Most people use Powerpoint as their main method of creating a sales presentation. However, we have all seen some dodgy slideshows that catch the attention of clients for all the wrong reasons.
Some people might think the content is what is important. It is important but a slideshow is supposed to be an aid, not a crutch. Great design can help you overcome any noise and get across the sales message as it was intended. Creating a captivating sales presentation (no matter what software you use) is simple if you follow a few, seemingly common sense guidelines:
Choose fonts and colors that are easy to see by all
Make sure to choose the slide background color and font color based on contrast. The font color shouldn’t blend in with the background otherwise the client won’t be able to see anything. It will be even better if you decide on a standard look before starting to create your presentation and then move on from there.
There are great tools to help you figure out if your color contrast is ideal. One of these is the Color Contrast Calculator where you enter the RGB values of the colors you will be using for your background and your text, and then it calculates whether your audience will be able to see it.
When it comes to font size, it will depend on the size of the room as well as the size of the screen you will be displaying the presentation on. Also, you need to take into consideration the average visual acuity of an audience. This is assumed to be 20/40 according to optometrist figures. Overall, if you keep your font size between 24 – 32 points you should be safe in most circumstances.
It is easy to use font types that are universally used or are liked based on habit like Times New Roman or Arial (hopefully you’re not using Comic Sans) but try and think outside of the box. Simply Google “beautiful fonts” and you will find great example of fonts that elevate your presentation to the next level.
Sans serif fonts are usually the best type of fonts for presentation purposes. Reserve any decorative fonts for slide headings. Avoid centering text because it tends to be difficult to read so stick to left- or right-align.
Visuals weigh heavier than text
Text can be strenuous to read and follow for the audience especially if there is a lot of it. Instead of having slides chockfull of rows and rows of text, rather try and work in as many descriptive visuals as you can. Use infographics, graphs, tables and colorful images to relay information.
There are many great resources out there that provide visuals that are eye-catching and tell a story. Sites like picjumbo, Little Visuals, Canva, Death to the Stock and Compfight will provide you with visuals that cannot be found elsewhere. Try to steer away from those generic stock photos that have been overused. Use images that serve as a metaphor or that tell a story without using words.
Use what already works
Everything has been done before so there are many places you can get inspiration from. Think back on slideshows, infographics and presentations that you have seen and enjoyed looking at. Try to see what it is about these that you enjoyed and, work in the principles and styles of these examples into what you are creating while still maintaining your own unique flair.
Less is more
Many people try to cram in too much text making it look squashed and boring clients in the process. If you are going to add text to a slide, think about whether it conveys one of your main points and present only one point per slide.
Try to follow the same principle as you would when writing an essay. So, in other words, have an introduction, body, conclusion and ultimately a close. This type of format makes it easy for people to understand and learn from your presentation.
Within this minimalist text approach you also need to address four issues a client usually focuses on and those are budget, authority, need and timing.
Also, don’t worry about whitespace. Leaving some whitespace in a slide is a good thing and helps place the focus on what is important.
Remember if you’re not presenting new information with what you are saying and only reading off the text in your presentation, then you might as well hand over a document to your clients and not give a presentation at all. Your slides are there to illustrate your presentation and they are not the presentation itself.