How important is the design of a presentation?

Do you want to know the secret on how to give your ideas that competitive edge while creating a long-lasting impression? If you want to get your message across, you must first be able to captivate your audience. And I’m not talking about doing some kind of magical enchantment. You should understand that an effective presentation design is as important as the message itself.

“But, they’re just slides. Why can’t I just say what I want and go from there? Why should I even bother designing them in the first place? They are just fonts, lines, and backgrounds. Surely, my message must be more important than that!”

I know what you’re thinking, and I, too, have had the same feeling when I first started out. Whether you believe it or not, we’re all in the selling business. You may not think of yourself as a salesperson, but you need to start thinking like one in order to succeed. You may not be selling something that is physical. It can even be something intangible such as an emotion or an idea. In fact, we are selling our own ideas every single day to our bosses, our colleagues, and to our friends and family. And in the business of selling, polishing up your shoes, so to speak, will surely help you seal the deal.

It is just human nature for us to be visual beings. And as salespersons, we have to be able to “show” them our ideas. The more they end up recalling what you have presented them, the more they’ll be able to actually think about your message. And when it comes to retention, according to a study made by Weiss and McGarth, you can expect a 100% increase with visual presentations and a 600% increase with audiovisual inputs as compared to auditory stimuli alone. This is why you need to design your presentation properly.

To help you gain a better appreciation of design and visuals, here are some of the important reasons why you should spend your time designing your slides:

• Focus and Attraction

A picture can paint a thousand words… We are indeed attracted to whatever is visually appealing and what catches our eyes. Adding punchy visuals will surely revive interest.

• Understanding and Retention

It is certainly better to have seen something once than having to hear it repetitively for over a hundred times. Trying to understand a complex business plan is almost impossible without using any visuals. Even a simple three-point presentation, can be understood better if it is seen as well as heard.

• Professional Image

According to Marshal McLuhan, the medium itself is the message. And from a person who predicted the coming of the internet almost 30 years before it was actually invented, you better believe in what he says. You have to take care of the medium if you care about your message. And if you truly care for your audience, you need to take care of your slides.

• Efficiency

Your message can be conveyed faster, and sometimes even better, if you have a visual presentation.

So whether you’re in a board meeting or in school, you must take advantage of all means available to ensure that your message reaches your audience. People are much more into reading and recalling pictures than words; the sooner you accept this, the earlier you’ll be able to start planning on your awesome presentation.