Digitalisation has changed virtually all aspects of business, but one thing remained the same – how you pitch is still a decisive factor in how well your ideas are perceived. Whether or not you win the next big account ultimately falls down to whether or not you know how to present your proposal.
They say presenting is a subtle craft, and there is a thin line between artistry and science. Both of them require talent, expertise, and skill, the same way impactful business presentations couldn’t do without a charismatic speaker. Luckily, technology can help you compensate for what you lack.
Here are eight ways how innovative solutions have changed the craft of business presenting…
Remember the time you actually chose not to include a computer into your pitch? During the pre-digital years, business presentations were written on paper, and delivered with the help of a microphone. Even with the advent of PowerPoint and other presentation makers, speakers were often reluctant to put their trust in technology, fearing that technical difficulties might ruin the message. But, modern-day solutions are growing more and more reliable every year. Technical difficulties are now significantly diminished with a streamlined setup – whatever device you use, you can rest assured that it is going to run fast and without any bugs. You can simply save the decks to a USB receiver, tuck it in a pocket flash drive of your presentation folder, and plug it into the computer before you start.
The fierce pace of today’s business world is one of the main reasons behind our modern-day anxieties and panic attacks. They certainly don’t grow less intense with public speaking, which is exactly why reliable tech solutions and tools are so well-accepted by those who deliver business presentations. Since screen presents a focal point of a modern pitch, a speaker is now only an auditory presence that establishes the narrative and imparts additional information. When all eyes are on technology, you can finally relax and deliver the speech with authority and calm. It’s a much-needed confidence boost that sparks the audience’s attention while helping you leave a lasting impression at the same time. A “little” gadget called the Ultimate Presenter, courtesy of Kensington, comes with a handy remote with four customisable buttons. Presenters can use it to change slides, start and stop clips, and even rotate or tilt 3D object models. It’s only one example of how far the modern presentation technology has come, but it certainly makes our traditional laser pointers seem as obsolete as pagers and beepers.
From digital classrooms and eLearning modules to webinars and virtual conference rooms, live streaming has taken online communication channels by storm. It allows for both visual and textual content to be delivered across the world and received in real time, without any delays whatsoever. Video-conferencing technology has been used for the purposes of business presentations for quite some time now, and it’s only growing faster, better, and more intuitive. Presenters can make pitches from the comfort of their offices, and engage audiences that are scattered all around the globe. Newest additions to video-conferencing tools replace traditional laser pointers with virtual ones, for example. They appear on multiple screens at the same time as well, and help a presenter back up their audio pitch by pointing out important facts, stats, and graphs laid out on a presentation deck.
The entire purpose of impactful business presentations is to spark the audience’s interest and capture their attention. The people you’re presenting to are very well-accustomed to the world of novel digital solutions, and familiar with all the benefits they bring. Be they digitally native Millennials or tech-savvy Baby Boomers, they expect you to dazzle them with a product created in a modern and engaging way. That means that outdated, computer-generated slides may actually hurt the message you’re trying to convey. Your presentation style speaks of your business the same way your brand and marketing do – the more innovative it is, the more it will showcase your professionalism and dedication. And, you cannot possibly appear as such without a fair share of new interactive features and multimedia. Besides, multiple mediums and various types of content appeal to senses that traditional presentation decks never could. Exciting audio-visual formats, designed for both listening and watching, deliver that wow factor that audiences long to see. An increasing number of presenters use polling apps for instant audience feedback too, which is another example of multimedia and interactivity in modern pitches.
Even though a lot of these dazzling features were available to presenters a few years ago, the complexity they brought to a finished product made them pretty much unusable. The more content a presentation had, and the more clips, graphs, and animations it included, the less sharable it was. The total file size would made it impossible for complex presentations to be sent via email or shared online. This presented a huge challenge for creators and presenters alike. They would design a visually striking, content-rich, and truly engaging presentation, but would have no idea of how to make it accessible from a presentation computer in a different office. It was a perplexing dilemma, in which the quality of presentation would need to be compromised in order to reach a suitable presentation size. HTML5 has luckily changed this. More presentation designers are now turning to computer coding in order to create presentations directly on their companies’ websites, from where they can be watched and downloaded. Besides making presentations available 24/7 and across all devices, HTML5 provides better opportunities for interactive design, from more fluid transitions to search and navigation bars.
Still, nothing could make a boring business presentation more impactful and interactive than VR. Educators are already using virtual reality headsets in order to demonstrate abstract concepts to their students, and it’s only a matter of time before they become a staple for delivering impressive business pitches as well. Instead of just conveying a message, VR enables audiences to actually experience it. If you think the possibilities are endless with VR, you’re right. From simulations that showcase the impact of your business proposal in a lifelike scenario, to product demos that allow users to see and touch something that hasn’t been made yet, virtual reality offers a plethora of revolutionary ways to deliver a presentation and engage audiences. Soon enough, VR will completely change this subtle craft.
In only a few short years, personalised experiences have grown from a business buzzword into a norm that must not be ignored if you’re aiming towards relevance and competitiveness in the digital age. In terms of business presentations, personalisation requires not only intuitive designs, but also internal navigation systems, better customisation, more flexible decks, and real-time language translation. Both PowerPoint and Keynote now offer modular slide formats that allow audiences to access the entire presentation during the pitch, regardless of what’s currently showcased on the main presentation screen. Empowered by Microsoft, PowerPoint also makes clever use of AI and offers a Presentation Translator that runs suitable subtitles in a chosen language to individual presentation attendees. These, and similar advancements in business presentation technology, help presenters deliver a more impactful pitch to bigger and more diverse audiences, all the while increasing personalisation for each listener individually. The more custom-tailored the experiences are, the better the engagement is.
Another way in which digital technology has changed how we create and deliver business presentations relates specifically to design practices, and from there dictates the level of listener engagement and further elevates the overall experience. Digitalism has spurred hyper production, and gradually made our private and professional lives overly saturated with content and information. Consequently, digital experiences had to become cleaner and more organised. In terms of design, the all-encompassing noise and clutter have raised a demand for minimalism in virtually all fields, including UX. A fine and seemingly impossible balance between complexity and simplicity is now paramount, and the same can be said about the way creators design impactful business presentations.
As technology continues to open up new possibilities for appealing presentation design, the question remains – how much is too much? On the one hand, designers are tempted to bring out the big guns in order to dazzle the audience, whilst on the other, they are being urged to avoid information overload. By guaranteeing a perfect measure, minimalism remains the dominant presentation design style. There’s a valuable lesson in there for all designers and presenters who hope to make their business pitches irresistible to modern-day audiences – less truly says more, regardless of how exciting or tempting the current tech trends may be. Hopefully, business presentation technology will continue to evolve with user convenience, listener engagement, and personalised experiences in mind.