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Simplify your business presentation for maximum results

November 5, 2014

There are many methods to mastering the art of delivering a great business presentation, but it all comes down to one principle – simplicity. This means that every part of your presentation has to be clear and to the point. The key is to strip your idea down to the very essentials and discard anything that might distract from the main message. Many people mistakenly believe that simplifying a presentation is as easy as deleting a few extra slides. The truth is that for simplicity to have maximum effect, it has to be achieved with patience and careful planning.

Before you start making your presentation, you first need to decide what the key points are and what you want your clients to remember once they leave the conference room. The number of these key points is often the subject of debate, and the truth is that there really is no magic number. However, as a rule of thumb, the presentation should focus on no less than three and no more than five main ideas.

To make your proposal compelling, it is essential that the main points of your presentation are client-oriented. What this means is that you should not go on about all the features of your product or service, as this is not what your clients want to hear. Instead, focus on the benefits of your proposal and on the way your business idea can help meet your clients’ needs.  The clients don’t need a whole list of product features or a story about your company’s history. All they want to know is what your product can do for them.

Keep in mind that your clients’ time is precious and that no one can afford to sit through long-winded presentations that never seem to get to the point. Your presentation should be about 20 minutes long on average. Anything longer, and you will not be able to keep your clients’ attention and the message you are trying to communicate will get lost in the process. Separate your ideas into logical chunks and organize your slides in a way that each slide represents one idea. If the slides follow each other naturally, you won t have to give long introductions before each new slide and you will have more time to focus on the core idea of your proposal.

Design of the slides is equally important. Anything that is overly complicated or illegible will drive the focus away from your main point. You don’t need an overwhelming amount of data, flashy images and complicated charts. Photos can be a helpful memorizing tool but never add more than one picture per slide. Complicated graphics will not make you look any more knowledgeable or experienced. On the contrary, the clients might get the impression that you are trying to mask a lack of substance with distracting gimmicks.

Remember that your presentation should not be a substitute for speech, but merely serve as reinforcement for oral delivery. Don’t try to cram in as much information as you can into 20 minutes and miss on the precious opportunity to convince your clients why your proposal is worth considering. You should think of a presentation not as an opportunity to showcase your mastery of PowerPoint but as a way to present the main idea of your proposal to prospective clients as articulately and as precisely as you can.

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