Forbes reported that academic research conducted by UCLA has shown the significance of non-verbal communication in presentations.

The study attributed only 7% of value to the choice of words, while tone of voice had 38% attributed value and facial expression accounted for 55% of value. The research was laboratory based and it shows the importance of the non-verbal elements of the presentation. This is because they often create the emotional connection we are all looking for when we are presenting to sell our business.

Creating a presentation that can hold a rooms attention can be tricky, especially when people are in and out of dozens of meetings every day and have seen it all before. So, when you are crafting your next presentation for an important meeting, here are a few tips for your non-verbal components to try out:

  1. Use a template
  2. Use information graphics
  3. Hierarchy of information
  4. Inspiring video or photography
  5. Keep it simple

  1. Use a well-designed template
    Whether you are using Powerpoint or Key note for your presentation it’s always a good idea to use a well-designed theme for your presentation. A theme can help give your presentation structure, uniformity and make it look more professional. If you don’t have one, then don’t skimp on cost – pay a professional to get it right for you. A well-designed template will empower your presentation message though its look and feel and by engaging the emotions. For example, if you are preparing a presentation about an exciting new direction for the company, you might want explore a theme with a bold style. One that is impactful and has an enthusing presence. There are also many free themes available online that you can customise for your needs or as mentioned above you can commission a designer to create a custom theme for you.

    Well designed template example

  2. Use information graphics
    Great information graphics can help your viewer easily digest complicated information through the use of visual data, charts, and statistics. With proper use of design principles such as colour, proportions, placement and white space, information graphics can make complicated information easy and clear for your audience to understand. You can create some basic information graphics using the graph tools in Powerpoint. For more complex and engaging information graphics hiring a designer to assist you with a custom design is the way to go. Having inspiring information graphics can help make your presentation more memorable.

    informational graphics slide

  3. Hierarchy of information
    When creating the slide pages for your presentation it’s very important to keep the hierarchy of the information on the page in mind. Often overlooked is having a visual hierarchy that allows for information which is of a higher importance to stand out more. This can be achieved through font size or style (eg.BOLD) as well as colour and placement on the page. This creates a sense of order and clarity on each page.

    hierarchy of information slide example

  4. Inspiring video or photography
    As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words, which means it can help you communicate your message clearer and faster than a wall of text. You should use your own photographs to add into your presentation, giving it a personal touch or of course you can use images of free stock photography websites. Just be sure that the imagery is relevant and boosts your presentation as there’s little point in putting a photo of a cat in a presentation that is about dogs! If you have the opportunity shoot a video for your presentation, this can really up the ante. These days, you can easily film and edit yourself, with most smart phones having great image quality. Easy to use software such as adobe spark or i-movie is also readily available for most people. Alternatively, you can hire a film crew for higher production quality. Or you can commission an animator to create an interesting custom animation to really wow your audience.

    inspire slide example

  5. Keep it simple
    As we all know sometimes less is more and this is particularly true when you are giving a presentation. You want the main focus to be on you and your message, with your presentation slides playing a supporting role that enhances your effectiveness and delivery. No one wants to be overwhelmed with a wall of text in 20 different fonts! The same goes for animations - no star wipes here please! Having crazy movements in your presentation just detracts from the emotion and professionalism of your message. Some animation effects like fade-ins to help bring bullet points on screen are fine and can help you communicate in a clearer way. Your viewer should be focused on taking in what you and your copy are saying and not focusing on how it is moving around the screen. Simple also has implications for the length of the presentation, so keep the number of slides to an appropriate number for time allotted – remember after 20 minutes your audience’s ability to retain your key message deteriorates rapidly. The goal is not death by PowerPoint, but rather education and inspiration.

Presenting new ideas, solutions for new customers the list goes on. Business presentations are a daily part of our life. Making them more effective however can change your life and that of your business. So next time you’re preparing to present an important initiative to a customer or even if it’s reporting on something dry like compliance requirements, try to keep these 5 tips in mind and connect emotionally with your audience.

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