Most of business presentation and reports, seem to have one only transcendental goal: convey as much information as possible in the 20 or 30 minutes that are assigned. Equations, graphs, theorems, keep on filling the screen at a vertiginous speed. When the receiver is still reading into a graph or analyzing an equation, the presenter goes on to describe the next slide of the powerpoint presentation.
After a few minutes, the audience is incapable to keep the pace and end up disconnected. The presenter ends up talking by himself, because even though the audience is still physically there, their minds are long traveling to other worlds. It a mistake commonly made when we talk about “our subject” we say all about it, not taking into consideration the audience.
¿Have we ever stopped and considered about which ones are the goals of a business presentation?
Well the main fundamental goal is: to convey the message
When we plan to prepare a powerpoint presentation or a business presentation, we already know that we might have to work with endless data and stats difficult to explain.
The Professor of psychology at Harvard University Stephen M. Kosslyn, indicates that there are three objectives that define any type of presentation:
Objectives of a Presentation (1):
- Connect with the audience
- Manage and maintain the audience’s attention
- Promote the understanding and to maintain the presentation in the memory of the audience.
These three objectives constitute three keys for the success of any business presentation.
It is important to add to this the importance of the use of infographics in a professional presentation or report. In the article “Usar la infografía como Presentación para su Empresa” of the Communicator and Designer Carlos Cano, it is detailed how beneficial is the use of infographics in business presentation.
Benefits of using infographics (2):
- Infographics are visual contents that facilitate the understanding and assimilation of information.
- Infographics allow to demonstrate knowledge of a specific area of your industry or company.
- Infographics increase the visibility of the company.
- Infographics have a high probability to become viral.
There’s also Garr Reynolds, an author that offers us a series of advices and tips in this list: “Top Ten Slide Tips”.
5 points of major importance (3):
- Keep it simple: Powerpoint uses slides with a horizontal or “Landscape” orientation. The software was designed as a convenient way to display graphical information that would support the speaker and supplement the presentation. The slides themselves were never meant to be the “star of the show” (the star, of course, is your audience). People came to hear you and be moved or informed (or both) by you and your message.
- Use High-quality: Use high-quality graphics including photographs. You can take your own high-quality photographs with your digital camera, purchase professional stock photography, or use the plethora of high-quality images available on line (be cautious of copyright issues, however). Never simply stretch a small, low-resolution photo to make it fit your layout – doing so will degrade the resolution even further.Avoid using PowerPoint Clip Art or other cartoonish line art. Again, if it is included in the software, your audience has seen it a million times before.
- Use appropriate Charts: Always be asking yourself, “How much detail do I need?” Presenters are usually guilty of including too much data in their on-screen charts. There are several ways to display your data in graphic form.
- Use color well: You do not need to be an expert in color theory, but it’s good for business professionals to know at least a bit on the subject. Colors can be divided into two general categories: Cool (such as blue and green) and Warm (such as orange and red). Cool colors work best for backgrounds as they appear to recede away from us into the background. Warm colors generally work best for objects in the foreground (such as text) because they appear to be coming at us. It is no surprise, then, that the most ubiquitous PowerPoint slide color scheme includes a blue background with yellow text. You do not need to feel compelled to use this color scheme, though you may choose to use a variation of those colors.
- Use Video or Audio: Use video and audio when appropriate. Using video clips to show concrete examples promotes active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people learn. You can use video clips within PowerPoint without ever leaving the application or tuning on a VCR. Using a video clip not only will illustrate your point better, it will also serve as a change of pace thereby increasing the interest of your audience. You can use audio clips (such as interviews) as well. Something to avoid, however, is cheesy sound effects that are included in PowerPoint (such as the sound of a horn or applause when transitioning slides). The use of superfluous sound effects attached to animations is a sure way to lose credibility with your audience.
All business presentation or report is a creative work and creativity demands special skills that not many have. The information that a presentations or a business report has, should be organized in a way that the data visualization allows a fast comprehension and understanding, preventing that the audience of getting lost in a monotonous presentation or in inocuos data.
We use infographics in our brochure or presentations to enhance them. This way we guarantee that the audience understands the content, avoiding what’s ordinary, dull and redundant.
A presentation done this way should be easier to follow, understand and remember. The psychology and the neurosciences look up for our help in this matter. Knowing how the mental processes work will help us create presentations that allow the audience to understand and easily retain the material. So the infographic is one of the most important visual tools for powerpoint presentations and business reports nowadays.
What do we do in Ernesto Olivares Visual Information?
Here at Ernesto Olivares Visual Information our main concern is that the content is fully understood by the audience and that they are capable of retaining the message in their memory, our goal is to transform the data,reports and descriptions to a something more appealing, both for the presenter and the audience. We collect all the information that is provided to us, we synthesize it and show it in a clear form.
We transform complex information into clear visual content, using infographics because they help to understand and capture quickly the message to be transmitted.
As a first case of success we can mention the example of Barcelona Turisme (oficina de Turismo de la Diputació Barcelona).We have designed a Powerpoint presentation rich in infographics that display and compare Barcelona’s potential with other cities. This slideshow sends a powerful message that users can intuitively receive, taking advantage of the fact that the human brain remembers images with amazing ease.
As a second example, we can mention the Powerpoint Presentation for the Project Seed. With over 50 slides and a long story to be told, the presentation for Dubai’s CEO Group required every bit of our experience in data display and visual narrative to make the important points stand out.
Such is the case of the example of the business sales report we did for SaaS Top 250:
This report is a sales tool with information from other customers who have purchased the product and have experience using the list of the Top 250 companies in Software as a Service. We develop a simple brochure that shows the results, with graphics and icons, and tell a story of success.
Therefore, it is important to emphasize that a business will succeed only if the company has an accurate communication with their target audience, and if they can understand and process the message. The Visual stories that we design in Ernesto Olivares Visual Information are according to what our customers want to communicate. We develop high quality Powerpoint Presentations and professional Reports.
We answer the questions that our clients are asking themselves at the time of requiring us a presentation, report or brochure: I am connected to the audience?, I am capturing and managing their attention?, Do they understand and will they remember what I tell them?
“The art of presenting” will attempt to provide the necessary tools to ensure that the answer is always YES!
 Kosslyn, Stephen M. “Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations”. USA, September 2007.