Ever found yourself a couple of days away from an important presentation with none of it actually written? No one wants to be in that position…
Fortunately, with a little bit of specialized knowledge and some structure to your approach, you can alleviate some of the dread associated with writing content for presentations of any type. Ready to let us do the presenting? Keep reading to learn more about writing engaging and effective presentations that will wow your colleagues and clients.
Determine Your Audience & Do Your Research
Whether you’re creating a sales deck to pitch an upsell to a customer or revising a training slideshow for employees, you have to know who you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them. Just like in show business, your job here is to get the audience what they want or need and do it in a way that they actually retain it for more than five minutes.
Don’t know your audience? Talk to them. Can’t talk to your audience? Research them. This step can seem obvious, but it’s very common for businesses to start planning their presentations with ‘the audience they want’ in mind instead of ‘the audience they actually have.’
When brainstorming for presentations, ask yourself and your team basic questions like:
- ‘What does the audience know about this topic? What do they expect us to know?’
- ‘How do they feel about this topic/interaction in the first place?’
- ‘Are we convincing them of something new or reinforcing something we already know or want to be true?’
- ‘What are their goals? Are we aligned?’
- ‘Are we asking them for something in return for this presentation? Do they trust us?’
After you’ve thoroughly explored your audience, you’re better prepared to tackle the next step of actually writing the message. Bonus, you’ve also put yourself in the valuable mindset of someone who will actually have to absorb this information.
Craft A Message With Purpose
Now that you know who you’re talking to, here’s where things usually get more complicated. While an investor deck is completely different in its content from a set of internal reporting slides, they have the same metrics for success. Their specific functions, the team members involved, and your audiences might vary wildly, but when writing any presentation, you must keep this primary goal in mind at all times:
We will convey valuable information, in a memorable way, to the proper audience…within the time that we have.
As useful as this ‘formula’ is, I can’t help but feel like I’m letting my audience down right now. This is easier said than done (or written). Writing is hard, even for trained professionals. It can take considerable time and resources to get just the right words for a catchy slogan or important slide, especially when layers of internal or external approval are involved. But, again, I can’t stress how important it is to keep this purpose in mind—it will make the difference between a bad presentation and an effective one.
Here are some more tips we suggest when writing a presentation of any kind:
- Make life easier with a word processor. Outline your entire presentation in a separate document, then copy/paste it into your chosen presentation file format.
- Collaborate with stakeholders. Do this early on and do it inside of the shared document—it will keep the creative energy flowing in the proper place. Check out our blog on Google Workspace for our recommendations.
- Collect your data and resources in advance, don’t try to research on the fly. Don’t close yourself off to new information, but remember that the chaos of research can make your job as a writer more difficult.
- Create a branded template, if you don’t have one already, and do it before you start adding specific details. This way, the next time you need to make a similar presentation, you’ll already have a clean framework.
- Ask for help from experts. If your team is lacking resources or if you’re stuck on an important section with a looming deadline, schedule a call with our writers and let us help you write the perfect presentation.
Summarize Important Information
Keeping in theme with the advice above, we’ll try to quickly summarize what we want you to take away from this written presentation and at the end of any presentation, we think you should do the same:
- Learn as much as possible about your audience and your topic before you start writing any presentation.
- Writing presentations efficiently, with purpose and a plan, will unlock your team’s potential and improve communications, both externally and internally.
- Summarize your purpose at the end of your presentation to remind your audience of important information they need to retain.
Have an important presentation on the horizon that you’d like to discuss? Schedule a call with one of our writers for more in-depth advice and assistance.