Creating a presentation for your business is different from any you’ve presented before, in front of your classmates, friends, teachers, and even the church group you’re a member of. When it comes to the business side of things, the stakes get much higher, and a poorly made presentation can make or break a deal you’ve worked so hard to win. If you’re a small start-up, it can make or break your entire company.
Generally, presenting in front of a group of business professionals is challenging. That’s because that’s an audience with high expectations – an audience that constantly listens to presentations, and it truly takes something unique and special to impress this audience.
That’s why general PowerPoint presentations just won’t cut it. In order to impress the audience, engage it and capture its attention, you will have to design your slides in a way that makes the audience compelled to listen and pay attention to every word you say.
So now, without further ado, let’s get started on creating custom slides for business presentations – why they’re needed, what not to do, and how to create professional-looking ones for your own use.
Let’s get started.
Why Do You Need Custom Slides for Your Business Presentation?
In the opening paragraph, we briefly talked about why you might want to consider having custom slides when doing a business presentation. Here we will try to convince you even more that creating something unique and related to your company is truly worth the extra effort and will bring in desired results.
Just imagine this: you’re a business executive, you attend a presentation, and you see this:
Would this company make a positive impression on you from the start? Likely not. In fact, seeing a slide that shows a lack of effort also shows that the person presenting didn’t care enough to prepare, and once the first impression is bad, it becomes difficult to impress anyone later on.
When it comes to business presentations, the margin for error is tiny. You have a ton of competition, and so you cannot leave the creation of the presentation to a new employee or someone with no experience in the business world. Instead, if you’re genuinely trying to win over a partner or a client, you need to give the task to an employee that can truly create something remarkable.
In a perfect scenario, you would be able to hire a PowerPoint expert to create your business slideshow every time you need one. However, as an entrepreneur or a small business owner, most of the time, you won’t be able to afford to spend money on the services of a professional designer. In fact, most companies that offer such services charge an arm and a leg for just a few well-designed and custom slides. But, we have to admit that you usually get what you pay for.
If we have to summarize why you need custom slides for your presentation, the answer will be simple: so that you can make a lasting, good impression on the people you’re presenting to. We love to say those first impressions last, and a good presentation is the best way to make one, and if you do, you will reap the benefits for some time. On the other hand, if you make a bad first impression with a sloppy presentation and unprofessional slides, you will definitely notice the negative effect that will have on your company.
However, don’t be discouraged – even without the help of professionals, you can manage to create incredible visuals and memorable custom slides; you just need to know how to do that. In the paragraphs below, it will be our job to help you learn.
How to Create Your Own Custom Business Presentation Slides
If you’ve ever tried to design anything from scratch, you should know that it’s not easy at all, and it definitely takes creativity and some knowledge as well. Just take a look at a blank PowerPoint slide. How many original ideas come to mind from the very first sight? If you’re not a designer, it’s likely not a lot. You may spend hours just staring at the blank page and coming up with nothing.
However, thankfully we live in the age of the Internet, and Google is there to help you out of this rough spot. If you already know that you don’t have any budget to spend on a professional presentation designer, then you can go online and start searching for inspiration.
Of course, you have to remember that getting inspired by something you see and copying it are different. If you copy another person’s work for a business presentation, you can easily get caught up in a legal mess. Don’t try to completely copy other people’s designs; it’s basically stealing.
But, we know that not everyone can have the creative mind that’s required to create a terrific design from a blank page. That’s why we will give a few ideas to help you develop your custom presentation slides that fit your company’s style and design.
Let’s get started.
Take a Look at Current Design Trends
Trends change every year, and what may be considered cool now will likely go out of style in just a few months. In the business world, keeping up with the current trends is vital, as you don’t want to look like you’re not closely following what’s happening around you. Along with that, you don’t want your brand to look outdated.
You need to remember that this presentation may be the first impression your company leaves on people. If they perceive you as “old-school” or behind the current trends, then they will probably not consider you to be a credible and trustworthy partner.
You can find many articles online containing all the current trending designs. Typically a comprehensive design guide should include what styles are in these years, which colors to rely on, and what kind of typography is more likely to attract the audience and keep people’s attention.
Remember, if your presentation has a good design, it will not only help it look good visually, but it will also tell your audience you put in the effort, did your research, and are truly trying to deliver the best possible presentation.
Consider Your Audience
You need to be aware of whom you’re presenting to. That’s vital in all situations, especially when it comes to business presentations. If we have to be brutally honest, it’s a MUST to know who is in your audience before you even start creating the presentation and looking up designs.
Once you know who will be in your audience, it will become that much easier for you to choose the right design based on that knowledge. Whether you’re speaking to lower-level management or a room full of CEOs, it matters, and knowing it will allow you to tailor your presentation accordingly. Along with that, having an audience-centered approach in creating your presentation will allow you to capture the audience’s attention. However, that applies more so to the content of the presentation and not as much to what it will look like.
For you to be considered an effective presenter, you have to “speak” the language of your audience – meaning you have to use phrases and terms that apply to the particular business niche, as that will make you seem like an expert in the eyes of the people listening to you.
Less is More
When you’re doing business presentations, it’s likely that your audience will consist of busy professionals who have 10 other things they need to be doing. That means you cannot afford to waste their time. When designing your custom presentation slides, you need to make them as efficient as possible. Now, don’t take that to mean you have to cramp the contents from five slides to one; however, you should try your best to be as precise as possible and present your ideas in the clearest way possible.
It’s a good idea to dedicate a slide to one idea; however, that doesn’t mean writing one huge paragraph on the slide that describes your idea perfectly. Remember, you will be talking while the slide is being presented and so it should only contain the key points of what you will be talking about and not your entire speech. It’s vital for you to know that having a ton of text on the slide is considered to be a huge error, and it’s something you should avoid at all costs.
Use Easy-to-Read Fonts
Whether you’re presenting to a small group of entrepreneurs or a large one at a business conference, your presentation slides need easy-to-read and large fonts. Your main focus should be for people to easily be able to read your text and understand your point. You want to avoid people squinting, trying desperately to read what’s on the screen, and wondering what it might mean.
Using fonts that look hip and interesting might seem cool at first glance, but it’s not functional, and it tires your audience. You don’t want people getting bored just because they’re struggling to read whatever it is that you wrote.
As we already mentioned, typography is a part of the design trends that circulate every year. You have plenty of fonts to choose from; however, your main focus shouldn’t be on choosing the most interesting-looking font possible. Instead, you should try to choose one that helps you get your message across. By using the right font, you will provoke the desired emotions in your audience members. Since here we’re talking about business-related presentations, you have to learn which fonts are suitable for this exact audience.
Also, try not to use more than two or three fonts in one presentation. For example, you can choose one for the main headings, one for the sub-headings, and a third one for all the other text. Establishing this type of hierarchy will help people follow along with what’s happening on the slides. On the other hand, if you use different fonts for each slide, then you’re likely to confuse your audience as it will almost look like you’re presenting slides from different presentations.
Make Good Use of Visuals
You’ve probably heard the popular saying that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, we know that it’s true, and our current age relies on visuals even more than before – it’s thanks to a phenomenon called the picture superiority effect, which states that it’s easier for people to remember things they’ve seen in images.
It’s a good idea to use graphics and high-quality images in your presentation, as it’s more likely that your audience will remember them. Depending on what you will be presenting, using charts and tables might also be useful, especially if you’re looking to present data and information in the neatest way possible.
If you can, try to steer clear from stock photos, as there’s a chance someone in the audience has seen the same picture before, however, in a different context.
As cliche as it is to say, try to think outside of the box – that’s your best chance at standing out from other businesses. If you can’t take photos yourself or don’t know how to create professional-looking graphs, then look to hire someone who can do the job for you. This especially applies if you’re doing a sales presentation with high stakes – if you want to impress investors, you have to give it your all. Purchasing graphs and images for your sales pitch shouldn’t be considered an expense but an investment as it will likely help you feel more confident in front of investors, which can end up winning them over and helping your company.
It’s vital to note that just because you have a ton of great imagery doesn’t necessarily mean you should use all of it in a single presentation. You have to ensure your images are relevant to your message and that you’re not overloading the slides with them.
Which Tools to Use for Creating Custom Presentation Slides
Yet another cool thing about living in the age of the Internet is having access to multiple tools for creating presentation slides, not only the good old PowerPoint. Now, some of the more modern tools are so easy to use they can make a designer out of almost anyone, which is why it’s vital that you don’t limit yourself to using Microsoft’s software.
Canva is one of the best apps for creating designs online, and it’s probably the best free presentation software you can find nowadays. It enables you to choose from literally thousands of designs and to adjust and change numerous free templates, including some designed specifically for specific niches (such as education, business, sports, etc.).
Canva lets you not only create your own design from scratch, but it also allows you to customize already created templates so that they fit your brand’s feel and color scheme. It’s the ideal tool for people struggling with creativity and who need help along the way. Along with that, the app recently added options for sharing your presentation easily, inviting collaborators, posting it on social media, and even sharing it with a QR code.
If you, like me, struggle with spacing and you find it hard to build beautiful slides, then this tool is made for you. Beautiful.ai uses AI to make the presentation process easier and thus allows you to focus mainly on the content and not on how to correctly place a particular picture on the slide.
The editor here is different compared to standard presentation programs. However, it’s still intuitive, and you even get a two-minute tutorial. Once you start creating a new slide, you can go through the so-called “inspiration slide” to find a layout you enjoy, and once you choose it, the app will automatically match it with the design of the rest of your presentation. Beautiful.ai currently offers 10 themes, 40 fully-designed templates, and 23 color palettes, so you will definitely be able to create your own custom templates easily
To Sum It Up
Hopefully, by now, you’re convinced that putting in the effort to create your own custom presentation slides is worth it. As you now know, doing so will allow you to stand out from your competitors and make a lasting impression on your audience. With that said, if you want to learn more about marketing, entrepreneurship, and leadership, head on over to the Camberlion blog for more articles like this one. If you’re just looking for some quick tips to watch on your way to work, then follow us on all social media platforms.