PowerPoint is one of the very first applications that people use when first entering the world of work. They learn how to structure slides, add eye-catching images and how to stop the slideshow from jamming. But for many people, sadly, that is where it stops – they may never learn about the real structure of presentations. In short, many people become competent in the basics of PowerPoint presentation software, but without advanced PowerPoint training, never learn the “soft” skills that can make all the difference.
These skills include bringing out the key points of an idea, engaging language and an eye for visual design. Presentation training can bestow upon the trained employee or self-employed business owner the linguistic confidence of a copywriter, the pizzazz of a great graphic designer, and the clarity of a confident, convincing public speaker.
Narrative is an important part of any presentation. All too often listeners get confused by narratives that ramble off in unimportant directions. The reason for this confusion is simple: the presenter may know which points are crucial, but their audience has no way of knowing. The presenter simply trusts that their pitch will come across if they are passionate about it – but in fact listeners are very simple, and pay attention to concepts and key points that are repeated often and in prominent places in the speech’s structure. If jokes are more common than repetition of key points, all they’ll remember is the jokes!
Many people underestimate the power that a strong narrative and presentation structure has to convince key decision makers and make concepts stick in their minds – but most people are more aware of the power of great design. They know that when a webpage, poster or slide is visually striking, their attention will be grabbed. What they often don’t know, though, is just how to achieve design that will strike others as interesting, worthwhile and useful. In fact, the arrangement of elements on a slide, the nature and variety of those elements, and their relevance to key points and ideas can make all the difference between a pretty but forgettable presentation, and one which inspired the people who heard it.
All these skills, and more, can be learnt in a presentation training book, seminar or course of lessons. With the confidence that comes from knowing how to engage people, much of the nervousness often seen in people faced with giving presentations disappears – which of course will make the PowerPoint presentation even more memorable, persuasive, and likely to seal the deal.