Knowing how to design a business presentation successfully is crucial part of making the right impression in your career. A high-quality presentation should be capable of sending a powerful message to your intended audience, without being overwhelming or confusing.
Unfortunately, many people struggle when it comes to crafting the ultimate presentation. There’s more to this process than simply combining a number of slides. You also need to think about how your information is organized to ensure high levels of engagement.
From the positioning of your text to the use of graphics and visuals like charts, there are various important steps involved in making your business presentation stand out.
Here are your top tips for success…
How to design a business presentation: The basics
A business presentation is a valuable tool for conveying information to your target audience. It can help you present ideas about branding, or guide your team members through a strategy for a new marketing or sales campaign.
As with most things in the business world, the more prepared you are, the better your presentation will be.
Here are some key points to consider before you start designing:
Know your audience
The first step in any successful design process, is knowing who you’re designing for. Just as you’d get to know your reader before writing an essay, you’ll need to understand who your audience is for your presentation, and what they’re looking for.
Ask yourself what kind of language they’re going to understand, what information they’ll most be drawn to, and how you can make the experience as streamlined as possible for them.
Master your material
All the best business PowerPoint presentations allow the presenter to convey a clear knowledge and understanding of the topic at hand. You need to be able to show you have a comprehensive understanding of your topic.
This means taking the time to carefully read through the information you collect, and prepare answers to any questions your viewers might have. Be ready to immediately jump in and offer clarity whenever people don’t understand what you’re referencing.
Identify a core message
Before you start creating slides, it’s important to ensure you have a clear focus. It’s easy to overwhelm your audience with too much data and text if you accidentally go off on a tangent. This is why it’s so important to have a clear view of the topic you want to cover.
Unlike with a white paper or essay, you shouldn’t be trying to tackle a number of complicated ideas within a single presentation. Instead, focus on a central message, and leave your audience with a clear takeaway to think about.
Few things are more valuable than storytelling when capturing the attention and engagement of your audience. Transforming your presentation into a story, using human experience, anecdotes, and even a little humor from time to time, will help to pull your audience in.
No-one likes being lectured, and even if you’re an industry expert in your field, a dry presentation can make the wrong impression. Real-life examples to illustrate the point you’re making, and other storytelling strategies make all the difference.
Always make sure you’re prepared for the day of the presentation. Ensure your slides are in order, and that you have all the equipment you need to make your presentation. It’s also worth practicing your presentation a few times – just in case.
How to enhance your business presentation design
Design goes a long way to making a business presentation stand out. Ultimately, human beings are more likely to be engaged by things that look visually appealing. We like colors, visuals, and even photographs of human beings.
With this in mind:
Use visuals to highlight your key message
As mentioned above, a good business presentation should typically have one core message to focus on. However, on each of your slides, you may have a different statement to make which supports this core message.
Unique visuals will help to make the message more memorable.
Consider grouping and integrating information into a visual framework with timelines and graphs. Represent simple concepts with icons and try to minimize the amount of text on each slide by adding context with your images.
Practice the principles of good graphic design
The “principles of design” are a series of rules designers can follow to make any composition have a greater impact. Though these principles are often used in website and logo design, they can also be just as effective when leveraged within a business presentation.
Emphasis: Using different colors or text sizes can draw attention to the points in your presentation you want your viewers to focus on first.
Unity: Elements of unity from one slide to the next help to remind your viewers of the consistent theme in your presentation.
White space: Using white space in your slides will make it easier for your audience to consume your content at-speed, on any device
Contrast: Contrast in design will help to make the components of your business presentation more legible, like black text on a white background.
Balance: With balance, you can make the components of design in your presentation look evenly spaced and aesthetically appealing.
Experiment with templates
It can often be overwhelming to design a business presentation from scratch if you’ve never made one before. Fortunately, there are countless templates out there to help you get started. You can usually find templates to download online from sites like Venngage and Canva.
Alternatively, if you find your business making a lot of crucial presentations, you could work with a designer to create a series of branded templates. This will ensure your team always has a specific selection of options to tap into whenever they need to create something new.
Quick tips for business presentations
Learning how to design a business presentation can seem overwhelming at first. There are a lot of points to consider, from how you’re going to make certain pieces of information stand out, to how you’re going to create a sense of aesthetic appeal for your audience.
Here are some quick tips which can make any presentation more appealing…
Less is often more
Once of the toughest parts of figuring out how to design a business presentation, is deciding how you’re going to effectively balance the right amount of information, with the correct visual appeal. No matter how valuable a presentation might be, it can become a little overwhelming after a while.
Some of the best presentations from leading analysts and companies around the world are built with a focus on reducing the amount of information in the presentation as much as possible.
As you work through your presentation and edit the design, you’ll need to make sure you’re removing anything which doesn’t offer value to your audience.
Here are some tips to keep things short and sweet:
Use the 3-arc structure: Feature a clear beginning, main narrative, and resolution.
Remove fluff: Anything your audience doesn’t need to know can be cut from the slides.
Transform text into visuals: Present relevant facts in graphs and charts where possible.
Aside from keeping things short and simple, you should also be looking for ways to make your presentation as consistent as possible. Solid business presentations showcase slides with a focus on how each fact or component connects to the rest of the overarching message.
Using the same typography, visual styles, branding, and color scheme across the entire deck will help to create the “unity” we mentioned above. At the same time, consistency ensures your viewers don’t become hyper-focused on anything that doesn’t match the pattern in your presentation.
It’s easy for viewers to get distracted when they notice something like a different kind of text or a slightly different color on a slide.
Finally, no-one wants to deal with the dreaded “death by PowerPoint” experience in their business presentation. Since it’s easy for a presentation to get a little boring or dreary after a while, it’s important to find ways to keep engaging your audience and getting them involved.
Don’t just “talk at” your audience, ask them questions and request feedback ask you go. You can even form connections with anecdotes, such as “I know you have this problem, Jim”.
You might even consider getting people involved with certain parts of the presentation, like asking someone from your audience to come and assist you with something.
Make the most of your business presentations
Figuring out how to design a business presentation which makes the right impression on your target audience is easier said than done. Many business presentations are commonly perceived as boring or exhausting, so you may have a challenge to fight against from day one.
Hopefully, the tips above have given you some of the guidance you need to make your PowerPoint presentations as appealing as possible. However, you can also find plenty of design advice and extra guidance elsewhere on this blog!