In your business & marketing life, you won’t miss coming across having to design a presentation. Whether it’s a keynote speech or sales presentation, inevitably, you’ll come across having to create a presentation at some point in your life.
Problem is, many people have no clue when it comes to creating business presentations that work. The days of creating business presentations filled with lengthy text and bullet points are long gone. Just look at one of the companies that presents the most efficient presentations in the world, Apple and you’ll notice that they don’t use a lot of text. They use a lot of visuals instead.
I assume most of you would be creating your presentations on Microsoft Powerpoint, which is totally fine. But guess what, it’s not the software that sucks, it is you.
However, the truth is, whether you’re a beginner or pro in creating presentations, everyone can improve, in terms of design sense and creating effective presentations. Before we show you the 3 presentation tools you can use to win deals, let’s talk about a few rules when it comes to creative effective presentations.
The Rules Of Effective Presentations
There are no set rules when it comes to presentations. But if you’re starting out or looking to improve, here are some proven fundamental rules that you can follow.
1 – The Rule of Three
This is one of my favorite rule that I try to follow whenever I create a presentation. This technique is used by presenters like Steve Jobs. The logic behind the rule of three is that people can only effectively absorb three to four information points at one time. In Steve’s presentation, you’ll find he always only highlight three big features or benefits of a product, even if the product itself has thousands of other features and benefits.
So when creating your next presentation, think about the three biggest points that you’d like to show instead of stuffing everything into one slide. You might be inclined to list down everything good about your product or service, but people won’t remember it anyway. So stick to three or four points.
2 – Don’t Use Anymore Than Three Fonts
Before we get into fonts, please. By all means, please, do not use ‘Comic Sans’ as your presentation font. It’s a well-critiqued font hated by lots of designers. Your audience will assume you to be a lazy presenter if you use it and somehow, just somehow your presentations won’t look serious with Comic Sans. However, you’ll be surprised to find that Comic Sans was actually pretty popular before the hate.
Anyway back to the point, also another type of rule of three, never use more than three fonts in a presentation deck or in anything you’re designing. Putting too many types of fonts will throw the design aesthetics. Often there’s no reason you should have more than three fonts in a single design or presentation. If you’re trying to emphasise a point or statement, instead of changing the font, put the statement in a separate element like a blockquote.
3 – Tell Stories
Telling stories is a great way to get information across. Everybody loves listening to a story, perhaps due to the fact that we are all used to having our parents tell us stories before we sleep.
You probably fall asleep in a lecture or presentation that bombards you with information after information. Think about the message that got across the ever popular children story, “The Hare & The Tortoise”. “Slow and steady wins the race”. That message was passed over through a story. The best part of it, everyone loved the story and remembered it.
Try to think of a story you that you could relate with your presentations. Not only it’ll perk your audiences, it’ll get the message across very effectively. You can read more about telling stories in presentation and creating things that go viral in Jonah Berger’s Contagious.
4 – Research Colors And The Emotions You Want To Evoke
Did you know that people are more productive in a room that is painted blue? It’s a known fact that people respond differently to different colors. Banks and financial institutions, like using the color blue as it gives the sense of security and trust. Companies that promotes healthy living and nutrition often prefer using the color green.
There’s science behind the colors in advertising, marketing and also presenting. So when designing your next presentation deck, think about the emotions you want to evoke in your audience. You’ll find that we use many bright colors like the color orange in many of our presentations. That’s because we want to appear bright, energetic and confident to our customers.
So what is your color? Think about it.
The Three Presentation Design Tools That Will Help You Win Deals
Here are some presentation tools that we use in our everyday work, whether it comes to presenting in webinars, keynotes or sales pitches. I chose this list based on how easy and quick the tools is when creating presentations even if you have never created a presentation before.
1 – Prezi
One of the reasons many audiences gets bored during a presentation is due to not knowing heads or tails of the presentation. When is the presentation ending?
You could create an agenda before you start a presentation or you could use Prezi’s presentation system that shows the canvas of the whole presentation to audiences before you start.
Prezi is also very visual, adding to the fact that humans are visual characters. In any presentation you do, visual is always king in retaining audience retention and Prezi allows you to do just that.
Prezi is also free to use. You get access to more presentation templates with a paid account, but the free version is good enough to start off with.
2 – Haiku Deck
Haiku deck is a lesser known presentation software, but pretty powerful as well. The reason Haiku Deck does so well is that it’s really easy to use, given that you can create presentations on your desktop computer or even on an iPad app.
It’s simple to add graphics, charts, and images from within Haiku Deck. The thing that makes it really special is that you cannot write a lot of text in any slides. The software forces you to focus on visuals and you being the presenter, instead of you trying to cramp every single text into your presentation.
It’s fun to see how easy it is to create beautiful presentations with Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck isn’t free but it goes as low as $9.90 per month for public users and $99 per year for teachers. I think it’s quite good a deal if you often create presentations and is looking for something that can help you create them fast.
3 – Canva
I normally recommend Canva to companies who want to create quick social media post designs. However, that’s not all Canva can do. Canva is a design tool loaded with lots of easy to use features and functionality that would appeal to non-designers. So essentially, you can use it to create all sort of designs from banners, Facebook ads, social media post, blog images, and presentations.
It’s really easy to create beautiful presentations with Canva, even if you don’t have a design background. Canva also comes with an app for the iPad, so you can be pretty mobile with it.
Canva is free to use with paid plans to unlock more templates, stock photos and graphics.
What is your favorite presentation tool?
With the three tools that I’ve mentioned here, my most used presentation tool is still Microsoft Powerpoint. That’s because I’m comfortable with PowerPoint. But instead of just using the ready made templates, I design my own presentation decks from scratch.
The best presentation software for you would be one that you can use to quickly create great looking presentations. Remember that it’s not the software the sucks, but it’s often us, the presenters who do not know how to create effective slides.
What presentation software are you using in your business? Let me know in the comment section below as I’d love to hear from you as well.