Steve Jobs once famously said that if you know your subject, you don't need PowerPoint. But was he right?

Great presenters might not need a visual aids, but remember that an effective presentation is about your audience not the presenter. Research continues to show that well developed visual aids (often created in PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or with a flip chart and pen) can significantly increase audience engagement, interaction and retention. This can only be a good outcome for the presenter, whether you are a seasoned professional or a nervous, reluctant speaker!

Here are my top 5 tips for creating and delivering more effective visual presentations:

1. Don't be a PowerPoint parrot - Your audience can read the content on the slide. Your job as the presenter is to 'add value' to the content, not repeat it word for word. Reading aloud what they can already read is a sure fire way of disengaging your audience.

2. Your slides shouldn't make sense - This might sound odd but remember that this is a presentation, not a leave behind. Use key words not complete sentences. Less is more.  Your role as presenter is to help communicate the messaging and to be an essential part of the communication process. If the slides work in isolation from the presenter, it is not a presentation. Bullet points don't work, if you don't believe me, contact us and take the bullet point test!

3. Control the flow of information - Don't put all the information on the screen at once. PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi all have the ability to control the flow of information. These functions exists for good reason; it allows you to decided when you reveal your content. Only reveal content when you want your audience to do something with it. It might take a little more practise to deliver well, but it's worth every second.

4. Visuals are more powerful than words - It's true, a picture can paint a thousand words and the right picture is a thousand times more memorable. But be careful, it's not always as simple as selecting a photograph to convey a message. Select the wrong image and you can throw your audience into a thought process which takes them away from the message you're trying to convey. Cliché 'puzzle pieces' and 'handshakes' really don't add any value to your presentation, if anything they will turn-off your audience.

5. There is no glory in practise, but without practise there is no glory - Well constructed and well designed presentations cannot be delivered well without practise. Practice improves performance in every field of endeavour. That’s why the world’s greatest athletes spend countless hours perfecting their craft. The better you know your presentation, the more effectively you will be able to tailor your delivery to suit the mood and reaction of your audience.

Ultimate Presentations specialise in helping presenters deliver more effective communications.

Written by Richard Newman November of 2016