Whether you come from communications, technical or accounting departments, there will always come a time where it will be your turn to have to throw yourself into the exercise of presenting. Out of habit and reflex, you open PowerPoint and download the company presentation template. Once finished, you aren’t very satisfied with the result but you have embroidered with the constraints imposed by the framework. Perhaps you would have done something fresher and more modern, but the last time you tried it, the result was inconclusive and the comments from your colleagues made you want to start over.
This is a finding shared by many of our Story design training participants: “Wow, that’s great! But I don’t think it will pass with my hierarchy.” It is true that at ZEPRESENTERS, we always recommend starting from Zero. But, we are well aware that your creativity can be hampered by internal rules and / or your lack of know-how. Today we will see together how to free you from those templates that annoy you and which you cannot do without.
Let’s start by taking stock
First, let’s not heap on those poor templates, with which your colleagues have been working on for hours. They have many redeeming qualities:
- They save time, when creativity is lacking
- They make it possible to respect the rules for external presentations and thus maintain your company image
- They ensure consistency and visual cues for everyone.
However, they have a number of flaws as well:
- They are rarely suitable for an oral presentation
- The design is overloaded
- The way in which the slides are constructed is restrictive (size of typographies, specific boxes, images, confidentiality clauses, etc.)
- They leave little room for assimilation.
Overall, we all agree on this assessment. Now we have to learn to play with these templates and put them to work for us rather than against us!
3 tips to free yourself from templates
1 – Devise your remarks before designing the slide
The mistake is jumping into PowerPoint and filling-in the slides. PowerPoint is a design tool; it is not meant to apply the fundamentals of storytelling. Take things in order:
- First step: clarify your ideas. Why are you speaking? What is your objective?
- Second step: structure your remarks. What plan will you follow?
- Third step: write your speech
- Fourth step: identify in your speech what must be displayed in order to strengthen the impact of your presentation
- Fifth step: Go to the second tip
2 – Use the templates as a basket of ideas in which you have come to shop
Everything is not to be thrown into the templates. They have elements for the layout that can be useful: fonts, colors, graphic choices, geometric shapes, pictograms specific to your company or activity, stock images… no need to reinvent the wheel.
All of these elements are a godsend for your presentation design. They will allow you to create slides that are consistent with your brand’s identity, more quickly.
3 – Use templates as a framework, not as a straitjacket
As we have seen, layout elements are a godsend. But don’t get caught up in the frames and their layout. A brand identity needs a recognizable stance. But whether a title is at the top or in the middle has nothing to do with that. It doesn’t make sense to rack your brain to find a caption just because the template was designed for one. Feel free with the caption boxes and their ordering, you will see that this already provides a huge margin to maneuver and make more original and impactful presentations.
In summary, business templates are not always a gift, but you have to live with them. And if you fear the reaction of your colleagues and / or manager: dare! We always fear novelty, but nothing is more convincing than proof of effectiveness. As you build an impactful presentation using these tips, everyone may follow suit.