When you deliver a presentation, the audience is drawing conclusions about your company and your offering long before you’ve even had a chance to get to your point.
This is because the visuals portion of the presentation plays a strong role in determining what the audience infers.
In fact, the look and feel of your slides is conveying a subliminal message about your company and your offering: how professional you look, how careful you’re being with the material you’re presenting, and, as a result, this message is telling your audience whether they should be paying attention or reaching for their smartphones.
And be warned: this audience perception may bear no resemblance whatsoever to the reality you’re trying to convey.
The Traditional Corporate Presentation
If your audience sees you starting a presentation using traditional slides, traditional bullet points, a traditional cover slide or traditional templates, without even thinking about it they’ll quickly come to expect just another boring presentation. And it will be a lot harder after that to convince them that you have something innovative to offer.
As you move through your presentation, you may be able to be convincing that your offering is much better than the slides you’re presenting, but starting off on an uphill note is not the best first choice, and it also puts strenuous pressure on the presenter.
Conveying the Message You Want to Send
On the other hand, if you make a presentation using sophisticated visuals, slides that stand out, graphics that look different and better than the usual run-of-the-mill corporate stuff, it will register immediately with your audience that there’s something different going on. Even before you tell them so.
When you start a presentation using visuals that don’t look like the everyday corporate PowerPoint assemblage, the subliminal message is clear: “We do things differently. So you might want to pay attention to what we have to say.”
It’s Your Brand
The visuals of a presentation, even simple ones, help promote the most effective delivery of your message. This is a given (or it should be). But when you add beautiful and sophisticated graphics, the visuals become a key branding and marketing component.
Sure, there may be the rare occasion when you absolutely want to use the tried-and-true PowerPoint visuals. Maybe you want your audience to think for a moment that you’re conservative. Or traditional. Or a by-the-book player. Maybe you want your audience to be sure you’re transparent and not hiding something behind distracting visuals. Well, then, your visuals should reinforce that.
But for the most part, our experience is simple and solid: The only real way to convince people that a company is forward-thinking, leading-edge, state-of-the art – and to do it subliminally as well as openly – is to use visuals that reinforce that corporate persona. And the tried-and-true just won’t do it.
At a time when HD visuals have become the standard and product design is no longer a nicety but a must, using the old, traditional PowerPoint presentation is a sure-fire recipe for boredom and a fast path to missed opportunity.