Guest post on Visual Impact by Luke Goetting of Puffingston.
You work for months or maybe even years on the perfect website design for your company. You go through numerous revisions on your brochures and marketing collateral until you finally land on the elusive edition you’re happy with. You’ve developed and refined a social media strategy so in-depth that every single tweet, “like” or share adequately portrays your brand (fingers crossed!). But what about your business presentations?
If you’re like most people, these frequently get thrown together in the eleventh hour without much planning or consideration—let alone help from a professional designer. However, your presentations are an important piece of the puzzle that deserve some thought and attention.
Unlike the aforementioned outlets, your presentation represents a unique opportunity to communicate with an audience in-person and deliver your message for minutes and sometimes hours…for better or worse.
Use these three tips when creating your next presentation and you’ll better connect with your audiences and allow your message to leave a lasting impression—unlike the slides you haphazardly created during your commute.
- Showcase Your Brand
Like any of your other marketing materials, your slides should capture the spirit of your overall brand. And before you ask—simply creating a generic company presentation template does not fit the bill. Sure, that template might have the right font or appropriate footer. But that “paint by numbers” approach to design really only limits your visual communication options.Your presentation should emphasize certain characteristics of your company that you take pride in. Just take a look at this Vykin Corporation example: As an IT solutions company, Vykin competes in a very tech-savvy industry. The company’s presentation design reflects its expertise in that arena with numerous design elements that represent its high-tech, digital capabilities.
The opportunity to translate the brand into these visual pieces would’ve been completely missed had Vykin opted to stick with the structured look of traditional slide templates. So, go beyond fonts, get creative and work in design elements that are representative of your overall brand.
- Showcase Your Company
Everybody knows that successful business is all about relationships. People want to work and engage with other people—not faceless, nameless corporations. Yet so many companies choose to portray their organizations as detached, impersonal entities in their slide decks. They represent themselves with facts and figures rather than friendly faces.If you want to truly connect with your audience, incorporate photos of your offices, customers with your products and even employees into your slides—like this example presentation from Tiempo Development. These should be real photos rather than generic stock options—and they should be incorporated throughout your presentation, not just on one or two introductory slides.This strategy demonstrates your company has both a personality and friendly people behind it, leaving your audience with a stronger connection to your brand.
- Showcase Your Topic
It’s important to recognize your slide deck should not be so generic that it serves every possible presentation purpose (ineffectively). Instead, your slides should be designed and optimized specifically for your particular topic—and that alone. The visual pieces of your presentation should support your overall topic, like this example from Card Integrity.
For example, if your presentation is all about golf, it should feature photos and icons directly associated with that sport. If you’re aiming to sell a children’s toy, showcase fun illustrated characters. Yes, these steps will involve a little extra work and consideration, but they also continuously remind your audience of the topic and keep them immersed and engaged in the experience.
It’s also important to ensure that you don’t miss the forest for the trees with your presentations. When you’re so close to the business, it’s easy to become so familiar with the overall topic that you drill down and only focus on the minor checkboxes and details. If you’re talking about a technology solution, you might be tempted to zone in on things like algorithms and lines of code. However, remember that your audience really only cares about the end experience—the software. While you might need to address details along the way, be careful to always keep the overall objective present for your customer.
If you really want your presentations to make an impact, you need to kiss those templates goodbye and put in some work to WOW your audience. You wouldn’t launch your website after one afternoon’s work (deep breaths web admins), so make sure you’re committing the appropriate time to the visual aid that can really help you communicate your message and leave a lasting impression!
Luke Goetting is an award-winning presentation specialist and founder of Puffingston – a presentation design and training company based in Austin, Texas. Winner of the “Best Business Prezi” of 2013 award, Goetting specializes in transforming dull business presentations into engaging, well-structured stories that help audiences better understand and connect with presenters’ messages. His company designed presentations for SXSW Accelerator winners Tinitell in 2015 and PopUp Play in 2016.