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design powerful powerpoint documents

How to design effective powerpoint business documents (reports, presentations). This will give you all the elements to produce consulting quality documents.

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design powerful powerpoint documents

  1. 2. How to design effective Powerpoint® documents Layout, structure and messages November 2008
  2. 3. Objective : why this document ? <ul><li>The purpose of this document is to help you design stunning powerpoint documents </li></ul><ul><li>It is based on our personnal experiences of making powerpoint reports and from what we learnt in consulting companies we have been working for. </li></ul><ul><li>We often have heard from clients that they were really impressed by consulting reports and presentations : clear, direct, well structured and always very professional looking. </li></ul><ul><li>We hope that after reading this document, and after practicing you’ll be able to design stunning powerpoint presentations </li></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  3. 4. Executive summary <ul><li>Choose a very simple layout and be consistent all through your document. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not use only bullet points : insert diagrams, charts, maps to support your messages. </li></ul><ul><li>Your presentation should be a logical series of headlines that tell the whole story : organize your arguments to support your key-messages. </li></ul><ul><li>Use storyboarding to help you structure your story </li></ul><ul><li>The headlines must be explicit with short and direct sentences </li></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  4. 5. L ayout
  5. 6. First, you have to choose a very simple and standard format <ul><li>If you are an employee, choose your company’s template </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The look of the template typically reflects the company’s culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It also reflects the way the company want to be perceived in case of an external audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if there are several different templates, choose the one that is the more simple, with the less objects or information on it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Otherwise, use a simple and standard template (just the one used for this document) </li></ul>- Example of a consulting template (BCG) - Source : BCG presentation to LA Harbor Commission 06Mar08 Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  6. 7. You have to be consistent all through the document Your document has to be professional. Try to imagine you’re designing a book that will be printed and sold. 1 4 3 2 Use the same font all through your document (but you may include some variations : bold, italic or underline). Choose a sans-serif font (ex : arial or helvetica). Do not use too much colors. 2 hues maximum (1 for highlighting messages), plus the text color (black is best). For each hue, you can use a different brightness Try to use the same line spacing all along your document Try to avoid cliparts (especially Powerpoint ones : everybody already saw them a thousand times elsewhere) Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  7. 8. It will speed up your document production and enhance communication effectiveness <ul><li>A simple and standard format will provide you with a ready-made framework. </li></ul><ul><li>It will help you structure your ideas in an efficient and sharp manner. </li></ul><ul><li>It will suppress the necessity to make decisions about format when producing your document. </li></ul><ul><li>It will speed up your writing and so enhance production efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>The audience (or readers) will easily know where to look for particular kinds of information : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In particular (Key) messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explanations… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A simple and standard format will disappear to the eyes of your audience and let them concentrate on what is important, the substance. </li></ul><ul><li>It will give a feeling of repetition that will promote your audience comfort. </li></ul>Document production Communication effectiveness Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  8. 9. Each part of the document format has its own objective Each page tells a different story 1 2 3 The headline tells the story The content explains the story The kicker-box tells the implications of the story Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com 1 3 2
  9. 10. The headline tells the story : only one single message per page <ul><li>Do not write empty statements or numbers : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The methodology is described below” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We found 4 major issues” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use a short sentence: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two lines maximum for the headline (but one is best) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write something meaningful that directs attention to the main points of the message </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Company X turnover is 3 times higher than company’s Y” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use headlines as the “story board” of your document: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When reading the headlines only, your audience should have a clear idea of the whole story </li></ul></ul>The headline A well written headline focus attention on the message the page conveys 1 Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  10. 11. The content explains the story : use all the elements you need to make your audience understand easily 2 Well-ordered bullet-points Examples Content of the page Diagrams Maps Charts or data tables All these elements should help you design a content that explains clearly very complex messages Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  11. 12. <ul><li>The kicker-box usually answers the “so-what ?” question at the end of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>It is NOT a continuation of the headline. </li></ul><ul><li>Kicker-boxes have to be concise and straight to the point. </li></ul>The kicker-box tells the implications of the story for your readers and audience 3 Kicker-boxes will make your presentations and reports more effective Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  12. 13. S tructure
  13. 14. Each part of a presentation has its own purpose and is necessary Body Title page Objectives Summary Next steps Executive Summary Should be as explicit as possible Summarizes the storyline and the key messages Tells the purpose of the study / report / presentation Tells the whole story Tells the key messages again Explains what will happen next Level of attention at its peak 1 2 3 4 5 6 Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  14. 15. The title page is as important as the rest of the document <ul><li>The title page has to set the tone of the document and should give a first idea of its objectives and key messages </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, it should include a few basic elements : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In case of a presentation, the name of the target audience / comity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An active title that generates interest, preferably including a verb (ex : How to design effective presentation) : it has to be as explicit as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It may be sometimes interesting to complete the title information by the use of a subtitle </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The name of the author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The date of the presentation or delivery report </li></ul></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  15. 16. The executive summary should summarize the storyline and the key messages Summarizes the storyline Should fit on one single page Contains the key messages Contains the key results numbers (revenue, loss, market share…) Executive summary Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  16. 17. The key messages are greatly dependent from the context of your presentation The different kind of objectives of your document <ul><li>What is their feeling on the matter of your presentation or report? </li></ul><ul><li>What are their main concerns and interests ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is somebody in a position to take a decision or trigger action ? </li></ul><ul><li>What is their attitude towards the author / presenter (you) ? </li></ul><ul><li>Will they be receptive or skeptical about your messages ? </li></ul><ul><li>To inform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the subject complex ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it very innovative ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To convince </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it imply a tough decision ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To trigger action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What will trigger the action you want your audience to take ? </li></ul></ul>The audience / readers Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  17. 18. An effective presentation should be a logical series of headlines that tell the whole story Arguments and supporting evidences Arguments and supporting evidences Arguments and supporting evidences Arguments and supporting evidences Arguments and supporting evidences Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com from the beginning to the end and follow the storyline to help your client understand your reasoning should logically follow the previous one Each headline
  18. 19. You should define your key ideas from the main findings and facts from your work <ul><ul><li>Key ideas </li></ul></ul>Use a logic tree to organize and gather the main facts and findings and define your key ideas - Analysis step : finding the key ideas - Transforming the key ideas in key messages will be the first step of effective communication Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  19. 20. You have to develop a message-based story by organizing arguments to support your key messages - Communication step : finding the arguments - <ul><ul><li>Key messages </li></ul></ul>Main supporting arguments (major sections of your document) Arguments (with facts and evidences on each page) Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  20. 21. A storyboard will help you visualize your document during its design You wanted to know the main reason for… We set up an exhaustive diagnosis… The main findings were… Because of… And of… We recommend that… The main opportunities are… But one big threat is… Therefore our action plan will be… Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  21. 22. To increase your effectiveness you’ll have to revise and refine your storyboard over the course of the project Structure + first hypothesis or ideas Final version of your document First draft of your document Successive versions of your document Start Finish - Evolution of the storyboard - When in project, start to design your storyboard at the very beginning Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  22. 23. A storyboard will help you design your storyline, especially when working in team Helps to check the state and progress of the document Helps to communicate ideas Helps to check the logic flow (is my story coherent ?) Allows to visualise each page of the document Storyboard Organizes the document production among the team Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  23. 24. The best way to make your storyboard is to print your pages and glue them on the wall <ul><li>Sketch manualy your different slides on A4 pages </li></ul><ul><li>or Post-It </li></ul>Glued on brown-paper or flip On the computer screen Use the slides sorter on Powerpoint Print your powerpoint slides Evolutive Communication tool       - Different ways to do storyboarding - Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  24. 25. M essages
  25. 26. Each headline should tell a value added message It has to be a real sentence that expresses an idea. There should be no ambiguity in your message <ul><li>The message in the headline should be the synthesis of the content of your slide. Remember : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The headline tells the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The content explains the story (gives the facts, argument and supportive evidences) </li></ul></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com A sentence Explicit Linked to the content Headline
  26. 27. It has to be a real sentence <ul><li>Your company has been heavily impacted by the downturn economy </li></ul>To be written <ul><li>The success relies mainly on management involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Our methodology will be based on employees interviews </li></ul><ul><li>The volume of product X sales has increased by 10% over the past two year </li></ul><ul><li>The company’s profit is far below expectation </li></ul><ul><li>The three phases of the project will be finished end of april </li></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com To be avoided <ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Volume of sales </li></ul><ul><li>Profit </li></ul><ul><li>Roadmap </li></ul><ul><li>Key success factor </li></ul>
  27. 28. The type of your messages depends on the objective of your document and therefore of your involvement - Objective - - Type of message & examples - Tell facts Inform <ul><li>XXX is the leading laptop computer resseller </li></ul><ul><li>Livestock farming is 1,5 times more polluting than transporation </li></ul>Convince Give opinion <ul><li>XXX will strenghten his n°1 position </li></ul><ul><li>Lowering meat consumption will have a massive effect on global warming </li></ul>Trigger action Advise <ul><li>You should partner with XXX </li></ul><ul><li>Eat meat only twice a week </li></ul>Level of involvement - + Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  28. 29. The same measures or facts could lead to the 3 types of messages <ul><li>Tell facts : Employee « bonuses » are not linked to results </li></ul><ul><li>Give opinion : The salary is not motivating enough </li></ul><ul><li>Advise : You should redesign it </li></ul>Results / objectives Salary Correlation : salary vs results/objectives - example- Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  29. 30. Your sentences have to be short, sharp and active Write short sentences and avoid too much adverbs and adjectives : the message will be understood quickly. Tighten up your writing ! Be sharp and direct : it will focus your audience / reader on what should be remembered Use verbs in active form : Active form is especially meaningful as you describe work that you have completed or are in the process of completing. Message with sharp and short sentences are easily remembered Sentences Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  30. 31. Summary <ul><li>Layout : it has to be simple and consistent. Use diagrams, charts and maps. </li></ul><ul><li>Structure : use storyboarding to help you structure your story. Any reader should understand the story by reading the headlines only. </li></ul><ul><li>Messages : your messages have to be explicit. Use short and direct sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice, practice, and pratice again… </li></ul>Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com
  31. 32. C heck-list
  32. 33. Document Quality Check-list One can understand the main idea of the document from the title The executive summary gives the key messages of your document Headlines are linked logically and tell a story The objectives of the document are clearly told at the beginning In all pages, the content support the headline There’s only one message per page The sentences are short and direct Every element on each page is useful to understand the story (no useless elements) Each headline is explicit (and is a real sentence) The layout is simple There are diagrams, charts and maps to support my messages (not only bullet points) There are few colors used in the document There are no cliparts (especially Powerpoint one’s) The kicker boxes answer a « so what question » All the pages are consistent Layout Structure Messages Free download at : www.thepptlibrary.com