People are more skeptical than ever before. 97% of business professionals have a strong preference for trustworthy content, per DemandGen Report. Nothing can overshadow your credibility and message faster than a shady-looking slide deck. Your next presentation is an opportunity to fight for the trust of your audience and inspire action.
Presentations are a blend of sales and storytelling ideas. You immediately need to convince the audience that you deserve trust and attention. Once you've jumped the first hurdle, you can start to sell your ideas by telling a great story.
You probably know how to use PowerPoint pretty well and most of us can achieve decent results with templates and bullet points. However if you're here, you're probably striving for something better than a "decent" slide design. You're here because you want to deliver an exceptional presentation.
Luckily, you don't need to spend your entire weekend fiddling with PowerPoint to achieve above-average slide design. You also don't need to pick between speed and quality. A slide design specialist can give you superior results, and give them to you quickly.
Here are 7 reasons to consider getting your next presentation professionally designed.
Reason #1: You need results fast
Okay, you've got 72 hours until your presentation. Before you spend 10 frustrating hours Googling "PowerPoint hacks," stop. Stop and really think about what you're signing up for.
What is your time worth?
Is designing a presentation really worth 6, 8, or 10 hours of your time? If you spend an entire Thursday working on PowerPoint, what other priorities will be sacrificed? Each PowerPoint hour might be spent better on another project. After all, non-designers are rarely very efficient. It may take you an hour to accomplish what a pro could do in 5 minutes.
Deciding to do it yourself has opportunity costs. In simpler terms, something will probably fall off your plate, and there could be rippling consequences.
Be honest about your strengths
The world's most productive people know when to raise their hand and ask for help. Productivity means being honest about your strengths and weaknesses. If you're slow or unskilled on a project, you probably shouldn't do it yourself. This idea is central to The eMyth Revisited, a book that should be required reading for everyone.
Remember, your clients won't award you extra credit because you struggled for hours on your PowerPoint design. Your boss could be very displeased if your workload suffers. Sometimes it's about the journey and sometimes it's about results. Presentation design is definitely something where results are all that matters.
Reason #2: Your graphic design team is busy
So, there's a backlog of requests for the graphic design team, and that's putting it lightly.
The designers are swamped and they're running behind schedule. Missed deadlines are inevitable. Requesting “help” with your presentation design isn't a nice thing to do. If your designers have to ignore another deadline to deliver your presentation, someone is bound to lose.
You could try to weasel your way to the top of the design queue by buying the whole design team a round of almond milk lattes, but you probably shouldn't resort to bribery. Outsourcing to a professional is a reliable way to get a design done on short notice, especially when your coworkers are already staying late to get their job done.
Aside: We've helped hundreds of B2B teams visualize big ideas in the past 5 years. Along the way, we've learned a lot about how to create exceptional B2B design results at scale. Learn more in our free eBook: The Definitive Guide to B2B Design
Reason #3: Most graphic designers aren’t presentation experts
Graphic designers have a mixture of feelings about presentation design projects, from elated excitement, to Microsoft PowerPoint shaped terror. It’s a polarising topic, just like Marmite. Presentation design takes a special knack, and some designers have a real passion for slide design and storytelling.
Every graphic designer has a unique mixture of passions, experience, skills, and personality traits. Detail-oriented designers may love the structured requirements of print design projects. Creative thinkers may gravitate toward UX designs for the web. Other designers have a real gift for using visuals to convey a message and a rare love for slides, and these individuals can excel at presentation design.
Presentations are a uniquely multi-dimensional approach to telling a story with words and imagery. You need to find the right designer to make your project successful. A pro presentation designer delivers real passion, knowledge, and experience to slide design projects.
Reason #4: A high-stakes presentation
You want your all-time biggest lead to finally sign a contract. Maybe you need to impress your board of directors, and they're notoriously critical. Perhaps you're going in front of a panel of venture capitalists to give an elevator pitch in 180 seconds or less.
The pressure is on.
You can't afford to look like an amateur under any conditions, especially when the stakes are high. You need to avoid a generic presentation template and grammatical errors at all costs. It's time to prepare for success with great design and confidence.
High-stakes are a solid reason to consider working with a professional presentation designer to wow your audience. A pro can help you transform ideas into messaging and visuals. A presentation specialist can also help you inspire emotions of drama and suspense by creating a well-paced presentation.
Reason #5: You do a lot of presentations
Presentation designers know how to scale a great presentation into future projects. They build up a well of knowledge about clients from each interaction, creative brief, or slide deck, and they can replicate wins at scale.
A presentation designer can deliver faster and more accurate results each time you collaborate.
Reason #6: You need loads of visual collateral
Planning a big event like a conference or trade show is an overwhelming life experience. At some point or another, every first-time event planner will realize they forgot to plan design. It's a heart-dropping moment, and it gets even worse when you start to spec out the design scope.
So, you've got exactly three weeks to produce slide decks, brochures, signage, and booklets for 3,000 guests and 800 vendors. Is it too late to cancel your annual conference?
When you need to deliver an epic amount of collateral, you need a partner who can deliver at scale.
As soon as your heart-rate returns to normal, start working on outsourcing your large-scale design request. Find someone who's nailed a similar project in the past, because you know they're able to quickly replicate a design concept across different mediums.
Reason #7: You need an engaged, attentive audience
Did you know that goldfishes have a longer attention span than the average adult? It's true. Distraction sets in after just 8.25 seconds , on average. You'd better commit to giving a fascinating presentation because you're competing against short attention spans and the siren's song of TikTok videos on your audience's smartphones.
Humans are visual creatives, and we're also surprisingly fast to form conclusions. Within 1/10th of a second, on average, we decide whether a person or business is credible.
The human brain processes visuals at an astounding rate.
94% of the elements we consider when gauging trust are visuals, such as:
Motion and interactive elements
Amount of text
'Look and feel'
You've got milliseconds to win audience trust and attention, and even then, you've only won half the battle. You'll spend the rest of your presentation competing for attention.
The quality of presentation design plays a huge role in whether you're able to get your point across. Solid presentation text may not matter if it's paired with snooze-worthy slide design. Slide design can capture and build attention and engagement.
Finally, it's a joy to work with a designer
Perhaps you're not sold yet? It's ok. The bonus final reason to work with a designer is that it's wonderful fun. You come up with ideas, chicken-scratched onto napkins (or iPads), and your heroic designer spins them into visual gold. It's a magical experience, and you get to do it all whilst chopping your inbox down to zero (if you're that kinda person).
So, if you're ready to experience the relief, joy, professional success and gosh-darn visual-slickness of working with a presentation designer, then walk this way.
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Jasmine Henry is a Seattle-based freelance writer, with specialties in technology, analytics, software, and related fields. She holds a MS degree in Informatics & Analytics, and a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Informatics from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Her work has appeared on Forbes, HP Nucleus, IBM Big Data Hub, Time, ADP Spark, Reuters, and more.