There are plenty of tools you need to succeed, from a can-do attitude to the right team. But no matter what type of business you’re in, there’s one indispensable tool you’re going to need—an impactful presentation deck.
The right presentation deck can act as a bridge between where you are now and where you want to be. This could be selling your idea, bringing in capital, or motivating others to take things to the next level.
In this article, we’ll explore the basics of great presentation design, with tips, tricks and ways to present so you can make an impact that’s packed with power. Boom!
Table of contents: 10 tips for presenting a persuasive pitch deck
- The importance of a presentation deck
- Reasons for creating a presentation deck
- Why design in presentation is important
- How to write a presentation from scratch
- How to design a presentation from scratch
- How long should a presentation be?
- 10 presentation tips
The importance of a presentation deck
There are moments in life when you need to communicate a lot of information in a very short time. A well-designed presentation deck can help you do just that and more.
A presentation deck can:
- Engage the audience and motivate them to listen
- Reduce miscommunication
- Demonstrate the presenter’s level of expertise and professionalism
- Sell your idea or product
In response to a Prezi survey, Forbes reported, 70% of employed respondents say presentation skills are critical for career success. The article author added, the other 30% probably just don’t know it yet.
The same article also claims 20% would do anything to avoid giving a presentation. If that’s you, consider this: a well-designed presentation deck takes the pressure off the person presenting.
Reasons for creating a presentation deck
Some people say there are only two reasons for a presentation: to inform or to persuade. This is somewhat true but there are also nuances, so let’s break it down into three keys areas:
- To inform or instruct This might be implementing a new system or informing people about a new process.
- To persuade or motivate This could be selling a product or service, or asking investors for capital. It can also be about getting your team to strive for a goal.
- To inspire or entertain This could be inspiring a group of people about a place or service, or replacing a speech given at a party or event, with a presentation supported by visuals.
Why design in presentations is important
In short, a well-designed presentation aids communication, making it easier for your audience to take in and retain information.
How to write a presentation from scratch
The biggest mistake is treating a presentation deck like other communication documents. While most documents are read by individuals, presentations have the benefits of being paired with a presenter, who talks the audience through it. Therefore you don’t need to have detailed information on the page. Outline key thoughts only. And be sure to keep the language simple.
How to design a presentation from scratch
- Outline key thoughts. It's the presenter's job to talk in detail, not the deck.
- Use images. Make sure they enhance the information, not detract or worse, distract.
- Reduce text. The less words, the better. Details should be verbalised.
- Present data visually. Use graph-maker templates to bring data to life.
- Be clear. Reduce information down to only what’s necessary.
- Design well. With presentation templates, there’s no longer an excuse
How long should a presentation be
Like string, the deck can be as long as you want it to be. As a starting point, the presenter should aim to talk for one minute per slide, so if you’ve been given 20 minutes to present, aim for roughly 20 slides. But as it’s been said before, less is always more so keep it short and your audience will thank you.
10 presentation tips
As promised, here are 10 ways you can blitz your presentation.
01. Know your audience
Not all audiences are created equal. If you want to come out of a meeting with your goal achieved, you need to make sure you’re pitching to the right people.
Research your audience ahead of time. Find out their likes and dislikes, goals or aspirations, particularly if they relate to your presentation topic. Speaking their language gives you a better chance of success, so do you research to make sure you’re in alignment.
Targeting the right investors is important—but so is blowing them away with a well-designed presentation deck. Get started with one of Canva’s presentation templates, like the Green and Neon Green Typographic Presentation or the Blue and White Simple Pitch Deck Presentation.
02. Start with an elevator pitch
You need to tell your audience who you are and what you’re about from the get-go. You can do this with an elevator pitch.
Your first one to two slides should clearly identify the problem in the market and how your business is going to solve it. This problem/solution is what’s going to get them interested, so you need to use it to grab their attention from the very beginning.
So, for example, let’s say you’re a Los Angeles-based transportation startup aimed at changing the way people commute. Your first slide might say something along the lines of
“The average Angeleno spends 47 minutes on their morning commute. With our technology, we’re going to cut that time in half by completely revolutionizing the ride share system in LA—and give the commuters of our city back their time.”
The elevator pitch should be short, to the point, and—most importantly—leave your investors intrigued and wanting to know more.
Need to brainstorm your elevator pitch? Keep your ideas organized with one of Canva’s graphic organizer templates, like the Blue White and Orange Simple Brainstorming Graphic Organizer or the Red and Yellow Brainstorming Organizer Graphic Organizer.
03. Show investors your plans to earn revenue
If you’re pitching to investors, you’re asking them to give you money. So the single most important thing you can show them in your deck? How you’re going to make that money back.
Your presentation deck should clearly illustrate how your business is going to make money—and how quickly you expect to generate income. The more secure your investors feel in your business’ viability and ability to drive profit, the more confident they’ll be in investing.
If you want to show investors how your business is making (and will continue to make) money, it can be helpful to include your financial report. Get started with one of Canva’s report templates, like the Orange Navy Modern Photo Company Financial Report or White & Green Vintage Business Annual Report.
04. Add emotion to your presentation deck
Engaging your investors’ business sense is important, but so is the emotional sense.
The best decks pack a serious emotional punch. They make your audience care about you, your business, and what you’re going to bring to the table.
To do this, you can include details about your brand story, your customers, and how you plan to revolutionize your industry. Figure out how to emotionally connect with your audience and why they should care about you and your business—and then infuse that into every slide and bullet point.
In order to pack an emotional punch, you need to really know your customers. And the best place to get to know them? Social media. Design social media graphics that help you connect with your audience with one of Canva’s templates, like the Beige Vintage Flower Instagram Post or the All-Day Breakfast Instagram Post.
05. Transform your numbers and data into a visual story
Data is a great way to support your story. But without beautiful, eye-catching graphics, data can become boring, quickly. Since people tend to have a hard time connecting with numbers and data, you need to transform your numbers and data into a story.
When thinking about the story behind your data, it’s important to consider the following:
- What message do I want these numbers to convey?
- Why is it important to my overall pitch?
- How does it impact investment potential?
Then, take that information and turn it into a visual story. Use impactful imagery (like charts, photos, etc.) to drive the point home. Forging that connection through data visualisation is going to make your communication a whole lot easier.
One of the best ways to transform numbers and data into a story? Infographics. Transform your data into a story investors will connect to, with one of Canva’s infographic templates, like the Retro Colors Costing Business Infographic or the Blue Minimalist Branding Infographic.
06. Use your branding throughout your presentation design
Your presentation deck is an opportunity to show who you are—so the entire presentation should be on-brand.
Use your brand color palette, fonts, logo, to create a unique, branded, one-of-a-kind experience.
The more on-brand your presentation feels, the better sense your audience will get of who you are as a brand—and, if they connect to that, the more likely they are to act.
If you want your presentation deck to feel on brand, you need to have all of your branding assets in place—including your logo. Get started with one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Beige Bear Children & Kids Logo or the Blue Square Icon Abstract Logo.
07. Instill a sense of urgency
Urgency is a key part of the process. At the end of your presentation, you may want your audience to feel like they need to get in on your business idea, quickly.
If this is the case, make sure that you’re instilling a sense of urgency (aka FOMO) on every slide and in every bullet point.
Inspire a serious case of FOMO. Get started with one of Canva’s presentation templates, like the Turquoise Photo Advertising Pitch Deck Presentation or the Green Round Hot Neons Gradients Pitch Deck Presentation.
08. Practice, practice, practice
Your presentation needs to be well-thought-out and presented professionally. And the way to get it on point? Practice.
The more you practice, the clearer the message and delivery. And the more likely it will be to connect with your audience.
You need to schedule plenty of time to practice. And in order to stay on that schedule, you need a calendar. Get started with one of Canva’s calendar templates, like the Yellow and Gray Undated Weekly Calendar or the Colorful Quote Calendar.
09. Keep it short and simple
When you’re putting together your presentation deck, you might be tempted to include anything and everything you can about you, your company, and your business model, and… the list goes on.
However, information overload is a surefire way to bore your audience—so if you want your presentation to make a real impact, keep it short, simple, and focus on the information that matters.
Content plays a huge part in creating an impactful presentation deck—but so does your design. Make an impact with one of Canva’s presentation templates, like the Gold Grayscale Bigger Bolder Better Pitch Deck Presentation or the Red Pitch Deck Presentation.
10. Find your unique selling point
Think about ways you can set yourself apart and make a real impact on your audience. Ask yourself:
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- What unique features does your company offer?
- Why are customers more likely to choose what you’re offering?
From there, you can structure your talking points around these unique selling propositions.
Leave your audience with something to remember you by—and that includes a business card. Get started with one of Canva’s business card templates, like the Blue Orange Corporate Company Business Card or the Light Brown Furniture Interior Design Business Card.
Additional presentation tips and tricks
- Include an introduction slide on the second pageThis should indicate what the audience is about to hear, and how long it should take.
- Be single-mindedTry to stick to one key message throughout, as it’s easier for the audience to remember.
- Use memorable imagesThis will make your presentation more impactful and memorable. Don’t use images for the sake of it.
- Use a different layout on each pageThe overall design should look the same, but different page layouts keep the audience interested.
- Quotes, facts and figuresThese are punchy ways to get your point across. Use them.
- LegibilityMake sure the type can be easily read. If unsure, make it bigger.
- Summarize with a summaryTowards the end, condense the presentation into 2-3 takeaways.
- End with a ‘thank you’ and ask for questionsShow your appreciation, and invite your audience to engage.
Now that you have these tips for creating a killer presentation deck, strut into that next meeting, event, or classroom with the confidence to show your audience what you can do. You’ve got this, so what are you waiting for? Get out there, tiger, and present!