Picture it:

You enter the room where a workshop is being conducted. You registered months ago and you can hardly wait to gather loads of useful information so you can go back home and incorporate everything you've learnt, to improve your life, your career…

and then you spot it.

The clicker.

That little black rascal means one thing: There will be a PowerPoint (or some other type of slideshow software) presentation.

And as your mind spins with mounting regret and possible escape routes, your anxiety amplifies. You imagine an entire day spent looking at drawn-out, irrelevant slides, feebly attempting to take the place of an interactive, human speaker.

This is going to be terrible. A total waste of time.

Is this what your workshop, seminar, boot camp or public-speaking event attendees are thinking when they see your set-up? Or worse yet, is this what they're thinking as your presentation progresses?

Slideshow presentations have gotten a bad rep—because they've been badly executed.

Don't let your brand fall victim to a bad PowerPoint reputation. You can learn to use slideshow software to advance your brand, and I'm about to tell you how.

Using Slideshow Presentations to Serve (and Sell)

PowerPoint can be a 'powerful' educational tool. It can be used to entertain and to inform. It can be used to stir emotion and break down barriers.

Sadly, it's often used to display visuals and wordy reports as an aide to the presenter…rather than an aide to the audience.

Here are some tips for making your slideshow presentations work to build your brand, instead of tearing it down:

  • Keep Text Slides Succinct. Refer to Steve Job's presentations for this one. He was known for one-word slides that reinforced what came out of his mouth; not wordy slides from which he read aloud. If you need a starting point, I would recommend putting together a section of your presentation and then choosing one powerful word that summarises the point you're trying to make. That one word will prove more memorable than any level of idle dribble.
  • Remember that Slides are Fuel, not Vehicles. Avoid building your entire seminar around the slideshow. The slides should be visuals that accompany your material, to aid in understanding and retention.
  • Use Large Font. This isn't just about the audience's ability to see the slides; it's about making a statement and ultimately reminding yourself to keep it simple.
  • Focus on Serving. No audience is going to respond well to being sold to, when they're expecting to be served. Keep this in mind, and never use slides to sell…even if you think your pitch is passing under their radar (P.S. It never really does).
  • Incorporate Your Logo. slideshow-presentationsYour audience needs to view your logo many times, whilst involved in brand-sponsored or associated events in order to recognise and remember it. Slides are great places to make this happen. Place your logo on each one, like an ownership stamp.
  • Create Charts and Tables to Illustrate Data. There's nothing like a pie chart or a bar graph to drive a data-based point home. These types of visuals are easily produced, easily processed and well-received by a visual audience.
  • Photos.  You learnt how humans make buying decisions last week, and how those decisions are rooted in emotions. One of the best ways to communicate and inspire those emotions is to show them on human faces. Stock photography will work well for this, and rarely needs accompanying text—as long as you're certain of the messages being sent.

As you plan out your slideshow software presentations, remember this: Each slide should serve as visual support, not as primary content. Or, maybe it will help to think of it this way: Not every person in your audience will absorb what you're saying, because they're not auditory learners. For those people, the accompanying word, image or illustration will help to solidify your message.

How are you using slideshow software to augment your events? And what questions do you have about how you can improve the impact of your slides? Join us in the How to Build a Brand Facebook group to discuss these topics and much more, as you gather expert advice, connect with other brand builders and learn how to create a brand with staying power. Join today. It's FREE!

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