions and other business-related communications. In the B2B environment, knowing how to create and deliver a slide presentation is a must-have skill.
However, there is still a huge difference between good presentations and successful ones. A good presentation complies with some basic best practices, but misses the key point. A successful presentation is persuasive, has the right mix of information, great design and visual elements. And, last but not least, it is accompanied by a smart, on-point verbal presentation.
For any person in a decision-making position, the prospect of sitting through 15 or 20 slides is met with cautious enthusiasm. This could be a great presentation for a product or service they truly need for their business, or a pointless loss of their valuable time.
You should do whatever you can to turn your presentation into the former type for your potential audience. Here are some key elements for a successful slide presentation.
- One Bullet Point – One Idea
Bullet points are not the slide equivalent of paragraphs. You should focus on one single idea in each bullet point, and explain it in as few words as possible. Whatever you want to express apart from this core explanation, save it for your voiceover or in-person presentation.
The purpose of your slides is to give people the information they need in the most concise and self-explanatory form.
- Avoid “Fancy” Slide Transition Effects
You can fade in, fade out, swipe vertically or horizontally…but it does not mean that you should use any of these transition effects. You are not about to amaze your high school teacher with your PowerPoint design skills. There is nothing professional in these disconcerting graphic effects. If anything, they will distract your audience from the topic, break their focus on the storyline, and will render your presentation ineffective.
- Use Graphics Sparsely and Effectively
Slide presentations are not infographics. Graphics need to support your presentation and the bullet points contained within it, without becoming burdensome. Keep in mind another aspect: each graphic element adds to the final size of your presentation file. Depending on the device, internet connection, etc., a large file will load slowly and move sluggishly from slide to slide.
A graph or pie chart used to give a visual representation of the numbers in your presentation are fine, even necessary. However, putting a photo of your company offices in the introductory slide is absolutely purposeless.
- Prove Your Claims, But Don’t Overdo It
We live in an era where internet communications have given many people the opportunity to make unsubstantiated claims. This dubious practice made its way in advertising and marketing, so that now it is mandatory to prove any claim with evidence.
A maximum of three instances which prove your claims are sufficient to convince the most sceptical person. More than this number is too much and looks as if you are trying too hard to prove your point. Also, it will clutter your slide with text, making it difficult to read.
- Be Consistent in Font Type and Size throughout Your Presentation
Your slide presentation must look and feel like a whole document. This is why you should keep the same formatting for headlines, sub-titles, bullet points and other types of text for every slide.
Choose a maximum of two complementary fonts for large headlines and regular text, and use them for all the slides. Make sure that the font style and size are easy to read on various devices (computer, tablet, smartphone) and that they are in line with your business. Bad font choice can ruin an otherwise brilliant slide presentation.
Last, but not least, remember to avoid standard clipart and stock photos from your presentations. In the B2B world, decision makers have already been exposed to all forms of cliché designs and photographs. Don’t make your slide presentation another one to join the lot.