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Sep 13, 2012

The Secret to Dynamic Presentations

The ability to create stunning presentations via your computer has come a considerably long way in the last few decades. It started with PowerPoint, which still has an impact in the business world and its ease of use makes it a crowd favorite. However, these days software and technology developments have combined to make rigid, static presentations a thing of the past. These days it is all about multi-media and interaction.

Presentations of Old

PresentationsIn the not-too-distant past, PowerPoint was the preferred choice. From corporate presentations to training sessions and seminars, most of us have sat through hours of (often boring) slideshows. The problem was that, these presentations were often slow-moving, the display poor and moving from slide to slide could be difficult. It also left the presenter rooted to one place within the venue and audience participation was often difficult to achieve.

The net result? A presenter who is struggling to keep the audience engaged and an audience struggling to stay awake! Although PowerPoint still remains the firm favourite when it comes to business presentations and there are some very talented people out there who can create amazing presentations with it; its time we move on. Whilst a presentation is still only as good as the content you put in it, the way in which it is presented can lead to a more interactive and engaging experience.

Engage and Interact

We live in a world were multi-media is at our fingertips and available whenever we need it. From smart TV’s to smartphones, ultrabooks and tablets, technology has indeed come a long way. It makes sense in utilizing this technology when it comes to delivering presentations. Presentations these days come in a variety of formats – from business pitches to investor awareness initiatives, from interactive screens in shopping malls to online videos showcasing products and services – we have it all. In many instances the control lies with the viewer; they can decide when to turn on or off, what they want to view, pause, rewind and even interact further - such as answer questions. This ability to interact makes presentations these days a more powerful marketing tool than ever before.

Moving Presentations

Static slideshows may still have their place – many still prefer to use them for meetings and seminars. But as technology has become more intuitive, so has the software to make presentations come alive. Flash animations, videos and 3D models help create interest and encourage audience interaction, whilst simple drag-and-drop interface allows even a novice to create amazing presentations.

Triggers and Actions

Engaging an audience in a presentation often requires some form of interaction. Touch-screens are a great tool for achieving this by requiring interaction that will trigger an action within the presentation. This could be the ability to rotate images or models, play videos, answer questions or view maps. Triggers are a good way of encouraging participation - after all how many of us can resist a button that says “Press Here?” Triggers and actions are effective tools when it comes to creating dynamic presentations, helping to keep the audience engaged and focused on what you are telling them.

Key Elements

As mentioned above, your presentation is only as good as the content you put in and the way in which it is delivered. It is easy to create presentations, but are they any good and will they achieve the desired effect? Here are some tips on creating winning presentations:

1. Avoid clip art:

Clip art in most instances is simply awful! Use quality graphics and images to back up your points and always make sure they fit in the context of what you are saying.

2. Do not make it too complex:

If the audience does not comprehend what is on a page within 3 seconds then it is too complex and you will lose their attention – keep it simple and within the scope of their knowledge.

3. Don’t go crazy with flash:

Flash is a great tool and you can create amazing animations with it, but all too often people go overboard and apply it to everything. From moving headers to long drawn out intros, it can either become tedious or distracting. Add to this the fact that flash can seriously reduced page load speeds and your slick presentation suddenly becomes a stop-start affair.

4. Don’t overfill your pages:

Do not be tempted to try and cram as much information as possible on to each page – stick to one topic per page and keep it simple. This way it is easy to read, you can get straight to the point and your audience won’t be turned off by lots of tiny text. If you are delivering your presentation in person i.e. to a room full of people, then remember that your pages should backup the main points and not simply repeat what you are saying.

5. Connect to your audience:

Make sure you get your message across and that your target audience can connect to it. Design your presentations from your audience’s point of view ensuring that they will know just what is in it for them.

Creating dynamic presentations is not as hard as it may sound. However, presentations these days come in so many different formats and are available to view in so many different ways, that you need to ensure you choose the right method of delivery for the desired effect. The use of technology, the content added and the order in which it is displayed will all have a bearing on the effectiveness of a presentation, as will the audience’s ability to easily interact with it.


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