PowerPoint is unavoidable. By the time your average American graduates and enters the workforce, they will have been on the receiving end of hundreds of Microsoft-powered slide decks. Students get their lessons on Microsoft PowerPoint, salespeople make their pitches, and executives share their strategies — all through the mighty dot PPTX.
And that’s not to mention all of the other, less-popular presentation software available. Millions of people use Apple Keynote and Google Slides every month to create presentations.There are also more novel approaches which occasionally surface, such as the Prezi software made famous in TED talks or the Presentation.js software package.
These solutions aim to solve the same problem in different ways: helping customers communicate better. Through powerful storytelling, good design, animation, and collaborative tools, presentation software like PowerPoint can be a superpower for anybody looking to make their case.
Anatomy of an effective PowerPoint
The impact of a great PowerPoint presentation can be huge. It can help educate thousands of potential engineers or doctors. It can help to close multi-million dollar deals. It can help convince people to fundamentally change their behavior. It can help to build industries that shape the world.
On the flip side, we’ve all been subjected to downright terrible presentations that waste time, energy and productivity. More often than not a PowerPoint ends up detracting from the presenter’s point. You’ve probably sat through hundreds of slides that left absolutely no impact on you. Some of them were probably so bad that you may have been offended.
So, what’s the difference between a great, creative presentation and a waste of time? It comes down to what’s being said, and how it’s delivered.
A good presentation has both a message which resonates logically and a design that weaves an emotional narrative. Falling short on either of these makes the difference between that impactful, world-changing PowerPoint and a snooze-fest with accompanying slides.
What are your options for PowerPoint consulting services?
Looking to close that big deal, win that strategic partnership, or more effectively communicate with your company’s executives? You may benefit from working with PowerPoint consulting services to create a custom PowerPoint. A skilled professional can look at what you’re trying to say and work with you to deliver that message in the most impactful way.. The value proposition is straightforward, while the execution can be anything but.
Depending on what you need, there are several consulting options available to you. There are a range of options , reflecting the diverse use cases for a PowerPoint presentation.
The Two Types of PowerPoint Firms
. On the end of the spectrum, you’ll find full-service consulting firms that will help with both the design and the messaging. These firms can be an international company or a local boutique agency. If you don’t need assistance with high-level messaging the other option is to contract out to professional design services. Again, this ranges from large agencies to single freelancers.
Don’t worry too much about the size of the company. Instead look for experience within your industry and a passion for your business in particular. Passion wins out over the size of firm every day. As is true in most cases — bigger isn’t necessarily better.
From these two different types of companies, there are three levels of service offerings you can look for in a PowerPoint consulting service: Follow Style, Creative Design, or Full-service Consulting. Follow style is the least transformative, and Full-service is the most.
In terms of demand, there is a “PowerPoint consulting bell curve” at play here, where the bulk of projects that need consulting probably need Creative Design. As is the case in many industries, comparatively few people need either the highest-option or the lowest — instead the middle middle ground is the most sensible.
Let’s quickly review those options in more detail.
Many companies have an existing PowerPoint template, brand and style. They know what they want to say because they’ve already gone through the strategy work required. Also, they are confident that the branding reflects their message and their positioning in the market. Yet, when they go to finish the presentation it’s missing something. They just can’t put their finger on it.
Does this sound like you? For companies meeting this criteria, a Follow Style design option is where they will see the most ROI. Since you’ve already done most of the hard work internally, you just need a trusted partner to do high-quality design execution. Sometimes this can be called production design.
Basically, in a Follow Style project, your content is taken and flowed into the template. The designer you work with will then go over the presentation to make it shine. This is the lowest-end type of “consulting” because it’s such an execution level project there’s hardly any consultation involved.
There can be other services that tie into a Follow Style project to make it more manageable. For example, at SketchDeck, we also provide a project manager to help hit deadlines and a quality control manager to review work. You’ll see similar levels of service offerings from agencies at a premium price, and freelancers by definition don’t offer anything additional. Because of this, SketchDeck is a good option for quality production design.
But just because there’s a pre-established style doesn’t mean that there’s no creativity involved. Designers might choose to make small creative tweaks as needed. Their goal is to help you achieve your best possible presentation, and if it goes beyond just a Follow Style level of service, any agency or designer will most likely be able to apply a greater creativity as appropriate.
In this case, you can think of this as the “salt to taste” common in cooking. If your particular presentation needs a bit more seasoning, your presentation design service should oblige — and if they don’t then you might consider a different provider!
At SketchDeck, we see that about 60% of our presentation design projects end up at the Creative Design service level. It’s the most common option because so many business people know what they want to say, but they have absolutely no idea how to design the slides-they end up being a hybrid Franken-PowerPoint.
This level of service is a full overhaul of your presentation’s visual design. Beyond polish, it is a complete redesign. You can start with just content and structure bullet points on a slide, or you can already have some idea of layout but lack the skills to execute yourself. The designer will take care of the rest. This includes the creation of custom infographics and flowcharts to represent your data when called for.
Of course, you are still a part of an organization that has a specific brand, style, and template which must be taken into consideration. Most designers will be perfectly capable and happy to take this into account and customize your presentation to the specific format which is will be shown. For example, a sales pitch requires a totally different design format than an event keynote — but they both must be on-brand.
This type of business PowerPoint presentation is in SketchDeck’s wheelhouse, and you can see multiple examples on our portfolio. In general, either a design service or a full-service consulting firm may work on this type of presentation. Both have their advantages. If you’re looking for additional help with the messaging, it may be better to go with the full-service agency. However, if you don’t need that it will almost certainly be more straightforward, faster and far less expensive to work with a design service.
Of course, one of the most impactful services is reworking the content and structure of the presentation itself. Designing a presentation with a messaging or flow which doesn’t work is like putting lipstick on a pig. It might make your PowerPoint a prettier, but you aren’t going to convince anyone. This is where a full-service PowerPoint consulting agency can help.
When thinking about the flow of your presentation, you may wish to follow a best-practice framework. In the sales world, you’ll often run into SPIN, or Challenger Sales. You’ll find that following some sort of recognizable formula will often get the best reaction out of your audience. However, if that’s not right for your situation, any full-service consultant can also create a customized presentation for your specific needs.
In May 1990, Bill Gates bestowed upon us the tremendous joy and burden of MicroSoft PowerPoint and for better and worse, the world of business has never been the same since. Millions of working hours have been wasted on bad presentations, and they’ve also been the backdrop to some of the most important pitches and transformative moments in business. Which category will yours be in?
If you’d like to reach the latter category, you’ll probably need some help. For pure design services like Follow Style or Creative Design, SketchDeck is your best bet. We’re simply the only service providing agency-like team support paired with on-demand pricing.
We’ve helped create pitch decks that have gone on to earn multi-million dollar funding rounds, and provided the backbone for sales teams to close thousands of deals.
To get a quote for your design, click here to schedule a call with a design specialist.