Powerpoint presentations are seldom thought of as super sources of innovation. Many of us can think of a number of conferences attended where Powerpoint design was used but to no obvious benefit of either speaker or audience. But Powerpoint is often used badly, especially in the instance of sales presentations where some of the worst offenders insist on merely repeating on-screen what is already being said. This is a mistake; when Powerpoint is utilised to its full capacity it should complement and supplement the speaker’s message.
Before we go any further we should explore the positive multidimensional nature of a presentation: a presentation can involve an audience visually, aurally and, if you take questions from the floor, orally too. It’s therefore the ways in which we give and receive messages in these ways that makes for a presentation’s success or failure. Ideally, the speaker should look to reach the optimum standards in communication by combining all of the above. Of course, some topics or styles of address will lend themselves to divergent percentages of visuals, speech/sounds and audience participation, but take a typical sales pitch as a key example.
When it comes to the category of sales pitches we must recall that audiences are becoming increasingly savvy about how they approach products and services these days. They are well aware of their existence as impressionable consumers surrounded by advertising on an everyday, sometimes all-day-long basis. Think of the average worker in London: he or she wakes up to an alarm set on a smartphone that no doubt has a number of applications containing promotional material in addition to their primary function. Then the radio or TV is switched on and more adverts are encountered. And that’s even before a tube or bus journey has been completed where billboards, posters, flyers and free papers abound. But this is not to say consumers do not want to be alerted to products that interest them, it just means it can be difficult to convince them that what your business is offering is really worth their while.
Innovative powerpoint presentations can help the seller out greatly.
Immediately, through human presence, the speaker is in an advantageous position as body language will aid the on-screen visuals and sound in terms of increasing audience engagement. The speaker can in fact think of him- or herself as a story teller working sales presentations into enticing narratives. Powerpoint design then becomes a prop rather than a repetitive piece of machinery.
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