by Adam Noar
Emotional presentations are ones that stand out and get remembered.
We want what we do with presentations to be thought of as remarkable and worthy of continued discussion.
Simply put, we want our audience to commit to a relationship with us.
But to achieve this, we need to show them value, trust, and possibly most importantly, create an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION with them.
Many of us have come across at least one presentation that was exceptionally designed and really captured our attention.
Even if you aren’t a professional presentation designers or graphic artist, you know what looks good and reward presenters that have got their aesthetics just right by giving them your attention.
More and more, companies are focusing on building a personality and story into their presentations. This evokes an emotional reaction from an audience.
Personality turns a lifeless product or soulless company into more than sum of its parts. Expressing the company’s personality helps create an emotional connection with the audience.
This isn’t just something large corporations do – savvy entrepreneurs and one-person shops have also caught on.
Effective emotional presentations are created for human beings first.
Emotional design will get your audience excited about your product, service, or idea.
Advertisers have employed emotion to sell products and build trust since the dawn of advertising (probably around the time when the fictional world of Mad Men started).
The best advertisements sell a FEELING or AN IDEA more so than an actual product.
At its core, emotional design shows empathy for the audience a presentation serves.
Design like this puts the audience first, before the company or the business owner and their goals. Anything the company wants to accomplish is first filtered through the lens of:
1) How will this serve our audience better?
2) How will this product or service make their lives easier?
3) What about this product or service is valuable to them?
Effective emotional design is also focused on simplicity. Not purely for the sake of aesthetics, but because it is easier to trigger a single emotion response than several.
Your end goal is to lead your audience to a single emotional response, such as “I need this to solve X” or “This made me laugh so I want to tell my friends about it.”
Elements Of Emotional Presentations
Presentation design that speaks to emotion is:
CLEAR. The flow of the slides makes sense and all the points on each slide are logical.
VISUAL. Design looks exciting, professional, and consistent.
FUN. Each images/graphic wants to be looked at, and the text wants to be read. The slides surprise the audience and build anticipation.
MEMORABLE. The design stands out and is unique.
PERSONAL. It reflects the honest personality of what it represents.
Effective emotional presentation design speaks to THREE main points:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The look of a slide is an instant trust builder or trust loser. If there are lots of text, horrible stock photos or poorly matched colors, an audience member will turn off and pay attention to something else.
HOW IT FUNCTIONS. Once your audience has past a favorable first impression, they’ll look for things like consistency and flow as you take them through your story.
PERCEIVED VALUE. Because attention spans are short, what’s the value of paying attention to your presentation? Is your presentations content worthwhile? Is the product or service you’re selling worth paying for?
Treat Your PowerPoint Presentation Like A Person
As a presentation designer, the easiest way I’ve found to apply all of the above information to accomplish presentation goals for my clients (and my own projects) is by thinking of the PowerPoint presentation slide as a person.
It sounds kinda silly (or at least it sounds silly for me to write it out), but it helps properly apply emotion to goals. For example, I think in general terms first:
How would they dress? What is their style like?
How would they communicate?
What would they enjoy/not enjoy?
Each time I have to factor a goal into the design, I think about what this presentation person would do.
If the presentation is about selling a product, I would think about how would they tell someone else to buy it, using what language? What colors and typefaces would represent their personal style?
By giving human qualities to non-human things we can give life and emotions to what we make, which then evokes emotions from our audience.
This emotional resonance, when used correctly and honestly, can create a strong connection between a presentation, and its audience.
Strong emotional presentation design isn’t an afterthought or something you quickly add in right at the end. It’s factored into the entire design process. This way all illustrations, text, and layout are designed with the correct and CONSISTENT feeling.
Apple is a company that has this process down cold. Think about it …
Would Apple sell as many computers or software if it didn’t all look gorgeous?
Even the way its products are sold (from its keynote presentations highlighting case studies over features to its “coming soon” videos that feel more like feature films than technology products) appeals more to how you feel when you use them than the actual technical specifications.
Emotionally charged PowerPoint presentations make people feel good. It makes an audience feel like they belong with the product, company, person.
And when you make your audience genuinely feel good, you’ve successfully stood out and been noticed in the best possible way.
Here’s my question for you …
After reading this article, do you think you focus your presentations more on “emotional design.” Please be specific as possible with your comments.
Also, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation tips for his/her upcoming sales pitch or business presentation? If so, send them a link to this article. I’m sure they will return the favor on day.
Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Cover Photo: Martin Fisch (Remixed By Adam Noar)
Emotional Design Elements: Mike Deerkoski (Remixed By Adam Noar)
Apple Keynote: Tom Coates