Skill Booster

Presentations are Like Real Estate

As a presenter, you're on a mission to sell.

You want to “sell” information or ideas so effectively that your audience will be eager to “buy” your message.

Let’s have a look at how you can take a realtor’s advice and translate it into PowerPoint slides that “move” like a piece of desirable real estate:

Did you pick up those 5 strategies for crafting audience-friendly PowerPoint slides? Here they are:

1. Cut the clutter

Remember that when presenting, you are the seller, not the buyer. A host of bullet points, words, and images may feel essential as you’re building your story, because you’re determined to remember all those juicy details. But the slides are NOT FOR YOU (remember: you can have all the notes you want).

As you edit your visuals, trim away all the excess. If you have any inkling that an element might distract your audience or raise questions you’d rather not answer, take it out.

2. Keep the essentials

How do you decide what survives your ruthless edit? Keep only the words and images that reinforce your message. The best slides help your audience focus on the ONE big idea you’re trying to put across at any moment. So shine a spotlight on that one amazing image, that short memorable phrase, that single data point that makes the best business case.

Also, challenge yourself to make every word work in support of your message. Headlines like Agenda and Next Steps are a waste of precious space. Replace those boring placeholders with inspiring or action-oriented phrases that will inspire your audience to pay attention and take action.

3. Rearrange furniture

Your brand standards may require rigid adherence to a template, but we bet you still have several options for slide layouts. Endless pages of bullet points will blur together, leaving your audience to wonder, “What did I just learn?” Vary those slide layouts to keep your audience tuned in and to put each piece of information in its best light.

4. Repaint with neutral colors

Yes, we just suggested visual variety. But let’s not get carried away. Use a tight color pallet to avoid sneezing the rainbow all over the screen. Rule of thumb: 2 to 4 colors should be enough to convey most messages you deliver on a given slide.

And for goodness sake, leave open space. Don’t jam-pack your slides with wall-to-wall elements. If you have a lot to show and tell, consider using more slides with fewer elements. Give your audience a little breathing room to see and appreciate your points.

5. Give the place curb appeal.

Want to make a name for yourself as someone who can really win a room? Mind the quality and precision of your visuals:

  • Use high-quality photos or illustrations
  • Align and space elements evenly
  • Animate elements so they appear only when you’re ready for the audience to see them
  • Add slide transitions for a professional effect (the Fade transition is smooth and not jarring)
  • Use consistent shapes and design elements
  • Bypass the glitz and whiz-bang

Try this:

Hunt through your work in progress (or find a past presentation from before you knew better) and use these suggestions to transform a PowerPoint slide or two. If you like, send us your before and after examples. Tell us how thinking like a realtor is helping you prepare and sell your business messages!