What separates a PowerPoint designer from the average employee? The designer not only has to create a beautiful (or regulations-following) PowerPoint that keeps the audience awake, but has to genuinely impact the audience or change their minds as well. It can seem like a daunting task, but experienced PowerPoint designers when faced with a new project keep calm, and answer the following 3 questions:
- What is the purpose of the PowerPoint? This greatly determines the end result of the PowerPoint as the presentation takes the shape of the purpose it was meant to fill. A PowerPoint oriented for sales will be lightly branded throughout and will feature minimal hyperlinks to outside sources as they can distract an indvidual who revisits the powerpoint. An informative PowerPoint on the other hand would feature an abundance of links and references as the more it draws from existing credible sources, and claims authority by association, the more seriously the audience will take it.
- Who is your audience? This is a vital question for a PowerPoint designer as a presentation oriented towards the C-suite would generally have to be shorter, relating the big ideas and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the subject covered in the PowerPoint in a graspable but not necessarily technical way. When addressing engineers and technical professionals however, great attention should go into explaining the most minute details.
- How much time do you have? If you have a lot of time, too much even, then it is wise to fill up as much of it with content as possible, but then leave the last 15 minutes to take questions. When there is less time than you feel necessary to present your subject, be sure to give a handout of the slides to the audience and provide supplemental online resources for them to go back and familiarize themselves with the subject or catch up on parts that they didn’t understand the first time.
By synthesizing these three pieces: creating a goal for the presentation, matching the tone and subject matter to the audience, then making accommodations to either a surplus or lack of time, any PowerPoint designer can create a valuable presentation that impacts, influences, and informs its audience.