How many Powerpoint slides does it take to knock out a crowd? If you’re like most people, ten slides is about all you can sit through before you start nodding off. No matter how many colors, fancy font styles, and bullet points you throw into your presentation, very few people are interested in what you have to say…beyond the tenth slide.
Coming from the advertising world, I’ve seen more than my share of 30, 50 and 100-paged marketing decks filled with gibberish, fluff, and few relevant facts.
When making presentations, less is more. Remember, the more time you spend rambling off information from your slides, the less time you have to focus on understanding your client, their needs, and what it really takes to earn their trust. Don’t waste your entire meeting repeating information that can be found on your website.
Your clients can read that on their own time. Strengthen your next sales pitch or presentation by focusing more on your client and less on yourself.
Here Are 7 Presentation Tips Every Entrepreneur Must Have:
1. Leave your generic marketing deck at home! Customize each presentation to show that you’re familiar with your prospective client’s audience, business, industry, and measures of success.
2. Provide specific examples from your research to prove that you understand their trends, their nuances, and their unique growth opportunities.
3. Use creative props to take your idea off the slide and into the hands of your client. Show samples when possible. Offer gift bags. Give your audience something tangible to remember you by, and demonstrate your willingness to go above and beyond for them.
4. Apply the 10-40 rule. A recent Businessweek article suggested that the first ten slides of your PowerPoint presentation contain no more than 40 words. Yeah… that’s 40 words combined! Think about it… Your audience can read slides on their own. If you fill each slide with paragraphs of text there’s no reason for you to even be in the room. Instead, just put a few key words on each page and verbally explain the details in a creative way to keep your audience engaged.
5. Get rid of funky PowerPoint backgrounds. Stay true to your own brand guidelines. Work with a graphic designer to design a standard PowerPoint presentation template using your logo, brand colors, and font style. Leave room on the template to add the logo of the business/person you’re presenting to. That’s a nice touch that goes a long way.
6. Get your nerves under control. If public speaking is not your thing, carve out time each week to practice, practice, practice! If you put in the work, you can get over your nervousness and learn to make compelling presentations. You can practice your presentations at home, or sign up for a Toastmasters class for additional support and training.
7. Hospitality goes a long way! Everyone loves food, so if you’re hosting the meeting in your office offer a meal, snacks, and beverages to extend a warm welcome to your guest. Providing food is also a great way to make sure your clients are actually listening to you, instead of their rumbling stomachs.
Use the tips above to nail your next presentation, and to bring home the goods for your business! If you have any other tips to help entrepreneurs win their next pitch, share your thoughts below…