The Importance of Design in Presentations

Presentation design… is it really needed?

People tend to underestimate the power of good design in presentations. It can be easy to think that it’s an unnecessary embellishment, or just something extra to look at if there’s time. However, design is in fact a crucial marketing asset, especially when it comes to presentations.

Think about it – you’ve spent hours crafting and honing your message, ensuring the content is relevant and engaging. So, when it comes to adding it into a presentation, you wouldn’t just carelessly throw your quality content onto some bland slides and call it a day, right? The visual element of your presentation needs just as much effort and consideration as the content. A well-designed presentation elevates and reinforces your content, whereas a poorly designed one may distract from, or even diminish your content.

For example, you wouldn’t want to make the common mistake of featuring text-heavy slides overloaded with bullet points that lack visual engagement – you’d instantly lose your audience’s attention. It’s crucial to strike a delicate balance between aesthetics and usability, where a visually pleasing design shouldn’t compromise the message’s effectiveness.

However, design needs to do more than just aesthetics.

It plays a crucial role in presenting a solution for a problem effectively and engagingly. By using visual elements and strategic communication techniques, design can simplify a problem by presenting information in a visually appealing and organised manner, enabling the audience to grasp the core issues effortlessly.

That’s why every presentation needs to do more than to just look good.

Still not convinced as to the value of design in a presentation?

Here are three reasons why it’s so important:

It makes it more memorable – Humans are visual learners and are much more likely to retain information when it is presented visually. Since the age of cave paintings, to emojis used today, visual communication is key to our development, learning and understanding. According to Harvard Business Review: “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.”

It grabs the audience’s attention – You have a very small window to make an impression: the average attention span of an audience within a presentation is around 10 minutes. So not only is making it visually appealing more likely to catch the eye, but adding imagery also makes your message easier to digest – conveying more of your message quickly and efficiently. Prezi found: “It takes 1/10 of a second to understand a visual scene, compared to 60 seconds to read 200-250 words.”

It inspires action – One of the most common goals when giving a presentation is to encourage the audience to take action. So how do you go about making it more persuasive? By adding visuals, of course. In this study about the effectiveness of visuals in presentations, Prezi noted: “Researchers found that when the presentation was delivered with visual aids, it was 43% more effective at getting people to take action than when the presenter used no accompanying visuals.”

Ultimately, a well-designed presentation is far more likely to truly capture attention. And the more the audience is engaged, the more likely they’ll take in your key messages and really understand and consider them. Plus, you are far more likely to persuade your audience of a particular view or solution with quality visuals.

It will also bring your story to life when considering the power of visual storytelling (read more about this in our last blog post).

So, whether in a sales pitch, a seminar, or an informational talk, when your presentation uses design effectively, it will be more successful at keeping your audience engaged and getting your message across.

Steve Alford

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