How many terrible PowerPoint presentations have you endured during your lifetime? While they may be the standard method of selling, informing, training or otherwise communicating key messages to important audiences, they're easy to screw up. Take some advice from James Ontra, CEO of presentation management platform Shufflrr, who has studied thousands of presentations and knows what goes into creating a stellar one.
1. Create and maintain a slide library.
In other words, why spend time designing content someone in your organization likely already has created? Keep all your presentations in one central place using presentation management software, search for the content you need, update it if you need to and save whatever you've done in the slide library. The trick is to save slides individually with tags under categories, such as "company background," "financials," "services," or "case studies." When saving slides, make sure to include the date they were last updated so that everyone uses the most up-to-date slide.
2. Include video and multi-media content.
There's a reason people love YouTube--video engages people. And if you can get your audience engaged you're halfway to selling your message. What won't hook them? A presentation composed of only bullet points. Just don't overuse video or multimedia content--it can't read a crowd and adjust focus depending on an audience's reaction.
3. Ask your audience questions.
It's another way to get them engaged. Plus, it lets you gauge the audience's interests and comprehension so you can react and tailor your pitch to better reel them in.
4. Pause during remote presentations.
When you're presenting to someone in another location you often can't read their non-verbal cues. Build enough time into your presentation to stop every few minutes to gauge understanding and ask your audience if they have questions.
5. Avoid putting too much content on a slide.
People can read or they can listen, but not both simultaneously. And, they can likely read faster than you can present. If so, not only are they not listening to you, but they are ahead of you. Too much content also can handicap a presenter if he or she ends up reading from a slide. "No one wants to hear you read--they can read it themselves," Ontra says. "Presenters can use speaker notes, but your voice should be used to give context to the content."