The corporate world is ruled by Presentations. If there is meeting – and there are lots of them – then there is almost inevitably a presentation.  An old college friend, now a senior corporate leader, moaned about how she spends her entire day going in and out of meetings and nights working on deck after deck. Not surprising really, because presentations actually work. There is no denying that they really do make things easy and quick to understand. At least most do. As a veteran of hundreds of presentations – on both ends of the table – I have seen my share of sloppy, pointless and mind-numbingly boring PPTs (I am also guilty of making a few bad ones myself). Now, of course, we have professional agencies who have elevated corporate presentations to the next level – where art meets business goals very successfully. We take a look at some fundamental rules that professionals swear by.

Design Matters

People like to look at pretty things. Period. As first impressions count, pros always pay close attention to the look and feel of presentations. However, a good design has to deliver so much more than just good looks, it must convincingly lay out the brand’s position and sell its products. The perfect deck is a great example of Beauty with a Purpose – just like the motto of the Miss World contest.

Talk aside, here are some applicable tips for amateursLess is More – Minimalism is back in vogue in the corporate world. Remove the clutter, the extra elements, the long sentences and keep only what’s essential. If your slide can convey information at a glance, then you have got it right.

Better Images but less text

Dump the bullet points and the long paragraphs. Use visual elements that convey the message – growth charts, infographics or poignant images – all work well when used in the right context. When it comes to text its more important to be legible than creative – stick to clean and easy to read fonts.

Use Colours smartly

Colour is one of the most critical elements of any design. Understanding colour design theory is a mammoth task – there are tons of resources online and I suggest you play around and experiment to find what you like. For an amateur one of the best places to start with are the colours of the company logo. However, ALWAYS keep these rules in mind – stick to a simple colour palette of a few contrasting shades, highlight one colour at a time and don’t use too many on one slide.

Presenting Information the right way –

Most presentations are data heavy and the best way to put these across is with charts, graphs and infographics, but we are not talking about the same boring old graphs we always see in government reports. There is a wide range of built-in and third-party tools that can quickly convert data into innovative and colourful graphics.

Here are some that we like

Smartdraw – Runs across various operating systems and online as well. It has well over 70 different kinds of templates and you are sure to find something that works for you.
VismeEasy to use and super flexible, visme provides animated charts and graphs which can also be linked to live data.
Infogram – Another handy tool that does so much more than just graphs. You can use It to build dashboards, marketing reports, maps and social media visuals.
Piktochart – If you want to include Infographics in your presentations, then you can’t go wrong with Piktochart. You can churn out stunning graphics with this software and kiss goodbye to expensive designers.

Research templates  

Of course, PowerPoint is the most common and well-known tool for making presentations, but there are several companies that have developed full-fledged presentation platforms. It pays to research these and find fresh templates that match your subject. You will come across several free templates being offered by presentation software companies. We recommend Prezi and CustomShow. Check these out but don’t stop there.

Using Multimedia –

Videos are the next big thing. They regularly garner more views and shares online and with good reason – people like to watch stories. Including a simple multimedia component can make your presentation stand out, but like everything else, you must exercise your judgement on whether it fits the context and adds value to your deck. If not, then it’s best left for later.

Keep the Goal in mind  

Finally and most importantly, don’t lose the red thread of reasoning while creating your deck. Start making the presentation with a clear goal – ask yourself what is the main function of this deck? Keep reminding yourself of the answer every step of the way. Yes, a good corporate presentation should be visually memorable and logically laid out – but ultimately, it’s a productivity tool that needs to do its job.

So, now you have a great deck on your laptop, but that’s only half the battle won. What comes next is critical – the actual presentation! A good corporate presentation is only as good as the person doing the talking. It is not uncommon to sit through dull meetings with beautifully created decks. What’s needed is confidence, clarity and

  • personality and these cannot be designed on demand. Don’t lose heart, most good speakers didn’t start out that way – they grew better with time and practice. We are ready to help you in the presentation department too. Here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts –
  • Prepare in advance and practice your delivery style
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the person listening to you. Your talk should complement the presentation. You must NEVER read out the entire presentation word for word.
  • Remember that presentations are visual aids. Your job is to explain and expand the points on the slide.
  • Carry versions of your presentations. Long ones are great to send on mail but meetings demand short and to-the-point decks. If you feel that people are losing interest it’s best to skip some parts of the deck.
  • Know your slides. The presentation is for people on the other side of the table. You should know it all by heart.

So, here’s hoping our tips help. If you want to see how professionals do it, then do call us (link to contact page). We offer corporate presentations customized to a variety of business goals – in quick turnaround times and at real-world prices.