How many times have you sat through a presentation, scrolling through your iPhone, bored out of your brain, completely disengaged? How many times have you presented to an audience who has sat through your presentation scrolling through their iPhone, bored out of their brain, completely disengaged? Have you ever stopped to think how many millions of dollars that one presentation has cost you?
There is no more B2B or B2C in today’s communication landscape. All this has done is create unnatural, overcomplicated messages and solutions. What the world needs today, what your customers, clients and stakeholders are crying out for is H2H – from human to human, a natural connection through compelling visuals and emotional stories. A powerful presentation is the most critical tool in communication and business today.
When you communicate clearly articulated messages, you:
Your investment strategy
- win multi-million dollar projects
- secure buy-in from your team or organisation on your new vision
- raise much-needed funds for your start-up, project or idea
- build awareness about life-saving projects
- inspire change that has the power to move communities
- communicate new ideas that have the power to spread across the world.
The challenge most companies face, especially larger ones, is pulling the information for a presentation together – often at the last hurried minute. Although you may have a dedicated person or team for a particular presentation, they are usually run off their feet dealing with an increasing workload and other deadlines.
Companies spend billions of dollars, and time and resources on their brand; yet rush through pulling together their keynotes. Finding time to research, write, design and rehearse is a constant challenge. But you must invest the time and energy into planning a powerful presentation if you want your audience to invest their time and energy in you.
Our presentations live on well after the lights go down. They are shared with friends, family, colleagues, future employees and complete strangers via sites like SlideShare and YouTube. This means that your power – and your power to secure buy-in with your information – extends well beyond the boardroom.
Leading academic Mary Barth from Stanford University recently found that good integrated reporting and presentations is positively associated with both stock liquidity and firm value.This requires much more than just making your slides look ‘pretty’. You need to apply a strategy to your slides in the same way you would apply a strategy to your leadership.
A powerful presentation is:
Clear, easy to read, has simple language, infographics that visualise key points and highlight the benefits.
A poor presentation is:
Overloaded with facts, stats, numbers, corporate jargon, dense text, inconsistent design elements and no key message.
Cut the cr@p
It’s more than important than ever to cut out all the clutter from your presentation to present clear and consistent messages. What gets left out of your presentation is more important than what goes in. Some companies are clearly better than others at this. Many believe that sharing everything and blinding their audience with numbers is the best way to be transparent and open – that couldn’t be further from the truth! This will only put the people you are trying to engage off, and make them lose interest faster. Don’t drown the audience in complex words, mixed messages and paragraphs of information.
Your design must support the speaker. This is how you make the material useful, easy to read and understand, as well as provide clear actionable insights that add value and impact for shareholders and stakeholders. Now let’s imagine if every one of your presentations, and every one of those presentations you sat bored through, completely disengaged, was creative, memorable and influential. How would that impact your bottom line? How would that impact your customers, clients and stakeholders?
You have the power to make a difference. You have the power to combine clear and compelling content with beautiful visual designs that aid in our memory long after the lights have gone down.
Emma Bannister is passionate about presenting big, bold and beautiful ideas. She is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of upcoming book ‘Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.’ For help with your presentations, check out the VisualStory Workshop, run in partnership with global leaders Duarte across Asia Pacific. Find out more at www.presentationstudio.com/presentation-content-training