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Presentation Time Management

Effective PowerPoint Presentation Time and Cost Management


Tips to looking at presentation design as more of a science than an art

Adopt a “managed methodology” and work more effectively.

View this article as a SlideRocket Presentation 

Presentation Time Management

For most people, presentation development is more of an art than a science.

They spend more time focused on the look and feel of the presentation and the details of each page, rather than the pure message and content.  Here are some tips to help you look at presentation design as more of a science than an art, so you can put a “managed methodology” behind your work and work more effectively.

PowerPoint is a fun program!

Let’s face it….PowerPoint is a fun program!

Developing presentation graphics is one of the few times in the workplace that you can actually be creative. Which template to use? This graphic or this one? How can I say this better? Which bullet color is right?

 A Formula for Failure!

Before you know it, it’s the end of the day and you’ve created only five slides. Yes, five magnificent artistic slides…and dozens more to go. And only a few days before your deadline. Working at that pace is a formula for failure.

For most people, presentation development is more of an art than a science. They spend more time focused on the look and feel of the presentation and the minutia of each page, than the pure message and content. Subsequently, they often rush to meet their deadline and have little or no time to practice (or print handouts, info etc.). One hallmark of poorly time-managed presentations is a strong start with heavy graphics and a weak finish with little or no creativity.  

By looking at presentation design as more of a science than an art, you can put a “managed methodology” behind your work to help you meet deadlines and prepare for the known and unknown variables of presentation development.

Steps of Presentation Development

Rather than diving right into the project, start by looking holistically at the presentation and budget your time.

Divide your allocated time window into sections similar to these:

  1. Project scoping and objectives
  2. Presentation outlining
  3. Digital content acquisition
  4. Template/style development
  5. Body text and graphics and end-venue testing
  6. First draft review/meeting
  7. Core development, iterative revisions and review
  8. Slide transitions, body animation, and screen effects
  9. Practice and final tweaks/revisions
  10. Print/distribute/present

As for the actual design time spent per slide, I use a 3-level guide to estimate slide design time and revisions (and subsequent costs)….

3 Levels of Slide Design

This formula works best for updates/enhancement to existing presentations, but can also be applied for new projects. Early on, just designate the level of each slide you’re envisioning and calculate the time.

By spending more time up front on the template, outline, and overall content of the project, you’ll save yourself time in the end. Sometimes I like to craft the outline of a presentation on paper or in a word processor so I’m not distracted by the urge to make it look pretty in PowerPoint.

By thoughtful planning and proactive thinking, you’ll remain on time, within budget, and arrive with a polished presentation.

 

oracle-presentation-after-2

Bland and Boring PowerPoint transformed with technology template


The quick and simple solution that an executive at a large software company took to transform his PowerPoint presentation from boring to brilliant.

OracleCommunicating job responsibilities to new employees is a little easier thanks to Microsoft PowerPoint.  But for David Brooks of software giant Oracle Corp., the simplistic and amateurish look and feel of his 15-minute “Regional Manager Plan” PowerPoint presentation detracted from his effectiveness in explaining the company’s new strategic role for regional managers.  Brooks called on The Presentation Team for a quick and affordable transformation of his eight-page presentation into a more legible, powerful slideshow that would maintain Oracle’s brand identity and stand up well to projection as well as printout. 

The project was contracted as a rapid fixed-price/fixed time offering from The Presentation Team that allocates 95 minutes for development. 

In most slideshows, a quality template can go a long way in fortifying the look of a graphically weak presentation, especially those of a technical nature that lack an obvious image treatment. 

We began our makeover by working in Adobe Photoshop to create a compelling 1024 x 768 replacement template.  The template was designed to be modern-looking and clean with an element of flow of motion.  A light background was offset by a lighter white titl block at the top of the screen, where the title text appeared in red.  A 1024 x 50 pixel black bar spanned with the full width of the page, to hold the Oracle logo, which we moved from the bottom. 

Appearing large on the title page, and repeated smaller on the bottom right of the master template, we used a graphic of three square stock images – a handshake, a clock, and a chess piece – to signify partnership, time, and strategy, respectively. 

Four of the eight slides featured basic lines of text set in 16-point Arial.  We pulked up the text by revising it on the master template to the non-nonsense Franklin Gothic Medium Condensed (28-point).  Similarly, we changed the title font to the heavier Franklin Gothic Heavy Italic (32-point, all caps).

Originally, several slides featured flowcharts and text groupings that were conveyed weakly with lightweight arrows and black-bordered rectangles.  To add impact, we increased the width of the arrows.  For improved readability, square edges were rounded and drop shadows were added.  in the text blocks, we reversed the subheads over the black bars.  Next came the basic animation effects and transitions.  Finally, we reviewed the entire slideshow for textual consistency.

Invest the time to create a captivating title slide

BEFORE  AFTER
 oracle-presentation-before-1

 

 oracle-presentation-after-1

A flat white background with basic black text is all that would have greeted the audience as they assembled for this meeting.  Another thrilling corporate meeting.

The title slide typically remains on screen for longer than any other slide.  Investing the time to create a graphically exciting front-page helps set the stage for the talk to come.  This graphic – repeated smaller on the body pages – conveys a message of teamwork, timeliness, and strategy.

Increase contrast with bolder shapes and text

BEFORE AFTER
 Oracle Presentation - Before 2  Oracle Presentation - After

This basic flowchart lacks contrast, readability, and conceptual focus.

Creating a uniform size and shape of the text blocks helps to improve legibility.  The arrows have been converted to red with the line color removed.

Through thoughtful planning, file management and communication, this speedy overhaul helped to more effectively communicate company concepts while reinforcing the stability of Oracle’s brand.

Before-3

Building Academic Excellence: Persuading with PowerPoint


College president uses dynamic PowerPoint to persuade Board of Directors to build a new college campus.

Warren County Community College is a small local college in rural upstate western New Jersey, approximately 90 minutes west of New York City. In February 2010 the college president, Dr. Will Austin, was called on to speak to its Board of Directors about the importance of expansion and growth through a new campus in Phillipsberg.

The Board was skeptical and critical about the costs and necessity of a new campus. So Dr. Austin called on The Presentation Team to collaborate with him to develop a focused and compelling PowerPoint presentation to get the 8-Member Board to see the value of the new campus. We worked on an open-ended hourly rate to create a 61-page PowerPoint presentation to support Dr. Austin’s 2-hour talk.

Contemporary Light and Open Presentation Design 

The visual design of the presentation needed to be professional, clean/light/open, and easy-to-be-read from the back of the meeting room. The presentation redesign involved…

  1. Our design strategy focused on using a professional template (title and body masters), that we created several months earlier for a previous project. That light grey template reflected Warren County Community College’s professionalism and brand/identity, while integrating elements of education and community. The template also used a maroon title font, the same color as the school’s logo.
  2. Clean and professional imagery/graphics (portfolio, schematics, people, concept art, etc.), eliminating white backgrounds on scanned art and charts to create a transparent and open look.
  3. Clutter-reducing techniques and presentation strategies to create a “cleaner” look with greater effectiveness.
  4. Clean and conservative slide transition effects (fades and wipe effect).
  5. Professional fonts/typography to ensure consistent playback on different computer systems.
  6. Consulting and collaboration to help Dr. Austin to further develop and present new ideas.
Before After
Before-3 PowerPoint-Slide-Example3-Warren-County-CC
The original slide featured a line graph showcasing the projected increase in enrollment. The line was red (reflecting negativity/loss) and set against an orange background. The font was small and difficult to read, and the horizontal lines added minimal value. Our revised slide featured an area graph. But rather than a flat color, we integrated a JPG stock photo of students, so there was no doubt what the topic was about!. The numbers were enlarged to 24-point and the horizontal lines were eliminated.
PowerPoint-Slides-Example1-Warren-County-CC To help communicate the dilemma of college growth, we integrated a stock photo of a business professional holding a Question Mark sign.This light and humorous approach helped to relax the skeptical audience while connecting them to a common issue and Dr. Austin’s proposed solution. The layout of the graphic to the right of the slide gave the bullet points a left column layout which flowed easy on the eyes.
Slide2 Quotes by great leaders are a great way to motivate audiences to take action,while adding a human level of vision and inspiration.Dr. Austin’s presentation was segmented by visionary quotes, in between sections.
Slide4 It’s a matter of black and white. For a pure and dramatic final slide, we eliminated the template, making the case with white text set against a pure black background. This striking example helped the college president to most effectively make his point. Each line of text zoomed in on a mouse click and “It just makes sense.” set in 48-point Gil Sans font helped seal the deal.

Thanks to the technology of PowerPoint supported by well-communicated examples, quotes, and statistics, the Board of Directors and administration saw the light and signed-off on the project, allotting the money to the Phillipsberg campus…helping to drive the economy of Warren County while helping advance the education of America for years to come. Another presentation success story thanks to great graphics from The Presentation Team!

* The Presentation Team has been creating great PowerPoint visuals for Warren County Community College since 2007

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  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso
    Motorola

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

    Jeff Keller
    Accenture/L3

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