This blog was updated 31/05/22.
Typically, presentations are at the heart of meetings. Three of the most common meeting presentation software are PowerPoint, Google Slides and Canva. It’s estimated that 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created every day but most people tune out of a presentation after 10 minutes because they lack engagement.
This has been referred to as ‘death by PowerPoint’, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Great presentations that are well thought out and delivered can create engaging, productive meetings.
Many people make the grave mistake of creating their slides first. Instead, you should consider the following points:
1. Firstly, ask yourself - “do I really need to create a presentation at all?” – if your meeting objective is to collaborate rather than to educate or share your knowledge, a presentation can distract from that.
2. If a presentation is necessary for your meeting, consider what your audience needs or hopes to get out of it. Poor presentations focus on what you want to tell your audience rather than what your audience wants to know.
3. Lastly, set a goal for your presentation. For example, what do you want your colleagues to take away from your presentation or be able to action as a result? Your presentation should facilitate the achievement of that goal.
Now you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to hone your presentation skills and create it.
The golden rule – ‘less is more’, when it comes to presentations. The more text on your slides, the less engaged your audience will be with what you are saying because they’ll be reading the slides. Your slides are supposed to be an aide memoir, not a script - so think bullet points rather than long paragraphs.
Including images and videos can sometimes convey a point more effectively than text. Video is 95% more compelling than text and it breaks up big chunks of information.
Don’t make the common mistake of starting to talk as soon as the slide appears. Your audience is likely reading the slide instead of listening to you. Allow them time to read your slide first and pause after sentences for the information to sink in, or for people to make notes.
Storytelling creates a connection between you and the audience – it translates ideas and moves people to action. Leaving the room with an emotional impression will strike a resonant chord and makes your presentation one to remember.
Engage the audience with your ideas rather than your ‘creativity’. Stick to a consistent design for all the slides, including font and colours. Making a presentation look aesthetic is not as important as delivering valuable information.
Inspiring collaboration and discussion facilitate productive meetings: 64% of people believe that two-way interaction is more engaging than linear presentations. Try adding questions to your slides where you want to encourage discussion. Interactive displays are brilliant for brainstorming and capturing ideas.
Top tip for PowerPoint: if you press ‘B’ on your keyboard, the screen will go blank, and your audience can focus on the discussion. If you press ‘B’ again, the slide returns.
The final slide of your presentation is the one that is likely to be remembered most. It should give the audience a key takeaway on how they can put what they’ve learnt into practice.
No one wants to sit in a presentation for hours, even if it’s full of discussion. Structuring your slides will help you stick to your allotted schedule.
Meetings should be engaging, productive and enjoyable regardless of whether you’re at home or in the office. However, much of the responsibility for that lies with you as the presenter. It is your job to create presentations that inspire and aid productivity, rather than hinder it. Use our top tips to help you create powerful and productive meetings.