Presentation Tools and Techniques
It’s easy to think that the hardest part of making a presentation is actually presenting in front of the audience, seeing as the fear of public speaking is so widespread. However, the truly difficult part lies in putting the presentation itself together.
Yes, it can be nerve wracking to stand before a crowd and be the center of attention, I won’t deny that. Still, before you can even get to that point, you must first put in the effort of organizing your talking points, arranging your slides or accompanying graphics, and above all else, determining what purpose you want your presentation to achieve in the first place.
Are you trying to attract potential investors to finance your promising new business venture, or are you aiming to impress longstanding clients with a preview of upcoming projects? Is your presentation going to be one of many short speeches at a small venue, or is your presentation a major attraction at a large event? Will your subject matter be best supported by vibrant images or carefully plotted charts and graphs, do you even need images at all? Speaking of which, do you have the tools and talent to make your own graphics, or should you hire a professional to make them for you?
All these questions can be a nightmare to navigate, thankfully, I’ve arranged this handy guide to help chart your course.
Let’s start by going over the main types of presentation styles. Reviewing these different methods of making a presentation will make it easier for you to pick a direction for your presentation to take, which in turn will aid immensely in organizing your designing any supporting materials.
This methods employs powerful images that compliment what you are saying without distracting from it, whether that be through minimalistic artwork or gorgeously detailed scenery or whatever else fits best. If you’re trying to sell a product or service, having clear images to demonstrate how it works or how your team works are an ideal choice. Mind you, image selection is very important, as low quality graphics or unfitting imagery will distract your audience and disrupt any engagement you were building with them.
This method is best suited to short or casual presentations, utilizing a friendly and conversational tone to communicate a message that doesn’t need to be bogged down by needless complication. This style doesn’t typically require much in the way of visuals, though if you have the opportunity, your logo and contact information on a simple background wouldn’t go amiss.
In complete opposite of the Free-form style, the Instructor style is all about delivering an in-depth exploration of your topic. You must simultaneously educate and entertain your audience, so it’s critical that you possess a thorough understanding of your subject matter and why your audience should be interested in it. Visuals for this presentation style are essential for helping to impart the intended lesson, which is why you should include bullet points, definitions, and other such things you would expect to see in a textbook or manual.
While the Instructor style is all about specifics and details, the Coach style is more focused on emotion and energy. This style is most effectively utilized by motivational speakers, using their charisma and inviting presence to appeal to their audience’s concerns and lift their spirits. As such, uplifting images that pair well with the assurances the speaker is offering tend to be received well, but sound also plays an important role. Not only must the presenter have a confident and charming speaking voice, but the use of music can go a long way toward impressing the listeners.
Humans have been sharing stories with one another since the stone age, so you can rest assured that this is a tried and true method for getting your point across. Granted, while this style can be captivating when done properly, the presenter must make sure the story has a point or moral that the audience will relate to, otherwise you’ll only bore them. Take pride in the experiences and accomplishments you share, but remember to remain humble, and make sure you speak to your audience, not at them.
This last method is like a combination of Storytelling style and Coach style, pairing the emotional and capitating elements for a presentation style that is intimate and effective…when used properly. It’s important to note that this style does not apply to all scenarios, and must be handled carefully in order for it to work. Connector Style requires sincere interaction with the audience, eliciting their feedback and using it as part of the presentation as you deliver it. You must be compassionate and considerate when using this style, as well as adaptable, as the feedback you receive in the moment may not easily apply to the message you’re trying to deliver.
Right then, now that we’ve gone over some of the different methods of delivering your presentation, let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use to develop your presentation.
There are all kinds of programs available to help you make your presentations, and much like the presentation styles themselves, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding which features best suite your needs will not only make the selection process go smoother, but it will also aid in the creative process. Here are a few examples I recommend looking into.
Google Slides is an attractive option because, in addition to be a offered for free as part of the G Suite, it is also highly collaborative. The ability to have multiple people contribute to the same file is ideal if you have several writers and designers all adding their input to a detailed presentation, which is very useful for an Instructor or Storytelling style presentation.
Slidebean, on the other hand, is a useful tool for those who don’t have a creative team to rely on, as the program will do most of the work itself. Slidebean uses AI to arrange whatever content you provide it into all sorts of wonderful slide designs. If you’re unhappy with what it comes up with, you can have it provide alternative designs, or even take over and make adjustments. This level of creative assistance is very helpful when using Coach and Free-form style presentations.
Ludus is the complete opposite of Slidebean, as it has a wide variety of options for graphic designers to make full use of. This program gives total control to the creative individuals who need it, allowing them to customize their presentation materials precisely to their liking. I recommend using this program for Visual and Connector style presentations.
I hope this guide serves you well, if nothing else, it should certainly help narrow down the overwhelming options. Again, this is just a guide to help you navigate the presentation crafting process, feel free to use any of these points as inspiration for your own original ideas.