If you are like most people, then giving a presentation is not one of your favorite things to do.
After all, presentations can be scary! And the statistics don’t lie:
Of all the phobias out there, public speaking is considered the highest. 75% of individuals suffer from speech anxiety.
For the 7 years that Presentation Panda has been around, we have provided countless strategies for creating awesome looking slides. But even when walking into a presentation with an OUTSTANDING slide deck it’s still possible to get nervous.
Trust me, I’ve certainly been there. In fact, it’s totally natural to feel a bit nervous. Even the best presenters in the world get a bit nervous!
With this in mind, you owe it to yourself to learn how to calm your presentation nerves as much as possible. This way you can stay concentrated on focusing on your audience and delivering an engaging talk.
To help you out, we have put together ten simple strategies that will help you feel calm and relaxed before and during your presentation.
Presentation nerve calming tip #1.) Know your material
First things first … you must know your stuff inside and out.
As obvious as this sounds many people go into their presentation and “wing it” only half-knowing the information they are talking about.
And let me tell you … nothing is worse for presentation anxiety than trying to give a presentation on a topic that you’re not totally familiar with.
Making sure you’ve properly understood your audience and their needs will help ensure your material is on-point. In order to know what your audience is looking for, you’ve got to do some research. More on this later.
Also, remember that you can’t possibly cover everything you know in one presentation.
Pick out the most important points from your subject and supplement them with other material if time allows.
Presentation nerve calming tip #2.) Organize your slide deck
Having an organized presentation deck will also calm your nerves.
Arrange your slides so that you give yourself reminders about upcoming material.
If you’re using PowerPoint, the best way to keep your slide deck organized is by using transition slides that break up your material into different sections.
To give you a head start here are 5 free transition slides you can download today.
A professional presentation template is another way to get a head start.
By putting in the work to thoughtfully organize your slides you will have a better shot at guiding your audience through your message and getting them to act.
Beyond the organization part, you also want to make sure your slide deck looks as nice as possible. Going into a presentation with a snazzy looking presentation will greatly reduce your presentation anxiety.
Presentation nerve calming tip #3.) Know your audience
We touched on this in tip #1.
Define what makes your audience unique by identifying their concerns and questions. The best way to do this is by finding people who are representative of your anticipated audience and ask what they would expect from the presentation.
If it makes sense, greet your audience members at the door and do a quick poll of why they are there and what their expectations are.
Presentation nerve calming tip #4.) Practice at a minimum for one hour
Getting familiar with your presentation material will build confidence and help you to deliver your words naturally (so you don’t sound like a robot).
Once your comfortable with the material its time is time to do a practice run. When you practice pull out your smartphone and record yourself. Then, when you’re done play it back and listen to the way you speak (your tone and your speed) and adjust appropriately.
I get it … many people do not like seeing and hearing themselves on camera but it’s one of the best ways to improve.
In terms of how much time you should practice your presentation, aim for at least one hour. Based on our recent subscriber survey, 79% put in at least one hour of practice while 44% put in at least 3 hours.
Presentation nerve calming tip #5.) Be prepared
Once you know what you are going to say, you need to be prepared for all the things that could hijack your presentation (technology issues, hostile questions, etc.)
You can’t account for everything that can go wrong, but you should try to anticipate potential problems and have backup plans place in case of equipment failure. If possible, give everything one last run-through in the actual environment. Remember to prepare responses to anticipated questions.
Presentation nerve calming tip #6.) Channel your inner calm
Nervousness causes physical reactions in the body which are mostly caused by an increase of adrenaline in your system. You can counteract these effects with a few simple techniques:
Practice belly breathing – Deep belly breathing is one of the simplest and fastest relaxation techniques. Also, if you’re into meditation, make sure to do some of that the day of your presentation as it can clear your head of negative thoughts. To pick just one of many recent studies, Zeidan et al. (2013) found that four 20-minute meditation classes were enough to reduce anxiety by up to 39%.
Smile – Did you know that it’s impossible to be fearful while smiling? Smiling is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemicals through your body.
Use visualization techniques – Imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is beyond thrilled with your presentation and reacting positively (standing up, clapping, cheering, picking you up with “we are the champion” playing in the background) … you get the idea!
Positive visualization is very powerful.
Presentation nerve calming tip #7.) Power Stance
Practicing confident body language is another way to reduce your presentation anxiety.
When your body is physically demonstrating confidence, your mind will follow suit. If you don’t believe me try this simple exercise:
- Sit in a chair and stay hunched over for 1 minute. Notice how you feel.
- Now, stand up, pinch your shoulders back, and put your hands on your hips for 1 minute. Notice how you feel again.
After doing the above exercise you should clearly be able to tell the difference between how you feel between sitting down hunched over and standing up in a strong power stance.
While you don’t want to be jutting out your chest in an alpha gorilla pose all afternoon researchers like Amy Cuddy have shown that using power stances a few minutes before giving a talk creates a lasting sense of confidence and assurance. Whatever you do, don’t sit–sitting is passive. Standing or walking a bit will help you harness those stomach butterflies.
Presentation nerve calming tip #8.) Exercise the day of presentation
If you know when you’ll be speaking publicly, plan a good workout earlier in the day.
If you’re pressed for time or energy, even a brief walk can really help.
We all know that exercising reduces anxiety because when you exercise you release endorphins that make you feel better. Exercise also increases the body temperature, which can have a calming effect. It distracts you from your worries and helps you feel more confident.
Presentation nerve calming tip #9.) Don’t memorize word for word
Unless you’re reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or your marriage vows, there’s no need to memorize every word of any speech.
Attempting to do so will simply increase stress, and cause greater nervousness if the sequence of the words you’re trying to memorize goes amiss.
Presentation nerve calming tip #10.) Look at a picture of someone your love right before you get on stage
This isn’t a widely recognized tip but it works wonders for me.
Before I start my presentation I have a habit of pulling out my phone or glancing at my Apple Watch to look at a picture of someone I love and think about how thankful I am they are in my life. Practicing gratitude will change your mindset and eliminate your presentation anxiety.
As Tony Robbins once said, “gratitude is the solution to anger and fear” It’s so true! You truly can’t feel fear and gratefulness at the same time. It’s impossible!
When it comes to presenting, nerves are pretty much expected. The trick is not letting your nerves get the better of you!
Find ways to take the focus off your nervousness and put that energy to positive use. By controlling as much of the uncertainty as you can, you increase your confidence in your ability to deliver an excellent presentation. This confidence then counteracts your nerves and you create a positive cycle for yourself.
Nerves are not your enemy and you don’t have to fear public speaking. For your next presentation, be knowledgeable, be well practiced and prepared, and try out some of the tips outlined in this article.
Now get out there and impress your audience with your calm and cool delivery of a great presentation!
Here is my question for you …
Which of the presentation nerve calming methods in this post do you like the most?
Sound off in your comments below… And please remember to be specific as possible.
Also, do you have a friend that is currently a bit nervous about his/her upcoming presentation and could benefit from learning about these tips to stay calm in front of an audience? If so, send them a link to this blog post right now. I’m sure, they will return the favor to you one day!
Finally, if you enjoyed reading this post, please remember to like and share using the sharing icons to the left.
Unless you’re numbers oriented, looking at data is very BORING. That’s why it’s your job to make the data not boring!
To help get you on the right path, we are going to cover 5 smart tips on how to present data effectively in your next PowerPoint presentation.
Believe it or not, beyond trying to help people fall in love, Match.com has made us fall in love with their data presentation skills based on their recent ppt survey report, Singles in America, which presents insightful data about singles, dating, and more.
Let’s go through some slides examples from their survey presentation and discuss what they did right!
PowerPoint Data Visualization Tip #1 – Mix and Match
Looking at their slides, we love the way they mixed up their presentation of the data, using numbers on one side and a simple chart on the other. It flows really nicely, and they make sense together, but it mixes up the style just enough to keep you engaged.
Charts can be super helpful – they are great for when you are trying to talk while your audience is looking at the slide. You can use them as a visual aid to complement what you are talking about, instead of the text on the slide competing with the words coming out of your mouth.
Charts are also often a very clear way to present your data because the visual cues are a lot easier to get across. You can use a couple nice colors to make it stand out, and easily compare things like profits across years or responses across different ages. That kind of stuff is hard (and boring) to present using just text.
But not all data is like that. You see in the slide above that they are highlighting numbers from just one group, or results from a single question. This is an excellent example of how to present numbers in an interesting way. It looks great to have the text with the number highlighted by being a bit bigger. Those are some impressive stats, too, which draws the eye right to it – 270% is quite the attention-getter.
But to mix things up on the other side of the slide, they presented the data in a simple donut chart. It’s a really nice visual contrast to the left half of the slide and makes the slide as a whole way more inviting and engaging. Wouldn’t you agree?
As a side note, we also love their overall presentation on the slide here. The text both complements the slide and stands out, and they used one of our tips that we recommend in this article about how to overlay text on an image: the white text on a transparent shape technique. It allows the image to still show, but be more in the background, and really lets the text pop. It is an easy way to use an image that is super relevant, but too busy to put text directly on.
PowerPoint Data Visualization Tip #2 – Avoid the PPT Default Trap
Sure, the PowerPoint default chart is easy. But it is also boring, and you are better than that!
For all the effort you put into creating amazing slides, you do not want to just slap your results into a basic, default chart (with the same tired default color scheme) and be done with it. You want to go beyond the standard PowerPoint chart defaults and look for CREATIVE ways to display your information.
If you look, you will see that there are defaults for everything; there are even PowerPoint presentation templates for surveys. But who wants to present their survey the way everyone else is?
Using the default charts is easy, sure. But it just does not look that great – it takes a little more effort to make them look awesome. Expert presentation designers always find a way to go above and beyond the standard formatting that PowerPoint provides.
Taking a look at our example, notice how the pie charts have their own unique style to them. The minimalist style, with the larger yellow portion representing the results, contrasted against the smaller blue portion, is fantastic and very unique. There is also no data shown on the chart itself, but instead, it is shown in large bold font in the text underneath the chart.
Even when they present the data in the text underneath the pie charts, they keep it simple. They only highlight the important portion, and when they reference the percentage, the font color is the same as the corresponding part of the chart. The minimalist text really complements the overall simple presentation.
We definitely do not mean simple in the way that we refer to the PowerPoint default charts here. For sure, these took some work to make them look this great. The difference here is that the design is purposefully simple and clear, to enhance the presentation and make it easy to scan and get the key takeaways quickly. Ultimately, it is simple for the audience, not for you. But it is so worth it!
Another thing we love is their use of color. Notice how bright and fun the slide looks. They used colors that contrast beautifully (teal and yellowish orange) with the white text, which was an excellent choice. If you love these color choices but are a little confused at how to do that yourself, check out our list of tips on how to pick colors for your PowerPoint presentation.
PowerPoint Data Visualization Tip #3 – Sometimes the Best Chart is No Chart
We know, that seems like kind of a funny tip on a list about how to present data effectively in PowerPoint – your mind kind of automatically jumps to charts and graphs – but just hang in there.
This is a bit of the “less is more” kind of advice. Sometimes all you need is the data highlights and a nice way of presenting them on the slide.
Look at the example slide for this – notice that there is no chart showing the proportions or anything. Really, it’s just a few stacked boxes with some text and numbers. If you’re wondering how to present numbers in PowerPoint, this is it. The background image helps a lot because it relates to their biggest finding, so it is relevant and creates interest.
Also, notice that there are only three data points on the slide. We bet the survey included a lot more answer choices – but who cares? The presentation designer probably ignored those on purpose. But why?
It is likely that they understand their data, they understand their audience, and they know that they just need to focus on the most important findings. Is the audience really going to care if 2% of singles got the best results when they flirted at their local zoo? The audience does not really care about the lower numbers because they want to know what to do and where to go to have the most success. These are the most important results, so those are what are shown on the slide. This is the type of survey results PowerPoint example that shows how you can really edit down the data and make the slide look great.
Do you feel like something is missing from their presentation? We don’t! We get the message, it is easy to read through and understand quickly. This is the information we want to know, we don’t need a complicated bar chart showing the percentage of EVERY option presented in the survey.
Also, as a quick tip, you may notice that the percentage of the three answers adds up to more than 100%. This means that they let their audience choose more than one option, which means it would not work as a pie chart even if you wanted it to.
When you have data like that, where the audience was allowed to choose more than one and your audience really only cares about a portion of the findings, a simple numerical presentation like this is the simplest and most effective.
PowerPoint Data Visualization Tip #4 – Think Outside the Box
We know the phrase “think outside the box” is an overused buzz word but you really should be thinking outside the box and having fun with presenting your data.
Before you go running for the standard bar chart or pie chart, do a little brainstorming to think about some potential ideas of how presenting your data could be a little more UNIQUE.
It is geographical, like the example above? A map is an easy reference point, and it is just as easy to see what they are trying to get across. If your data is about a group of people, try using icons to represent them instead of the bar in the bar chart. There are all sorts of fun ways you can play with your data. Data visualization in PowerPoint doesn’t have to mean graphs! This is a really fun way to turn your survey results into presentations that are interesting and fun.
You can see in our example that it looks so much cooler than something you would see in a typical bar chart. We all know the map of the U.S. pretty well, and we know where we live. It is easy to see where those locations are, and they have them labeled on the right for clarity as well.
Of course, don’t go extreme with it:
We’re not saying you should always avoid charts – sometimes charts are genuinely the best choice for your data. All we are saying is to think about how you can present your data well. This especially applies if you have a ton of data to present (which is sometimes unavoidable) because bar chart after bar chart is going to put your audience to sleep. Experiment with different styles and colors and images to keep it interesting!
PowerPoint Data Visualization Tip #5 – Overlay Data Onto Images
A super cool way to make your data look awesome is to find images that match the topic of your data and overlay your data onto the image. This will immediately cue the audience into what you are talking about, and help them remember it – and of course, it will look great!
Look at the slide for this example. The theme of the slide is communication, so the data is presented over the length of the megaphone image in the background.
This image is even a little more clever than that because it is talking about annoying dating advice. Who is more annoying than that guy with a megaphone, shouting useless cliches about love at you? This checks all the boxes for us.
Of course, creating slides like this takes a bit of effort. You have to find just the right image to work with your data and layout, and there are a lot of factors that go into that. On top of being relevant, it has to be high quality, with enough white space to write on, and not too busy to distract from the information. We know, it is quite a list of demands!
The end results, though, are worth it. If you pull it off, you’ve got an awesome and engaging slide with a clever visual cue sitting in the background. It’s really one of the best ways to present data in PowerPoint.
Presenting data in PowerPoint is fun stuff, right?
Hopefully, after reading this list of some of the best ways to present data in PowerPoint, you agree with us that it can be!
There are definitely a lot of things to keep in mind when you are putting data into your slide, but it is all in the spirit of creating a great presentation: make it beautiful, clear, and interesting.
Data is a part of that, and it is always worth it to put in some time into making sure it fits those criteria.
Here’s my question to you:
How do you feel about presenting numbers in PowerPoint? Do you use the standard bar charts and pie charts, or do you make it all your own? Or do you do a combination of both? Also, do you have any data visualization tips we missed or resources that really help you out? We would love to know what they are! Share them in the comments below.
Presenting to executives can be exciting BUT these presentations can also be pretty intimidating.
Let’s face it … senior executives can be a tough crowd:
They are often super impatient because their schedules are jam packed — and they have to make lots of high-stakes decisions, often with little time to weigh options. So, if you think upper management is going to sit still and wade through your lengthy deck with some big reveal at the end … THINK AGAIN! They’ll likely just interrupt you before you finish your deck.
Whatever your presentation is about, you won’t go very far if you haven’t prepared intensely for this moment.
That’s why the kind of slide deck you have at your disposal is just as important as your message.
As Eminem once said, you’ve got one shot, and you might not get another one, so here are nine tips to help you make a top-notch slide deck for your big upcoming executive presentation to the senior team.
Let’s get this executive party started!
1. Make THREE Key Points
When presenting to senior management you need to get to drive home your key message FAST.
While the topic you discuss is certainly nuanced and has many sub-topics meant for discussion, an executive presentation is not really the place to get into all the tiny little details.
Think about it this way:
If you had to summarize the whole meeting in three sentences, what would they be?
We’ve mentioned before that the human brain digests information more rapidly when they’re divided into nice tidy morsels of three.
So, if you can stick to three overarching talking points for your executive presentation you have a better chance of impacting your audience before they get too impatient.
Speaking of impatient senior execs, plan for the likely event that someone will hijack the meeting, talk and ask questions for most of it. Your VP didn’t get that far without being the sort of person who is decisive and inquisitive. While you might be the one at the top of the agenda, you’re not calling the shots.
That’s why having three concise points to plan your slide presentation around is so useful.
It makes it easier to stay calm and focused when you have three main points to talk about, rather than worry about remembering, say, six of them. If you go in with three points, your executive presentation is likelier to succeed because your presentation will be more organized, and also because you will be better able to keep everything on track if and when you are interrupted with questions from the higher-ups.
It’s also important that you start your presentation with a BANG and tell the executive team up front what you will be covering.
Doing this will give the senior leaders confidence that you’re going to use their time wisely. That leads us to our next point.
2. Keep your Presentation Short. Senior Executives Have Tight Schedules
Building off of the first point, you should remember that your 10:30 AM slot with your boss (or possibly the boss’s boss) is not the highlight of the day, or even possibly the week, for your audience. They might have a meeting a few hours later with the president of the company, or have some equally trying and stressful task at hand.
If they walk into your presentation and you’re rambling on a bit too much, they are not so likely to pay attention. In fact, they might start to get annoyed, which is the last thing you want.
That’s why you should keep your presentation – and your slide deck – as short as possible.
While you should expect their undivided attention as you talk to them about an issue that you have spent time and energy researching, this does not mean your slide deck should be any longer than normal.
This does not mean you skip over any important details; what it means is that you cut out everything that isn’t important. Ideally, this should give you three points to talk about. Sound familiar?
Execs are impatient, want to get to the point quickly, and are more interested in the key issues than the details. So aim to keep the deck super-short. 2-3 slides might be a crazy small number to have as a presentation in another situation, but it is not too short for an exec.
3. Be Extra Flexible
It’s common for senior executives to ask you to jump back to a previous slide or fast forward through your slides to a particular section of your presentation.
Also, don’t be surprised when executives interrupt you as you present a painstakingly crafted slide with “Got it. Next”.
An extended discussion on a particular slide may mean you need to fly through other less important slides in order to get back on track in terms of covering all of your slides.
Be ready to stop and change directions on a dime.
Heck, in some senior meetings, you may even forgo covering all of your slides because the discussion on a particular aspect of your presentation is going really well.
The key is to be FLEXIBLE and cover what they want to focus on — not necessarily what you want to. In order to achieve your objectives (e.g., more resources, budget, executive support, etc.), you may not need to go through every slide.
Here are a few tips for staying flexible during your presentation to senior management:
1) Know your PowerPoint presentation hacks so you can easily whiz through your PowerPoint deck and come across like a true presentation pro.
2) If your slide deck is running on the longer side, consider designing your presentation so that it has a “Prezi-like” choose your own adventure format. This will allow you to jump to specific sections of a presentation faster than Harry Potter can waive his magic wand.
3) Keep your supporting backup material on hand in case you need to reference something. That leads us to our next point.
4. Be Prepared to Back Up Your Arguments with Supporting Data When Necessary
So, thick presentation decks are the bane of a busy exec’s existence. How do you get around the fact that certain details, especially if you have a lot of data to share, might be referenced over the course of your presentation?
That’s where the “thunk factor” comes in. The “thunk” is the sound a heavy presentation printout makes when you put it on your boss’s desk.
During your executive presentation, you have to be prepared to answer any of the exec’s follow up questions with appendix material. While you might have a super short slide deck with just a couple of slides, this doesn’t mean you have to come shorthanded.
If you have important data to share with your audience, or maybe you have field or case studies that would prove useful to reference, you can supply everyone with a printout that carries your supporting data.
Don’t make the mistake of not being able to answer a senior exec’s question during your presentation. Executives are gifted at finding holes in your logic or content. They want to be sure you understand the consequences and implications, and that they can trust your analysis and recommendations.
5. WOW the Senior Team with Creative Visuals, Charts, Diagrams, and More
Like everyone else, execs don’t like boring slide decks!
There’s no reason to give someone a page full of numbers when you can just as well conceptualize it beautifully.
Diagrams help execs to speed-read and get a quick picture of what’s going on. Get creative with how you tell the story of your presentation.
Here are a few ideas for diagrams that will help you communicate the sometimes complex story of the numbers to your not-always-savvy boss:
Pie charts are a classic standby for showing what percentage of the market your company might have, but maybe you can try something a bit less routine. Maybe create a diagram with a colored map of your market, with different color saturations representing greater share.
Flow charts are a fun albeit sometimes messy way of showing cause and effect, like what happens between when a potential customer first signs up for your company’s new product through a blog campaign. Make sure that if you do use flow charts to highlight the most important points, you don’t necessarily have to keep things linear, but you might want to avoid getting as crazy as this flow chart.
Timelines are useful if, for example, you are introducing a new sales plan or major software implementation to your directors or other executive team. The timeline should feature the major dates, if applicable, for scheduled rollouts, and should set tangible milestones which can later be used to judge progress. Ultimately, a good timeline can help you set the baseline for whether or not your project will be deemed a success, so that is why it is a very useful diagram to include in your appendix material.
Pie charts, flow charts, timelines, and maps are just a few of the many outstanding methods for diagramming context to quickly educate executives on the entire situation — and they like it that way. Look for ways to convert text and data into diagrams that show how all the parts fit together.
Need some help designing charts, timelines, and other awesome looking slides for an upcoming presentation to senior management? Our professional “Influencer” presentation template has over 200 delicious slides that you can download to your computer instantly.
Make your executive team love you forever and get your copy now.
6. Keep Your Text Short to Make Your Points Quickly
Of course, sometimes you have to write things down, and diagramming simply will not do. Obviously your tool of choice, if it’s not diagrams, are words. When you do have to write, we’ve said before that you should do everything you can to be as concise as possible.
Here are some really useful executive presentation tips to keep in mind when you are brainstorming the display text to use in your slide deck:
1) Execs think fast, process fast, and hate having their time wasted, so write text to enable speed-reading and quick understanding of the thought at hand.
2) Use short phrases and elaborate on them verbally. You should utilize bullet point lists whenever possible, and place each talking point on a separate line. That way, your ideas naturally organize themselves in a manner which is visually easier to process and comprehend. As communications coach Carmine Gallo says, you need to “think twitter like headlines!”
3) A really good tip for writing concisely is to avoid using passive voice. For example, don’t say “market share will increase by 25% because of our marketing plan.” Instead, say “our marketing plan will increase market share by 25%.” Using active instead of passive voice will cut down on fluffy words, which saves vital space on your slide. It also the wonderful effect of making you sound more confident and certain about yourself.
Lastly, another method for dropping a few words is to eliminate basic articles, including “the,” “on,” “and,” and so on.
One of the cardinal sins of any PowerPoint presentation is writing in complete sentences.
For the love of humanity, don’t put full sentences on slides — it slows the presentation down.
Even worse, you will probably end up reading the sentence aloud, which looks and sounds terrible and certainly won’t win you any points with your audience. Longer, wordier sentences are definitely a no-no and should be avoided at all costs.
Hopefully that’s not news to you, but it never hurts to remind people that they should stay away from writing in full sentences. If you can keep your diction short, punchy, and to the point, your executive presentation stands a great chance of leaving your audience with a positive impact.
7. Pay Extra Attention to Slide Hygiene
Executives have high standards — for themselves and others — and quite often are perfectionists when it comes to their work.
They expect the same from you.
Before you deliver your big executive presentation, make a checklist to verify that your slide comes across as crisp and coordinated.
What are some examples of the presentation design errors that drive senior managers crazy?
Spelling errors are totally unacceptable, and considering that Microsoft Word comes with Spellcheck and browser extensions such as Grammarly point out basic spelling mistakes, you have no excuses for the dreaded red spellcheck underlining any of your text (except for company names and jargon, of course).
Don’t forget that even the best spellchecker will fail to detect homonyms such as they’re/their or where/were. There’s a time and a place for making those sorts of silly spelling switches, but an executive presentation isn’t one of them.
Grammar errors such as inconsistently placing a period at the end of one sentence but omitting it in the next one are to be avoided. Pick one style and follow through the whole way. The same goes for header weight and size; don’t switch from bold size 16 font on one slide to normal size 16 the next. In a similar vein, avoid inconsistent capitalization in slide titles, different bullets points on different slides, or switched fonts.
Lastly, one of the most annoying problems that creep up from time to time when you are creating a PowerPoint presentation are formatting issues. For example, it’s terribly annoying when for some strange reason the margins are not all completely even, or when you press enter to skip a line but the gap between lines of text is mysteriously larger below than above.
Pay attention to these sorts of little details because the exec is. If you are pitching yourself to lead a bold new project that moves the company in a different direction, how confident do you think an exec will feel if your slide has an annoying tendency to have inconsistent spacing? Don’t give them an excuse to say no to you!
8. Craft a Stunning Presentation
Obviously, as a PowerPoint presentation design website, we’re always going on about how when it comes to design, less is usually more.
It’s so important that your audience is able to focus directly on you and your ideas. A slide deck that is too visually interruptive or busy with images, fonts or colors that compete with each other is not a winning executive presentation pitch.
You know a lot, or you wouldn’t be invited to the meeting. But resist the urge to throw it all up on your slides.
Here’s a few pointers for creating simple yet beautiful slides for executives:
1) Use clean visuals that represent your message with a few key points per slide.
2) Carefully craft meaningful headings that could tell the story on its own. A punch box at the bottom to reinforce your point can also be quite useful. If you can’t come up with a punchy summarizing statement, consider if you really need that slide.
3) As mentioned in tip #1, harness the power of three!
4) Create a consistent theme of colors, fonts, and layout
5) Make sure your slides pass the “glance test” – people should understand your slide in less than three seconds
Of course, these are just a few tips. For a complete arsenal of presentation design tips and resources that will turn you into a PowerPoint pro click here.
9. Know Your Audience
When it comes to presenting to the senior team knowing your audience is an absolute MUST:
How much do the senior team members know about your topic? (i.e., how much time should you spend on providing background information?)
What topics are hot buttons or particularly interesting to the executives based on their current business goals?
Which senior execs would be politically threatened by your recommendations?
What can you find out about their pet peeves or preferences?
So, how do you find out the answers to these questions you might ask?
You need to find an insider who can coach you on how to best present your material to the targeted executive or group of executives.
That person could perhaps be:
* Your boss or executive sponsor
* One of the executive’s direct reports
* An executive’s admin assistant
You’re looking for inside information on your audience so that you can avoid derailing your presentation and wasting everyone’s time.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the call when it comes to compiling the best possible slide deck for your upcoming presentation to senior management. This is the sort of opportunity that probably does not come around very often, so prep hard, nail down your three main talking points, keep your slides concise, come equipped with a useful printout full of nifty diagrams to accompany your presentation, and keep your slide design about as conservative as your dress code.
Other than that, don’t forget to smile and be yourself. And maybe give ‘em a firm handshake – that always helps!
I’d love to hear your upper management presentation success stories and what valuable lessons you have learned along the way. If you’re a senior executive, I’d love to hear your perspective as well.
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these tips for presenting to senior executives? If so, email them the link to this post.
Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Finally, if you are looking to create a top quality executive presentation, don’t forget to check out our excellent Influencer slide template deck, and check out some of these other great blog posts in our archive to learn more about creating the perfect presentation.
Photo Credits: iphone calendar by idownloadblog.com
The doors are closed, everyone’s sitting around the conference room table, notepads out, coffee in hand.
This is a moment you’ve been preparing for months now. The chance to raise capital for your business and start down the road to success …
But first you have to pitch the investors.
How do you get potential investors excited about your business idea and engage them in a conversation about funding?
If you’re raising money for your business, having an impressive investor pitch deck is perhaps the key component in your fundraising toolkit.
You wouldn’t play baseball without a bat, or paint a picture without a canvas, would you?
Having a winning investor presentation deck on hand is no different.
If there was ever a time to develop a beautiful presentation it would be for your investor pitch deck. If your pitch deck design sucks, what sort of message does that send about your idea?
People won’t trust you can deliver the goods.
To make sure that investors ask for more, not just show you to the door, you need a kickass startup pitch deck that makes the case for your business. Today we’re going to talk about 13 “must have” slides that are essential to any winning investor pitch.
Let’s get started!
Pitch Deck Slide #1 – Vision and Value Proposition – Your elevator pitch in a slide
Thanks to Twitter and memes, pretty much everyone these days is familiar with the art of writing out complex ideas in a short amount of words. Of course, not everyone is very good at this, but you’ve already made it this far!
A quick one sentence overview of your business that proposes the value that you provide to your customers is an essential start to any winning investor deck presentation.
Think about this slide like you approach scrawling out a 140 character tweet, and try to sum it up in a way that your parents (or anyone else who isn’t a technophile) would understand.
One common approach that tech companies make with the value proposition is by comparing their enterprise to another well-known company. For example, you see many pitches that start with things like:
“We’re the Uber for Coffee”
“We’re like Yelp but for Movies”
Drawing these comparisons can help, but just make sure that your comparison makes sense and you’re not just name dropping a big name company like “Uber” to signify growth potential. Your business model has to truly be similar to the company you drawing a comparison to.
The other issue to keep in mind when you make this sort of value proposition is that while a major brand can simplify things, people will automatically envision your app/company/idea working in exactly the same way. So it’s important to distinguish as you go through with your presentation how you follow Netflix or Uber’s model but also explain how things might be different.
Pitch Deck Slide #2 – Introduction – Tell people who you are and why you are here
Besides your name and what you’re doing in front of a group of investors, there’s not really much that needs to be said as far as introductions are concerned. If you’re proposing a new app to make travel bookings easier and you once spent a year backpacking around the world, that might be a relevant bit of information to include in your bio.
If it isn’t relevant, cut it out!
A great pitch deck doesn’t have more; it has less. Nowhere is that more true than your intro slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #3 – Target Market Opportunity – Here is the addressable market and the prospects who will buy your product
Once you’ve introduced yourself to your potential investors, it’s time to explain the most important part of your company and the reason why it exists in the first place: your customers!
Use this slide to expand on who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. Do they live in urban areas on the coasts? How many of them hold college degrees? What is the total market size and how do you position your company within the market? If you can find the data, investors will want to know how much people or businesses currently spend in the market to get a sense of the total market size.
This is where you tell the story about the scope and scale of the problem you are solving.
If it makes sense for your business, you’ll want to divide your market into segments that you will address with different types of marketing and perhaps different types of product offerings.
Be careful with this slide, though. It’s tempting to try and define your market to be as large as possible. Instead, investors will want to see that you have a very specific and reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.
When you’re looking for a brilliant investor pitch presentation, make sure that it includes easy-to-edit graphics which your audience can look at and instantly understand the data being shown.
Influencer Presentation Template gives your audience a few nifty graphics to include when you talk about your market share and how you’re targeting your customer base.
Pitch Deck Slide #4 – Problems and Solutions – Define the problems people have, and solutions you offer to relieve this pain
If there was no such thing as rain, there would be no need for umbrellas. No problem, no solution waiting to solve it.
If you aren’t solving some problem in the world, you are going to have a long uphill climb with your business. But you’ve no doubt identified a real problem on the market, and it just so happens that you’ve found a solution.
Use this slide to talk about the problem you are solving and who has the problem. This section of your investor pitch deck should tell your audience how it’s raining, and you’ve got one hell of an umbrella to keep them dry. You can talk about the current solutions in the market, but don’t spend too much time on the competitive landscape on this slide—you’ll have a chance to do that on a later slide.
Doing some market research (focus groups, 1v1 interviews, online surveys, etc.) is a great way to learn about the problems your target customers face. The more you can show you understand your customers issues the better.
When talking about your problem focus on a story that people can relate to.
The more you can make investors feel a personal connection to your problem (or somebody else’s problem), the more they will get your business and what you are trying to accomplish. A good slide for this section should explain the problem and solution in 3-5 different steps, and it might be a good idea to include icons adjacent to each talking point when you’re putting it together.
You may also want to include some customer testimonials talking about their initial frustrations and the happiness your product or service has brought to them.
Pitch Deck Slide #5 – Product – Briefly describe your product and benefits it provides to potential customers
Once you have outlined the problem and solution to your potential investors, it’s time to explain to them how your product will change everything.
Ideally, this slide should have a combination of relatable stock image, a mockup (especially if you’re selling an app), and a few major talking points that sum up how your product addresses the problem discussed in the previous slide.
You’ll be tempted to move this slide closer to the beginning of your pitch deck – don’t do that! This is classic story telling at its best; dramatically build up the problem and describe how bad it is for lots of people:
Then, Volia: Now your product or service is coming to the rescue!
Most startups pay a lot of attention on their product when instead they need to be focused on their customers and the problems those customers face. By keeping your investor pitch deck focused on your customers you will tell a more impactful story.
Pitch Deck Slide #6- Business/Revenue Model – How your business strategy is going to make your investors lots of money
Once you have provided lots of exciting info on your amazing product or service, you need to go into some detail on how this is going to bring in the cash!
After all, investors do like being paid back!
For example, will your customers pay a one-time payment to use your service or are there various monthly pricing models available?
It’s important to go into some details here.
The best way to lay all of these ideas out in one slide is to include some sort of sequential layout with icons and text, so that it’s easy for investors to see how you go from A to B and make money along the way.
Pitch Deck Slide #7 – Status and Milestones – Where you are in terms of product delivery, and specify the next key milestones
If you already have sales or early adopters using your product, talk about those accomplishments on this slide
Investors want know that your business model is sound and has already worked at some stage.
I’m sure you have seen this on any Shark Tank episode when the sharks light up with excitement that the product being introduced has already brought in a significant volume of sales.
Any proof you have that validates your solution is extremely powerful.
For example, if you’ve already had five thousand users download your beta version and thirty percent of them said they would sign up for an enterprise edition down the road, this would be a great time to bring that up!
You can also use this time to talk about your accomplishments:
What big milestones have you achieved so far and what are the major next steps you plan on taking?
A product or company roadmap that outlines key milestones is helpful here.
A great design pitch deck should have at least one of these slides, if not two – and they don’t need to be fancy. Notice how in the layout above, you can have an image with a couple bullet points to outline your status and milestones.
Pitch Deck Slide #8 – Marketing and Sales Strategy – How you reach your customers and get them to sign up
Marketing is one of the most important points in your investor pitch deck. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t sell it then you will fail – and no VC is going to give you a penny.
That’s why you should have a slide that explains how you reach your customers and get them to sign up. A slick infographic like the one you see above is a cool way to do explain the sometimes-complex levels of a sales and marketing funnel in one slide. Each step should have a corresponding icon with a short blurb of text that describes the marketing process for your company.
Targeting and winning over customers can sometimes be the biggest challenge for a new company.
That’s why it’s important to demonstrate that you know how to reach your customers and what sales channels you plan on using.
If your marketing and sales process is different than your competitors, it’s important to highlight that here.
Pitch Deck Slide #9 – Team – Make investors believe in the people behind your company
Why are you and your team the right people to build and grow this company? What experience do you have that others don’t? Highlight the key team members, their successes at other companies, and the key expertise that they bring to the table.
Even if you don’t have a complete team yet, identify the key positions that you still need to fill and why those positions are critical to company growth. For example, if you plan on expanding into direct sales but don’t have a head of B2B sales, let investors know. Even if you don’t have a hire yet, it shows that you have a plan and the ambition to reach your lofty goals.
The best investor pitch deck always has a slide that explains why your management team – from your CTO to your Creative Director – is strong and more than capable of paying back the investment. You should include headshots of the key members of your team and a sentence or two (max) describing their roles and importance to your company.
Pitch Deck Slide #10 – Financials – Explain your company’s financial health
OK, don’t actually show your financials off here. In-depth spreadsheets are difficult to read and absolutely the worst idea to include in an investor pitch presentation. Limit yourself to charts that show sales, total customers, total expenses, and profits.
You should be prepared to discuss the underlying assumptions that you’ve made to arrive at your sales goals and what your key expense drivers are.
Remember to try and be realistic. Investors see “hockey stick” projections all the time and will mentally be cutting your projections in half. If you can explain your growth based on traction you already have or compared to similar company in a related industry, that is extremely useful.
The slide you use to explain your financial situation should ideally be an infographic and give a bird’s eye view of your financials. Save the actual docs for a more secure environment and keep them in a virtual data room if investors would like to see the nitty-gritty bottom line.
Pitch Deck Slide #11 – Competition – Show who you’re competing against and explain how you’re better
Lebron has Steph Curry. Rocky had everyone from Clubber Lang to Ivan Drago. Your business has its rivals too; sometimes one, sometimes more.
Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your potential customers are using alternative solutions to solve their problems today. So you need to describe how you fit into the competitive landscape and how you’re different than the competitors and alternatives that are on the market today.
What key advantages do you have over the competition? What “secret sauce” do you have that others don’t?
The key here is explaining how you are different than the other players on the market and why customers will choose you instead of one of the other players on the market. A side-by-side comparison of you versus the Stephen Curry’s and Kevin Durant’s of your world is a good way to show investors how you stack up.
Pitch Deck Slide #12 – Investment – In this slide you should define what kind of investment you are looking for and how you are planning to deploy it to meet the specified milestones
Finally, it’s time to actually ask for dough!
That’s why you’re creating this awesome investor presentation, correct? At some point your potential investors will want to know how much money you want
That’s why you need to be able to explain why you need the amount of money you are asking for and how you plan on using the money. Investors will want to know how their money is being used and how it is going to help you achieve the goals you are setting out for your business.
If you already have some investors on board, now is when you should be talking about those other investors and why they chose to invest.
This investor pitch slide is a bit tricky, but this tree infographic is actually a really neat way to detail the various uses for investor capital you have in mind. Will you hire more developers? Rent a bigger office space? Order premium bean bag chairs for all your employees? Best to leave that last one out, but you should visualize your hopes for investment in this slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #13 – Contact – Don`t forget to leave your contact details for investors to reach you quickly
Well, this one is pretty obvious. By the time you finish your investor pitch presentation, hopefully you’ve really given them something serious to think about. Include a final slide with relevant contact information and then cross your fingers and hope for the best!
There are some pretty obvious things you should include in your investor pitch deck, so hopefully you know now what works and what doesn’t. We hope that you’ve liked the sample slides we’ve included here, so the next time you have an investor pitch you come equipped with a stellar looking deck that has all the right information and looks great too.
What pitch deck do you plan on using the next time you have a round of funding come up? We’d love to know! Don’t forget, Influencer makes a perfect investor presentation pitch deck – you can get it here on Graphic River.
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation tips? If so, email them the link to this post.
Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Here’s the brutal truth about PowerPoint presentations:
Most of them are terrible. Ya, I’m talking about the pull your hair out and stab your hand with a pen kinda terrible!
Let me ask you a question …
Are you getting tired of the same boring stock images, the same so-so fonts, the same unengaging text, the same plain vanilla graphics, the same tired vectors?
If the answer is YES, then we have some really awesome presentation design tips that will turn your slides from super lame to sleek and professional in the blink of an eye. We are going to share with you a bundle of really effective slide design techniques, focusing specifically on images, fonts, whitespace, and custom graphics.
Yes, today we are going to be talking about 5 presentation tips and tricks that will set your PowerPoint slides on fire!
So without further ado, let’s kick this one off with a helpful infographic (below), and then we’ll talk more details about each design tip in the descriptions below.
You can embed this infographic on your site (just copy the code below):
<p>Please include attribution to <a href=’Presentation Panda’>Presentation Panda</a> with this graphic.<br /><br /><a href=’http://presentationpanda.com/blog/5-presentation-design-tips/’><img src=’http://presentationpanda.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Presentation-Design-Tips-PowerPoint-Tips-and-Tricks.png’ alt=’5 Presentation Design Tips for Amazing Looking Slides’ width=” border=’0′ /></a></p>
Presentation Design Tip #1: Find Amazing Images For Your Slides With Unsplash
Photography has always been an integral part of presentation design.
A good presentation image of something or someone helps people relate more to what you are talking about, and illustrates the practical rationale behind your presentation – whether you are discussing sea urchin biology or the hottest new nightlife apps for 2016.
Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing lame presentation stock images of people in suits jumping up in the air.
Not only are a lot of these stock photos tacky, but some of them cost mucho dinero!
Why waste your money?
Luckily, these days there are now tons of places to find high quality, commercial-free images for presentations, but our personal favorite is Unsplash:
Unsplash has nothing but AWESOME images — no bull$%&# ones. Their high-resolution image library is practically an art gallery in itself.
Their website is also super simple to navigate:
It’s clearly been done by a professional designer — and their search bar makes it quick and easy to find the type of image you’re looking for. For example, if you want to find presentation stock images of someone hiking, you can type in “nature” and you will see tons of beautiful nature images with and without people in the shot (we couldn’t resist linking to the page).
And there are so many different types of images to choose from for your presentations. You can find photos of high rise cityscapes, foggy forests, laughing children, or neatly-organized hipster worktables in all their high-resolution glory.
If you know you want to utilize beautiful looking images but don’t want to deal with the burden of choice (how Nietzschean of you) you will probably really like the curated collections on offer. The themes are as varied and plentiful as the oeuvre of Unsplash itself, with different Unsplash users showing off their curatorial talents to come up with the best possible grab bag of designs they can think of.
Keep in mind that these collections aren’t always completely related – for example, you might see a shot of a cute and cuddly walrus in the same collection as a super sleek black and white shot looking up at gleaming steel skyscrapers. But there’s plenty of design inspiration to be gleaned from the Unsplash collections – check out their website if you haven’t already!
Presentation Design Tip #2: Spice Up Your PowerPoint Deck With Cool Fonts From Font Squirrel
Every computer comes with a set of fonts pre-installed as standard. This includes fonts like Arial and Times New Roman (we write these blog posts in Arial. Ugh).
Many people don’t realize that there are other options out there – there are loads of beautiful, simple fonts for presentation slides to choose from.
Today there are tons of custom fonts that you can download for free from places like Font Squirrel.
They have categorized their entire font collection into dozens of different easily searchable categories, making it easy for you to find the ideal font for your type of presentation.
Some personal font favorites that can be downloaded from Font Squirrel include:
Bebas Neue – just like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce you can put that $*&% on everything. We like this font so much that we decided to included in our award winning PowerPoint template Influencer
Pacifico – a presentation font that is not for the faint of heart, this is a great style to use for headers and your title page. Especially great if you want to give off more of a laidback vibe – it’s all in the California-cool name, after all.
Mathlete – like all good presentation fonts, Mathlete is the perfect choice for you if you want to impress your audience with big multi-syllable words in your headers. It only comes in CAPS, which gives off a go-big-or-go-home element to your presentation. But you’ll go big, we’re sure.
Chunk Five – this bold (literally) font is like Arial with a much louder personality. Don’t use this font if you want your audience to be captivated by your every word.
Lobster – not to be confused with Lobster 2, this versatile font makes a great choice for headers or subheader fonts – you can go anywhere on the spectrum of formal to informal with this one.
For an additional list of awesome fonts that can be downloaded from Font Squirrel click here
You can even click on the “most popular” tab and Font Squirrel will pull a list of the most popular fonts people are downloading.
Since Font Squirrel’s fonts are all free to download, there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t want to browse through their highly extensive collection (they have literally hundreds of them available) and see if there’s one that is particularly eye-catching.
Presentation Design Tip #3: Create Whitespace For Your Presentation Images Using Focused Blurs From PicMonkey
As we have talked about in the past, there are ways to create more whitespace when using “busy images” (images that have a lot going on and make it difficult for any text you may add stand out – not get drowned out by the noise of the image). Blurring is one way to add whitespace and make room for your text to shine.
PowerPoint has its own blur tool under the Artistic Effects Tab ( you can access this tab when you double click an image on the slide)
However, sometimes you may not want to blur the entire image because you want a particular part of your image to remain unblurred. That way you can keep the more aesthetically pleasing parts in the focused section of your photo while you fade the unwanted sections of it into the background. So, how do you go about doing this?
Enter PicMonkey, a free online photo editor that makes it super easy to create all-important whitespace without having to waste a lot of time doing it.
By using my “Focused Blur” technique using Pic Monkey you will be able to create … wait for it … a focused blur on a specific part of your image.
Does it seem a bit too intimidating for you to appropriately blur out a photo yourself?
It’s actually quite simple to pull this off.
Here are the steps:
- Find an image you like
- Upload it to Pic Monkey
- Click Edit Image
- Select the “Focal Zoom Feature”
- Select the area that you don’t want to blur and the tool will blur everything else other than that area
Of course if you have PhotoShop you can easily create a focused blur using that as well but I assume many people do not have a copy of PhotoShop – and when you have free photo editing tools for presentations like PicMonkey, you don’t really need to have PhotoShop anyways (that’s a lie, but you know what we mean).
There are lots of super neat tools that PicMonkey has on offer. The Focal Zoom Feature is just one of many of our favorites. There are tons of other great editing possibilities including canvas cropping, image sharpening, and color saturation – go ahead and check out what they have to offer. Once you start using PicMonkey to edit your photos and create lots of beautiful white space for your display text, you won’t ever want to go back!
Presentation Design Tip #4: Use Shape Union Make Your Own Custom PowerPoint Graphics By Combining Shapes
Okay, so what if you go to Unsplash or onto Graphic River looking for a good image or template to use for your presentation, but still come up empty?
Sometimes, the quickest way to get your hands on the perfect image is to create one yourself.
You’ll be surprised how the careful combination of shapes and lines can help you to create an awesome looking image, template, or layout for your slides. And, the nice thing is that this can all be done straight from PowerPoint or Keynote – so you don’t have to go onto some unfamiliar website or download a new software program.
Without trying to sound too general, we should point out that the standard drawing toolbars in PowerPoint or Keynote are SOMETIMES no match for the stunning professional stock imagery that professional graphic designers can put together using advanced image creation tools.
Regardless of your skill level you should definitely be able to adapt your slides to accommodate some really nice graphics. Creating your own custom PowerPoint graphics using shapes isn’t difficult.
Here are the three simple steps:
- Arrange some shapes however you want
- Select all of your shapes you want to combine
- Click on the Shape Union tool
Voila! Now you have a quick and dirty custom-made graphic for your presentation, and you did it without having to consult with an expensive professional designer.
Presentation Design Tip #5: Save Time Creating Custom Graphics For Your PowerPoint Slides with FreePik
If you have ever come across a stunning presentation there is a good chance that it was filled with nice looking vector graphics.
What are vector graphics?
Vector images are not like bitmap images that are based on pixels. Vector images use a mathematical formula to draw the images onscreen. That’s why they always look nice and crisp when scaled to fit anywhere from a wall-sized projection screen to your laptop.
Generally speaking, vector images are made up of a bunch of shapes that when combined represent the image. Because of this, they can be ungrouped and the individual shapes can be edited. That might sound pretty intimidating if you have never tried playing around with image editing software before, but we promise it’s really not that hard to figure out.
With Freepik you can download the images for free and use them commercially IF you provide attribution (give credit). If you don’t want to provide attribution you can pay a monthly fee of $10. We highly recommend putting up the $10 (just charge it to your company credit card) so that you don’t have lame copyright attribution blurbs making you look like a complete amateur.
The design of your presentation isn’t something to be underestimated or overlooked. If you have a simple, elegant PowerPoint presentation it makes a positive and strong impact on your viewers.
Hopefully the presentation tips and tricks we have shared with you here will help you master the important details that make a good presentation great.
So are you already using any one of these presentation hacks that we’ve discussed? What are some design deficiencies you have battled before that maybe you can fix by utilizing one of these principles? Let me know what you think and please try to be as specific as possible. Sound off in the comments below!
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation design tips? If so, email them this post.
Thanks for reading and be sure to post this article on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever your favorite social media channel is (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Hungry for more presentation design tips just like these? Check these out:
5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out
Impress Your Audience by Following These 5 Presentation Design Trends
5 Presentation Font Trends Worth Seeing