Powerpoint presentations are here to stay. Whatever the form of the business gathering, you’ll find they are almost always accompanied by a slideshow. It’s particularly true of sales presentations, where winning over the audience is absolutely fundamental. However, Powerpoint is now treated as compulsory, which means that it’s used whether or not it’s useful – a case of the tail wagging the dog. The problem is that Powerpoint design is frequently fairly poor, and serves only to put off your listeners, not win them over to your way of thinking. Thus something that can be a great asset can all too often become a liability. How do you avoid this happening?
People communicate in various ways. There are those who want to send and receive large quantities of information; they are noticeable by their habit of going into great detail and giving you more data than you really need. There are those who tend to communicate on a more emotional basis, interpreting a situation by the way they feel about it. They tend to be more emotive in their own communication, too, using means that resonate on that level – colourful language, anecdotes and intense descriptions of their feelings. And there are those who are far more instinctive and straightforward. They tend to want to get to the heart of a matter and make a decision quickly, and are interested in only the most important details. Bear in mind that when you are communicating with a group of people, it will likely contain one or more of all of these types. Therefore you need to cater for their needs. Otherwise, you will find that you talk past two-thirds of your audience, simply because you’re not communicating in a way that they find easy to engage with.
In terms of Powerpoint presentations, that means you need to adjust your slides as well as your talk. You should make sure you cover all three areas in your Powerpoint design. For your talk, give the data you need, of course. But you should complement it with illustrations and personal stories. You should also provide a summary for those who want nothing more. For your slides, you can do the same. Charts and graphs convey large amounts of information. Photographs and pictures appeal to a different side to the audience and will register emotionally, giving them something to remember. For the last group, a short list of bullet points will give them what they need. Make sure you cater to everyone’s preferences and you’ll find your sales presentations have a higher degree of success.
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