7 tips for creating compelling presentations

At Delve, we think of the full Product Development Process. That means we support our clients not just through Strategy, Design and Engineering, but also the ‘intangibles’ along the way.

That’s where our Visual Communications department comes in. We’re a nimble group with a wide range of skills to call upon. One of the ways we help our internal teams and clients is when presentations need to live on after our work is done.

Pitching your idea or point of view can be an intimidating opportunity. It’s important to get your information across in a way that’s compelling to your audience. We turn to tools like video, motion graphics and even the ubiquitous PowerPoint when presenting information to an audience. To make a powerful storytelling presentation, it’s important to start with a creative brief. See Shelby’s blog post about this important tool for a more in-depth look at how we use it.

After we determine the audience and the main message, we start by planning out the script of the story. Then we can support the message with strong visuals to make sure the point of view is clear and compelling. Adding motion at the right moments can enhance even a PowerPoint and keep your audience engaged. Here are our best practices for creating compelling, storytelling presentations:

1. Keep it short

Videos, especially, should not be more than 2 minutes. It’s important to write and approve the script before starting the video/motion graphics process. PowerPoint is a presentation tool, not a reporting document tool. Create a compelling presentation by prioritizing the most important information and move all of the other supporting information to an appendix for later reading.

2. Get to the point in the beginning

All stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Start by sharing the presentation goal with the audience. People listen better if they know why they are there and what the purpose is.

3. Connect the dots in the middle

Ask yourself what you want the audience to do with the information presented. Feel educated on the topic? Make a decision? Understand or gain empathy for a group? If you get stuck, think about what the audience perspective will be by finding and highlighting the “so what” or decide what output you want from the group. Also, help your audience follow along by considering transitions between different information sections.

4. End with a call-to-action

Make sure the presentation culminates in a call to action or a summary. An example of a call to action is “Reframe your point-of-view from…”, “Please, consider our recommendation to…” or “The main point was [blank], but you can learn more by [blank]…”

5. Make motion meaningful

Motion graphics, video, and even PowerPoint animations can be used to pace a presentation. But use these tools carefully, making sure it’s not distracting from your message.

6. Use simple visuals and text

Using creative-commons images from sites like Unsplash or iconography from Noun Project is a great way to enhance text-heavy presentations. Bold titles and no more than three sizes of type will help clearly communicate information. If you have a lot of text on one slide or you can’t read it from the back of the room, try breaking it up to several slides. Again, it’s about presenting information, not documenting all of the data for a report. If you have more to document, consider making a separate hand-out that you bring to the meeting.

7. Don’t forget to format check

There’s nothing more distracting to an audience than misspelled words or fuzzy pictures on a slide. Leave enough time to have someone with “fresh eyes” look for typos and spin through the presentation for things like missing footers, repeated shapes/text “jumping around” slightly from slide to slide, or pixelated images. A consistent layout will help the audience focus on your message.

Want to see some examples of how we put these tips into action? Visit our Visual Communication page for case studies and more articles.

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