Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most important tools used by every successful online marketer. It is the medium of choice for creating a clear, concise online presentation. Sales professionals soon learn that they need a strong visual presentation to tell a compelling story, and PowerPoint is the obvious answer.
More than 40-million people use PowerPoint. It’s the world’s most widely used presentation tool. So many people have used it that we can safely recruit new salespeople and expect them to be PowerPoint users. That means that any organization can quickly train new people to deliver presentations using the same basic tools.
Virtually everyone needs PowerPoint to build a business online. PowerPoint slides may be used like brochures in PDF format, for live presentations in a Webinar or as the basic medium of an on-demand presentation.
The negative side of PowerPoint is that many people think of a slide presentation as tedious and uninteresting. That’s because so many presentations are poorly planned and use only the weakest capabilities of the program. PowerPoint designers at Microsoft designed this tool with so much flexibility that presentations have an unlimited range of styles. Unfortunately, most people take the easiest road, resulting in the weakest possible presentations. We therefore want to offer recommendations for PowerPoint use that will provide the most compelling results for sales and marketing professionals.
Our most important overall recommendation is for every PowerPoint presenter to discover how to use the program’s full capabilities. Don’t re-use an unimaginative presentation produced for someone else. Customize every presentation to leverage yourself and create a professional, entertaining audience experience. Most people—even long-time PowerPoint presenters—don’t understand the incredible things that can be done with this powerful tool. Spending a couple of hours thumbing through “PowerPoint for Dummies” can deliver ideas that totally change the results produced by any presentations.
What are the basics for making presentations more effective? We can begin by following a few simple rules. The first simple rule is “keep presentations as short as possible.” Every slide should contribute to drawing audiences to “the next step” in a well planned sales, training or information transfer process. If any slide in a presentation doesn’t contribute in this way, delete it.
Rule number two is “use as little text as possible. Instead use graphics, photos, videos, cartoons, etc. to make visual statements. Although writing a virtual script of text bullets is easy, audiences don’t listen effectively when forced to read bullets. If the text bullets differ from the presenter’s speech they create confusion. If the bullets are identical to the spoken words, audiences assume that the presenter is simply reading from a script. PowerPoint provides much more powerful tools than simple text bullets. Successful professionals use these tools to be become master presenters, and master marketers.
We still need a few more rules to maximize the power of PowerPoint, and we will cover several of them in later posts.
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