If you look for advice on giving presentations online, you’ll likely find a wealth of advice about the importance of confidence and preparation, and plenty of technical tips about not overwhelming your audience with information or packing your PowerPoint with too much data.
But not all presentations are geared toward the same purpose, and putting together a truly stunning and memorable presentation usually means targeting your tools and approach to the audience you’ll be speaking in front of — a public lecture intended for a general audience, a quarterly meeting, and a sales pitch for a potential business partner each come with unique challenges, and have different metrics for success.
This blog will focus on three main types of presentation, with some notes on how you should adapt your PowerPoint design and speaking style to match.
1) Event Presentations
Presenting at an event with a large public audience can be intimidating even for people who are fairly comfortable speaking in front of others because it comes with a range of distinct challenges. For example:
- General audiences may not be familiar with everything you plan to touch on
- Large groups can be harder to read, meaning you will need to be extra-confident
- There is an expectation that you will be entertaining as well as informative
Given these challenges, it is important to put together a PowerPoint that doesn’t overwhelm or distract the audience, while also seamlessly incorporating any motion graphics or video features you may need.
2) Informative Meeting Presentations
When you are giving a presentation in a corporate or not-for-profit context, your primary responsibility is to communicate information in a memorable way, but that doesn’t mean you should simply fill your PowerPoint deck with charts and graphs.
Unlike a public event, when you are speaking to your peers in a business context, you can assume a greater degree of baseline interest and engagement. But you also need to have a clear thesis and marshal your information to back it up, and your PowerPoint slides need to be carefully designed to substantiate your key points.
Many businesspeople work with PowerPoint presentation designers or a presentation design agency like Stinson Design to craft professional PowerPoints that include custom graphics and other advanced features to drive your point home and make an indelible impression.
3) Sales Presentations
In some ways, a sales presentation combines the challenges of the public event and the informative meeting. You need to be engaging, winsome, and entertaining, while also communicating in a clear way the essential information about the product or service you are selling.
A good sales presentation needs to create a sense of urgency and tension without seeming overly manipulative, and so the PowerPoint deck should be geared toward the final pitch you’ll be making at the end. Like a good movie, a sales presentation should create a narrative that builds steadily to a satisfying climax.
The best presenters are able to transport their audiences, creating an emotional connection that can be incredibly powerful. But these seemingly effortless performances are the product of careful planning and technological design, and mastering these skills means thinking carefully about who you are addressing, what mood you want to create, and what tools can help you do so.
They also often rely on the behind-the-scenes work of designers and consultants who know how to make a slide deck move seamlessly, so if you want to make a big impression in your next presentation, consider working with a presentation design agency.