by Adam Noar
A presentation reveals a lot about a person.
If it’s well-done, it can leave a great impression, and let your audience know that you’re creative, strategic, and much more.
If it’s not well-done, it can have the opposite effect. Your audience may walk away thinking you don’t care about the subject, you’re not responsible, or even that you wasted their time.
We know which side we want to land on!
We always have tips on the blog for how to create a great presentation. Brainstorm, create a good color scheme, tell a compelling story, find the right images.
But there’s a downside: all of that takes WORK.
It can be hard to motivate yourself to find the time, or put in the effort, to make a truly amazing presentation. ‘Who cares?’ you might be asking yourself.
So this time, we’re going to tell you WHY you should put in all that effort. After all, it’s worth it! But don’t just take our word for it.
Here are 6 things a well-designed slide deck subconsciously tells your audience:
You pay attention to details
As you know, there’s a lot to think about when making a good presentation. Beautiful presentations require a high attention to detail, and knocking each detail out of the park will really impress your viewers! You’re communicating that you know how to juggle a lot of moving parts and make a complicated project work smoothly.
It can be tough to make things work cohesively, and that’s one of the big “tells” for how to spot a poorly made, rushed, or just plain half-assed presentation. There are so many components that need to work well together that it requires a close attention to detail.
There are a few elements that we think are the most important. First, the color scheme. Developing a great color scheme will lend a veneer of consistency to your whole presentation, and can instantly bump up a 2 to a 6 out of 10. When colors don’t work well together, or the colors change throughout the presentation, it’s a big sign that it’s not cohesive.
Using two or three strong fonts that are readable, easy to determine hierarchy, and work well together is another important spot. A presentation that’s easily readable is a detail that will fade into the background if done well and makes the whole presentation a lot more smooth. Using fonts that communicate hierarchy is one of our favorite tips – using a bigger size or bolder font will help your audience immediately see what the most important information is. Finally, we always look for a cohesive story. There needs to be a “plot,” so the audience can follow along.
When you get all these elements right, your audience will know that you have a high attention to detail and will assume that you carry that same level of care in all aspects of what you do. This could impress your coworkers, your boss, your potential clients – the possibilities are endless.
You’re cool and stylish
A side product of having a super snazzy slide deck is that it makes you look really cool! This is not a joke.
Gone are the days of high school when putting effort into something made you lame. In the adult world, people respect and admire other people who care about creating something that looks amazing, and if your slides look cool, so do you.
A well-put-together presentation will show that you have a good sense of style and taste. Making a great looking presentation requires some knowledge of design, color, patterns, and general awareness of what looks good together and what doesn’t. It’s super valuable knowledge to have, because it can help you in a lot of ways besides PowerPoint. It’s important to keep up to date with trends and modern design, and you can easily showcase that with your slide design.
If you do that, you’ll differentiate yourself from the standard-template crowd, and make you stand out from the crowd. However, as a side note: if you want to make this impression without the work of creating your own presentation from scratch, buy a template! There are some incredibly well-designed templates available on Graphic River – and for a little shameless self-promotion, my template is there too.
If your audience sees that you can put together a set of complimenting colors, modern fonts, and impactful images, then they will probably make the rightful leap to thinking that you know a thing or two about design and style as well.
In a world full of text-filled, bullet-pointed, color-clashing slides, a beautifully designed deck tells the world that you’re a rule-breaker, and rebellious against things that are boring.
You’re fun (and not boring)
We’re guessing you’ve sat through enough boring presentations, trying to keep your eyes open and not drool on the desk, to know that a little fun would go a long way.
Sometimes people think every presentation has to be serious, or passionate, or intense, but that’s not true at all! You can create a slide deck with emotion and personality, and make it fun, and your audience will love you for it, and they’ll associate those traits with you as well. See a theme we have going on?
Personality can mean a lot of things. You can play with the feel of your presentation style, whether it be over-the-top and eccentric, playful, a bit edge, etc. The toughest one to pull off is injecting some humor – you need the right tone, joke, and feel to your presentation.
Of course, this isn’t true for every subject, so see if it works with the tone you’re trying to set. Some topics really are serious and need an intense and engaging set-up. But it’s worth it to take a look at your story and see if you can inject a little humor into your slides – you get BIG extra credit points if you can make your audience laugh!
No matter what you land on, your audience will be thankful that you decided to put together something a little different, and that you can have fun, even with something like a PowerPoint presentation. Instead of falling asleep during your presentation, they’ll genuinely enjoy it, and be glad that you put in some extra effort to be entertaining and engaging.
You’re strategic and careful
On the other end of things, putting a lot of care into the organization and flow of the presentation will give off another vibe – that you’re strategic and careful.
Beautiful slide decks are well-organized and flow like wine. They start smooth, keep the audience engaged, end on a good note and leave a nice aftertaste (see what we did there? Okay, enough with the wine analogy). Jokes aside, paying close attention to these details will leave a great impression.
One of the best things you can do for the flow of your presentation is to cut the fluff. If it’s not relevant to the story, it doesn’t need to be in there – trust us, your audience will appreciate it. Be careful about what you decide to include! It will keep them on track with your points, they won’t get distracted, and they will really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Presentations also flow a lot better if you’re organized. One easy way you can do this is to include a “choose your own adventure” style table of contents in the beginning. First, it gives you a great opening to provide a brief summary of what you’ll be going over, so your audience is already on track and won’t be doing any guesswork. Second, it’ll make it really easy to find and return to a slide if you need to, instead of clicking endlessly through because you can’t remember where it is. Talk about a great strategy!
Of course, a lot of this is subconscious – they won’t specifically notice what you didn’t include because it’s not there! But after viewing a really thoughtfully put-together presentation, a viewer is left with the impression that it was clear and easy to understand, and gently flowed from one good point to another all the way through to the end. As a result, they’ll have that impression of you as well – that you’re thoughtful, well put-together, and that you will be this way about other elements of business as well.
You know how to get to the point fast
In today’s fast-paced world, people are busier than ever. When they have to go to a meeting, they know that it’s taking valuable time out of their day when they could be working on another million projects. Big tip: don’t waste their time!
People are looking for answers fast – no waffling, no sidetracking. They want to know what the problem is, and what solution you’ve come up with. They want to know how the business is doing, and what can be improved on. When you have a clear and concise presentation, you’re telling them that you understand this, and you’re giving them what they want.
Of course, that doesn’t mean to sacrifice on style. People also want the best of every world, and that doesn’t just mean a succinct and presentation – it means that, plus something beautiful and engaging. The best way you can do that is to brainstorm how every piece of your presentation is working together to effectively communicate your message without overdoing it.
Think about how your fonts are working with your story. Is it easy to tell what the headers and sub-headers are? Is it readable at a glance? Is it text-light overall? That’s exactly what you want to shoot for. Also think about images: don’t clutter your slides with images, try a simple and impactful image that adds to the message, and doesn’t distract from it. Keeping all of these things in mind and bringing them together in an effective presentation will let your audience know you care about their time, and your message is worth listening to.
We live in a complex world, and people are seeking simplicity and order. A beautifully designed slide deck gives them that, and they will appreciate you for it.
Your audience has seen enough standard presentations to have a well-constructed loathing built up for them. Most of them will probably recognize the presentation templates on-sight and will roll their eyes at the first glance of a slide with paragraphs of text on it – or worse, bullet points. (To avoid the boring bullet points, check out this list of alternatives we put together for you).
Don’t do it! They’ll discount your message immediately.
However, when you go above and beyond to design your slides beyond the boring standard, you’re telling the world you know how to think creatively. You’re telling them you know what a boring, standard design looks like, and you’re rejecting it.
The good news is, there are tons of ways to be innovative with your designs. A lot of them aren’t even that hard! Even the basics, like color scheme, font families, and image selection bump up your impression tenfold. People have seen the standard so many times, that simply breaking outside of that box sends a big message.
In other words, you know how to think outside the slide.
We get it. The work that goes into creating a great presentation can feel daunting, and it can be easy to lose sight of why we put in that work in the first place.
We hope with this post, we’ve reminded you of that and inspired you to keep at it in the future. Getting a message across in today’s saturated world can be so hard, it can feel like you’re shouting at the top of your lungs but everyone around you is also shouting. You don’t need a megaphone, you need another way to differentiate yourself! Presentations are a huge part of the business world, and creating great ones is a rare skill. That’s the whole reason I wrote my book, created this template, and put together blog posts for people who want to learn.
What are some experiences you’ve had with great presenters? What did you learn about them through their presentation? We would love to hear from you in the comments.