We’re always looking for ways that we can increase our efficiency while continuing to deliver high-quality work. Sometimes, that means evolving our process beyond the things and ideas we’re creating and taking a deeper look at how we actually present that work. If you’re looking for new ways to make your work resonate with your audience or clients, use these tips for building engaging presentation decks.
1. Set Up the Work for Success
Before you delve into the meat and potatoes of the presentation, it’s important to give proper context to the meeting and why you’re all there in the first place. Take time to reiterate the assignment and reaffirm what it is that you’re doing. Explaining the process is a way to help calm your audience and build trust.
Follow that up by defining the desired outcome by the end of the presentation: what is the goal of today’s meeting? At the end of the day, you want to clearly outline what the problem is and how you plan to solve it (in the coming slides).
Although a lot of these conversations may be happening verbally, highlighting them visually in your presentation is an opportunity to control the pace and to focus the attention of your audience. Additionally, you can use this time to begin to weave a compelling and strategic narrative through your presentation—setting a firm foundation for you to present your work.
2. Present a Cohesive Package
It is useful to start each concept with an overarching name or keywords to set the stage. Use these moments to begin to tie the work back into the overall story in your presentation.
When it comes to the actual work, more is more. Not necessarily in the number of concepts but in the execution of those concepts. Whether you’re presenting logos, marketing strategy, or anything in between, having a plethora of examples and use-case scenarios shows that you’re thinking about how multiple things work together.
Something that we’re trying to do more of in our presentations is to think about all of the applicable scenarios in which we can help bring a branding concept to life for our clients. Usually, this will involve lots of mockups—in both the digital and traditional realms—so that we can demonstrate how a logo has flexibility across multiple applications.
Whatever you decide to show, saving the best (or recommended option) for last can be a beneficial strategy. As the narrative of your presentation builds, there’s a sense of anticipation for the “big reveal.” By showing concepts starting with the safest and ending with the most out-of-the-box, you can ease your audience into the work as each concept builds on the last.
3. Tie it All Together
Consistency is key across the work that you show. If you decide to show certain mockups for one option, you should show them for all of the options. This way it’s easy to do an apples-to-apples comparison at the end of your presentation.
It can also be helpful to include a summary slide to be able to show options side by side. By showing not only the new creative options but also any original context, you can easily demonstrate how you’ve solved the problems that you outlined at the beginning of the presentation.
Obviously, it’s important to keep the audience engaged. Avoiding long bulleted lists and spreading content out on multiple slides is a way to keep information easily digestible and control the pace of the presentation. Including humor and a storyline are additional ways to make sure that you can keep your audience members’ attention, which allows them to focus on the work you’re presenting.
As great as the work is, if it’s not structured in a way that’s easily understood and engaging, all of that work may not get the recognition it deserves. At the end of the day, the way you present your work is equal to—if not more important than—the work itself.
Zach solves problems for our clients through design and typography. And even though he draws influence from Bauhaus, Swiss, and Contemporary graphic design, we swear he’s not snooty.
Zach has 5+ years of agency and branding experience. He holds a B.F.A. in Communication Design from Washington University in St. Louis.