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3 Presentation Strategy Tips

For Professionals Like You

Presentation Strategy Matters

You have an important presentation coming up. You have gathered a bunch of material. You have a pretty good idea of what you want to cover. Now what?

You look at the pieces from Word docs, Excel files, emails and even old presentations. How do you put these things together?

There are 3 key steps to follow that will help get your presentation moving in the right direction. Following these 3 presentation tips will save you hours of time.

Presentation Help Tip #1

On paper, clearly define the objective or objectives of your presentation. Careful! Don’t write out everything you want to cover. Do that later. Get clear on the objective.

For example, if you are presenting quarterly results for your department, the objective might be:

  1. Make the point that we cut expenses by 15%
  2. Emphasize the 10% sales increase
  3. Emphasize the success of the new products

Note! The Objective is more specific than “Cover the Quarterly Results”

Sometimes things aren’t pretty and you may have to present bad news. In that case:

  • Explain the sales decrease and address how that will be fixed
  • Point out the rise in payroll cost and address the reasons

If you are designing a sales presentation:

  • Get the sale   (Look, that is the objective! The objective is NOT to explain all the features.)

Once you have listed your objective or objectives (never more than 3), then make a list of points to make in order to reach your objective.

Example:

  • Objective: Explain the sales decrease

Points: We lost 2 sales people, marketing budget cut hurt lead generation, price increase raised resistance.  Corrective Action: We have hired 2 new people, marketing is using existing budget more effectively, new sales approach focuses on quality rather than price.

See? Objective, then points. On paper! It’s not a list of what to cover!

Presentation Help Tip #2

Think about the look and feel. Think.

No, you don’t have to be an artist. Just think about how you want this to look. Is there a company template you must follow? Okay, then how will you get each of your points across? Words? A bullet list? Table? An image? Graph?

Don’t open PowerPoint yet. Think. Thinking will save you time.

Make a note by each point about how you will present each point. The points add up to the objective.

If there is a company template you must use, use it. If not, think about colors. Reds? Blues? Greens? This depends on the company and situation. Decide on colors but don’t pick any of those PowerPoint themes. They are awful. Decide on the basic colors and write them down.

Finally decide if this should be bold, elegant, subtle, strong, soft, etc.

Don’t be afraid of white space. The goal isn’t to fill up slides.

Presentation Tip #3

At this point, you have listed how to make each point. You have an idea about how your presentation should look. The work is 90% done.

Now start PowerPoint. Put your content on each slide the way you listed each point. Just do it. Don’t waste time getting it perfect. Just get the content from paper to slides. For example, you hired two new people. Put a slide up that says “2 New Members of Sales Team” and (maybe) include a picture of each.

Go through quickly. Don’t worry about fonts, sizes, space or color. Just get the content on the slides.

Then go through in slide-show mode and review your content. Does it achieve the objectives? Does each slide make a point? Can you cut words? Does it flow in a proper order?

Finally, go to the slide with the most words. Set your font, font size and colors to make this slide look good. Write down the rules you discover work nicely. For example: Title: Calibri 24 Bold, Dark Blue  Body: Calibri 16, not bold, black.  Slide background: Light blue, Apply to all.

BAM!

BE CONSISTENT! Use the same font for all titles and all body text. (Note: This is why we start with the slide with the most words. Have you ever set a font size only to get 20 slides in and discover the words won’t fit? Ugh, start over!)

The biggest error that people make is that they start making slides before they are clear about objectives.

Don’t start dumping material on slides and then spend hours trying to tie the parts together. If you follow these steps, you will save hours.

Summary

Start on paper

  1. State the objectives
  2. State the points necessary to make each objective
  3. List how you think each point should be made (words, image, graph, demo, handout, stop and talk)
  4. Think about a look (Colors, general feel—i.e., don’t use heavy, big and bold type if you are reporting bad news)
  5. Put the content on the slides
  6. Start formatting

Follow these three presentation tips and you will save hours creating your next presentation.

 

Chris Reich, Business Presentation Designer

If you like this tip, you can use it to get your presentation in order. Once you have it roughed out, I can polish it up. That gives you a terrific presentation and saves you money. I can take over at any point. If you’re short on time, send very rough slides. Remember that ALL my work is confidential. There are probably people you know using my service!

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