Virtual Presentation Tips for a Great Presentation

Published on
February 12, 2020
The importance of great design for presentations should not go understated.

A PowerPoint that is thoughtfully designed (both visually and logically) helps presenters get their talking points across to their audience. As a presentation design agency, we always ask our clients who their audience is and how the presentation will be delivered. There are notable differences in what makes for good presentation design when it is an in-person meeting or virtual. With the help of yoyomeeting, here are some key considerations for the two types of presentations and what to keep in mind when designing a presentation deck for virtual meetings.

Virtual presentations vs. In-person presentations

While there are many similarities between virtual presentations and in-person presentations, there are subtle—but important—differences. Presentations delivered virtually rely on the internet in lieu of a physical meeting space, allowing individuals and groups to attend a meeting remotely or watch the presentation after the fact. However, having attendees located elsewhere than a central physical room can oftentimes lead to more difficulty maintaining their attention. With an online audience, there are higher risks of distraction than with a live, in-person audience.

In-person presentations

For an in-person presentation, the speaker can better control the environment for the audience. When presenting in front of an audience, it is especially important to be prepared to express your message through your physical presence—such as facial expressions, stance, and eye contact—more than through your script and the slideshow itself.

Virtual presentations

With virtual presentations, the visual focus shifts from the presenter to the slideshow; as a presenter, your use of words and intonation are even more critical. Designing a presentation deck for virtual delivery has additional visual and technical considerations compared to those for in-person delivery. Colors, the number of words used in a slide, and photos all have to be carefully chosen to help maintain the audience’s attention throughout the presentation and prevent information overload. Additionally, PowerPoint presentations for online meetings need to be designed to look correct across all screens and devices.

Brainstorming for presentation development

Virtual presentation design tips

With an increased focus on design, there are many factors to consider when designing a virtual presentation for a remote audience. Here are some design tips for creating presentation slides for your next virtual meeting.

1. Keep it simple

A great design starting point for virtual presentations is to keep it simple. The slides used in such presentations should follow a simple design that express the presenter’s message plainly. The main points and purpose for each slide should be easily identifiable—the details can usually be filled in by the presenter’s speaking.

2. Use colors effectively

The colors used in the presentation can influence the audience’s interpretation of various points in the slideshow. In some cases, your color choices may be restricted by corporate-branded templates or company brand guidelines, but you can also consider the colors of your photos. Color psychology can play a subtle role in how your virtual audience responds to your message; using color psychology to your advantage can help make an impact.

3. Create purposeful titles

Slide titles play an important role in presentations; they inform the viewer and provide context for the slide content.Titles can go beyond simply naming the subject of the slide—such as “Company Overview”—and instead, state the main idea for that slide. For example, a slide titled “Competitive Advantage” might be renamed to state the advantage. Purposeful slide titles prime viewers for the content presented and in turn, help them follow the presentation more easily.

4. Choose 'safe' fonts

The fonts used in the presentation should reflect not only the company brand, but also the tone of the message. Most importantly, all fonts used must be easily legible for any individual—sans serif fonts tend to be safer than serif fonts. Be sure to consider how the fonts look across devices, factoring in smaller and larger screens and whether the font is installed.

5. Limit charts and diagrams

The use of data can help make your presentation more convincing; however, presenting too much data can overwhelm the audience and lose sight of the key takeaways (circling back to the concept of information overload). Consider limiting the number of charts and diagrams, using them only when needed—typically, this is when detailed information needs to be simplified.

6. Tell a story

Any presentation should follow a story as you progress through the slides. For virtual presentations, you need to capture the attention of your audience without the aid of body language. Telling the story and presenting your key messages logically will help keep your audience on track and attentive.

7. Use transitions and animations minimally

Since virtual presentations are transmitted through the internet, the chance of lag and audio-visuals going out of sync are high for each viewer, depending on their quality of connection. It is good practice to restrict the use of transitions and animations to keep the moving element sat a minimum, which will better avoid the presentation being streamed choppily to your audience. Any animations used should be more simple and subtle than complex.

8. Emphasize key points

Highlighting important text can leave lasting impression in the minds of the individuals viewing your presentation.Emphasizing key points by bolding, underlining or using different colors can drive home key points for each slide.

9. Use white space

White space on presentation slides is a subtle design element,but oh-so important—not everyone notices when it’s properly used, but everyone can tell when it’s not. White space is any clear, empty space around individual elements such as images, slide titles, and other text boxes (such as paragraphs). Having sufficient white space helps the slide appear less busy or jumbled, which can interfere with the message a presenter is trying to convey.

Takeaways

We hope these tips for virtual presentations help you create a well-designed, effective presentation. Remember: for virtual meetings, it’s important to capture the attention of your audience, engage, and make sure the message is easy to understand throughout the presentation. Great slide and presentation design will help your audience connect and resonate with the content after the presentation is completed.

For more information both designing and presenting virtual presentations, readout contribution to yoyomeeting’s article on virtual presentation tips.

With these tips, you are better equipped to design impactful and effective PowerPoint presentations for your next virtual meeting. Best of luck! (If you ever need a helping hand, feel free to reach out.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Working with Stinson: The Presentation Agency

What exactly do presentation agencies do?

We provide all the help you may need to design presentations that achieve your goals. This can include content consulting, presentation slide design, custom icons and illustrations, and presentation handouts—ultimately, our team of PowerPoint designers and consultants develop a comprehensive presentation solution that meets your specific needs.

Why do companies work with presentation agencies?

Consider how much time you (or your team) spend making PowerPoint presentations for meetings. Think about the back and forth over which fonts, colors, icons, and images to use. Is it okay to use bullet points? Did you use the right brand colors? Does the slide look too crowded and busy? Or does it look too plain? How do you create the look and feel that you're picturing? After the design is done, do you have enough time to practice presenting?

As presentation experts, it is our second nature to understand your goals and work with you to create the professional PowerPoint deck that you envisioned. You can learn more about our 3-phase process here.

By leaving the presentation design to an agency like Stinson, you save yourself the time and worry over the look, feel, and progression of your presentation—we make your PowerPoint presentation-ready so that you can focus on the presentation delivery.

Which presentation design service will I need?

As a presentation company, we offer every service you may need to develop your you may need to develop your PowerPoint—however, it's tough to say exactly which services of ours would benefit you the most without having chatted about your company, industry, and presentation uses.

We've generalized the scenarios that we regularly see and help our clients with. If your situation is similar to any of the below, then rest assured that our presentation experts have proven success in developing solutions.

  • You have an upcoming presentation with investors or clients. You feel your slide deck looks outdated or dull, and you don't know how to help it. You're also not sure if the content in your presentation conveys your value. View our case study where our presentation development and content consulting services helped our client achieve their investor funding goals.
  • Your company has regular internal department presentations. Everyone works on their respective slides, which are then combined into one presentation deck. The resulting PowerPoint does not have a cohesive look and somehow, there are five new shades of your corporate colors. We can help you identify your common slide layouts and design easy-to-use custom PowerPoint templates so your team members can create seamless, unified slides.
  • Your company has a great PowerPoint template that strongly reflects your branding, but your team tends to include too much text and irrelevant images on their slides. During the presentation, key messages are lost. We offer presentation training for exactly this—we'll train your team to create better slides more efficiently.

Expectations when working with us

How does partnering with a PowerPoint designer work?

Once you contact us, we'll meet with you and ask for as much context as possible regarding the project: what materials you already have, who is presenting, who is the audience, and so on—this is our Discover phase. From there, we move onto Develop and Design where we start defining the narrative and visual characteristics of your new presentation. For more details, please read our process.

How long do projects take?

Our standard turnaround for presentation development is 2–4 weeks; for custom presentation templates, our typical turnaround is 3–6 weeks. We know this is a wide range, but due to the collaborative nature of our presentation design process (i.e. asking for and incorporating your feedback), our turnaround time also relies on your responsiveness and availability. We do offer a rush service if your timelines are short.

How much does a presentation design cost?

We price on a project-by-project basis, involving a number of key factors outlined in our pricing model. However, we do require a minimum project cost of $1,500.

We often see companies that do not have budget allocations for presentation design and are hesitant to make the initial investment. We understand—at first, it can be difficult to see the value and difference a well-designed, practical presentation can make. For our clients that started in this situation, we worked on a smaller pilot test project; when they saw the positive ROI of the presentation, they were able to secure larger budgets and found more presentations that needed our help.

What are the final files that I will receive?

All of our final PowerPoint (or other presentation software) deliverables are shared with you in its native, editable file format. We are also able to provide a PDF or video version of your presentation if you would like.

Any presentation collateral we design for your project is shared as a ready-to-print PDF, unless if you specify a different preference.

Have you worked with other clients in my industry? Can you share related samples?

Our list of clients spans a wide range of industries, some of which we hadn't known of prior to the client's project. Since our approach involves familiarizing ourselves with the client's business and industry, we've become a team of jacks-of-all-trades for industry knowledge.

We're able to share blinded, industry-specific samples of presentations that our clients have consented to. Contact us if you're interested!

Technology

Aside from PowerPoint, do you work in Google Slides? Keynote? Prezi?

Yes! While we prefer designing PowerPoint presentations due to its robust features that let us create advanced designs, we've created custom presentation designs in Google Slides and Keynote at our clients' request.

We generally do not design presentations in Prezi since it does not support the level of design customization that we need for our clients. Instead, we use PowerPoint to create the same animations and layouts that are characteristic of Prezi presentations—you can view examples in our portfolio.

Will we run into issues if we use Mac and/or Windows PC?

There are some differences in functionality between PowerPoint for Mac and PowerPoint for Windows—but these are not for your concern! We use both Mac and Windows computers at Stinson, so we're able to ensure cross-device compatibility with every PowerPoint presentation we design. During our initial call with you, we'll ask you for these tech specs so that we know to bear them in mind when working on your project.

Does it matter which version of PowerPoint we use?

Yes; the latest versions of PowerPoint have new functions and features that earlier versions of PowerPoint cannot load. We'll take note of your tech setup to ensure that our presentations for you run as intended.

Designing with branding

How are you able to design with our company's brand?

If you have any brand guidelines, we ask you to provide them early on in the process so that we can familiarize ourselves not only with your logos, colors, and fonts, but the overarching brand tone. Our collaborative process includes rounds of revision for you to provide your feedback on the presentation design.

Are you able to design within our very strict corporate brand guidelines?

Absolutely! Many of our clients are companies with well-established brand identities. We do our due diligence to maintain the integrity of their branding when designing their presentations and collateral.

Strict brand guidelines do not necessarily restrict the possibility of creating a sophisticated PowerPoint; our presentation designers thoughtfully use photos, animations, and other visuals to build the story.

We don't have concrete branding yet or we're in the process of updating our brand. Can you work without defined brand elements?

Yes! When we work with clients who are still ironing out the details of their branding, we ask them to provide us any materials they have already and to share their design inspirations. From there, we lay out moodboards of different tones and styles to see which resonates the most with what our client has in mind.

Security

We have highly sensitive information. Will my data remain confidential?

Absolutely—we respect the proprietary nature of businesses, and enforce a strict confidentiality policy company-wide. From the first point of contact with you, we assume a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); we are happy to sign your company's NDA as well.

Where do you store my files and data?

All of our files are stored securely in an industry-leading content server. The server exceeds regulatory standards and encrypts each file using AES 256-bit encryption in diverse locations.

Additionally, the Stinson team works completely in-house, so your files will not cross borders.

How secure is my data?

We take data security seriously. We enforce numerous internal policies and procedures to ensure that Stinson continues to meet compliance and security standards for data protection, including multi-factor authentication for all company accounts and access restrictions.

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