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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on August 08, 2012

More often than not, developing a B2B presentation is overwhelming. It's challenging to fit everything you want to share into a tight, compelling presentation that will keep your audience engaged.

No matter what subject matter you're sharing, designing an effective presentation deck is an art. After many years of developing both company and product training presentations for a global audience, I have created a checklist of seven simple rules– that will help you add a little “wow” to your next presentation.

1.Your Presentation Is A Story; Script It Out First

When developing a presentation, your first instinct is likely to begin creating slides. But a little planning goes a long way. Before you open up your presentation tool, you should figure out the following:

a) What is the hook of my presentation?

b) What are the top 3 messages my presentation should convey to the audience?

What images would support these messages? Make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning (build up intrigue), middle (the details of your story), and end (leave the audience with the main take-away).

2. Match Design To Script
Your presentation design should be driven by the script you developed (tip #1). Decide if your presentation is meant to entertain, inform, persuade, or sell. Is an animated or more formal approach most appropriate to the subject and your audience?

3. Be Consistent

Use the same colours and fonts throughout. Select graphic images in the same style. Your corporate template should outline guidelines on font style and size, colours, and slide layouts.

4. Use Images With Purpose

Images are powerful when used with purpose. Don’t use images to fill space; use them to support your story, add important information, or make an abstract point more concrete. All images should be consistent with your brand. No clip-art.

5.You are the Focus – Not the Screen

Give thought to how you present yourself: how you stand, what you are wearing and how you move around the room. Are you engaging with your audience? Do you use multiple vehicles to present? You are the focus when you’re presenting, no matter how interesting your slides are. If necessary, get some professional coaching on how to present with power.

6. Ask Questions

Questions turn a presentation into a conversation. Prepare a series of relevant questions that will intrigue your audience. The key is to ask a lot of questions; some may be rhetorical. Pose a question that will have your audience pondering for a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer.

7.Practice

Never step in front of an audience without first practicing your presentation in front of trusted sources that will provide honest feedback. Schedule a dry-run at least a week before your official presentation so you have time to make adjustments.

Do you have other tips to create compelling and memorable presentations? I’d love to hear your experience and suggestions.

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