You probably do a lot of slideshow presentations. The purpose of a slideshow is to bring complex concepts to a limited level. Instead of saying something, you show people, but you simplify it so they can grasp it quickly. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that slides should be designed differently for different purposes. In this video presentation, Tom Bishop offers several tips for creating better slideshows:
Hello again. Let’s get started. You’re in sales, or marketing. That’s why you’re watching me, because we’re talking business slideshows.
You probably do a lot of PowerPoint, and that means bullets. Bullets galore. It also means images. And probably animations. But not too much animation, you’ve been told, right?
And not too much text, or too many bullets. Images. But not too many! And graphs, yes, graphs, you’ve got to show graphs. But whoa, not too many crazy graphs. That’s too much, okay, enough. Facepalm.
Just keep it simple. But not too simple. We can’t all get away with that.
Slideshows Have Baggage
The bottom line here is that PowerPoint and Keynote slideshows have a lot of baggage. Everybody knows what the perfect slideshow should look like. Everybody agonizes over their slides and templates, and they know what they like. It’s just harder to replicate than most people care to admit. We’re not all designers, and the limited features usually included in a slide presentation tool are frustrating to real designers as well.
The purpose of a slideshow is to bring complex concepts to a limited level. Instead of saying something, you show people, but you simplify it so they can grasp it quickly.
But what a lot of people don’t realize is that slides should be designed differently for different purposes. If you’re doing the standard company briefing to people who already know the company and its products well, you can go into a little more detail. You can show more complex graphs. If not everybody gets it, that’s okay. The people who should get it, will get it. This is a lot like when you present to people within your company, or customers who are highly technical or knowledgeable.
The Interested Parties
When you expand the audience to include new customers and prospects, you should bring the level of detail down. This is when you start to worry about how packed your slides are. This is when you clip off the parts of charts that not everybody will understand. This is when you raise the size of your text, limit the number of bullets. You probably raise the number of slides, but use fewer words on them.
This is exactly why people who say “You should always use 5 bullets” or “Use no more than 12 slides” are out to lunch. “Just use 4 slides and go to a live product demo” is probably good for a sales demo. But what is true for a sales demo will not work for a company briefing or a webinar. It will certainly not work for anything that will be shared online with a mass audience.
The Mass Market
You’ve also heard “Don’t use images in your slides.” Really? If you want people to share your slideshow widely, you have to think like a media advertiser. Ever see a commercial during a football game with bullet points? Of course not. Images rule when you’re doing something for a mass audience.
The right image shows people in an instant what you’re trying to convey. The key word is “the RIGHT image”.
What Is The Framework?
You should also consider the framework for your slideshow. Will it be embedded on a landing page? Then maybe you don’t need branding in it. But if it’s shareable it will lose context, so if you post a presentation on YouTube or a social site it better include your graphic look and feel.
If you include it in something like KnowledgeVision, where the template will be branded, maybe you can eliminate the margins, and keep it simple. Just tooting our own horn here.
Throw Out The Rulebook
The bottom line is that slide decks are not created equal. Different purposes imply different designs, so that means, marketing professional, you’ve got a lot of work cut out for you. What you give the sales VP to use is different from what IT needs, what your CEO needs, and what support needs.
And what you show your customers and prospects will be different, as well as what you post on the web. And even that depends on exactly what you’re trying to say. AAAAAGHHH! Crazy, I know.
But the good news is you can tell that PowerPoint maven who says “12 slides only” where to go. You’ve got bigger ideas now. Get crackin’. Thank you for watching.
Your comments welcome.