Presentations are our most powerful tool in business today. They’re how we – as CEOs and leaders – communicate professional, business and corporate information, ideas, vision and value. And yet, we are getting them all wrong!

Our most important and urgent messages are trapped; hidden behind seriously badly designed slides and long complex paragraphs of information. These messages could have made a world of difference – secured buy-in from stakeholders on a new vision, won a new client and a multi-million dollar contract, or built awareness around a life-changing product with customers. But instead our ideas and strategies go unheard, unseen, and misunderstood.

The problem? B2B and B2C are no longer relevant in today’s communication landscape. All this has done is create unnatural, overcomplicated messages and solutions that fail to engage or connect with your audience. What the world needs today is a natural connection through compelling visuals and emotional stories. What your customers, clients and stakeholders are crying out for is H2H – from human to human.

This is how you stand out amid all the noise of the 21st century; this is the only way you can truly capture people’s attention so that they remember you and what you said long after the lights have gone down.

Cut the cr@p

A powerful presentation is clear, easy to read, has simple language, and infographics that visualise key points and highlight the benefits. A poor presentation, on the other hand, has no key message. Instead, it's overloaded with facts, stats, numbers, corporate jargon, dense text and inconsistent design elements.

It’s more important than ever to cut out all the clutter from your presentation. What gets left out of your presentation is more important than what goes in. Some of us are clearly better at this than others. Many believe that sharing everything and blinding their audience with numbers is the best way to be transparent and open – that couldn’t be further from the truth! This will only put the people you are trying to engage off, and make them lose interest faster.

Your investment strategy

Leading academic Professor Mary Barth from Stanford University recently found that good integrated reporting and presentations is positively associated with both stock liquidity and firm value. This requires much more than just making your slides look ‘pretty’. You need to apply a strategy to your slides in the same way you would apply a strategy to your leadership.

The challenge most CEOs face is pulling the information for a presentation together – often at the last hurried minute. Although you may have a dedicated person or team for a particular presentation, they are usually run off their feet dealing with an increasing workload and other deadlines.

Finding time to research, write, design and rehearse is a constant challenge. But you must invest the time and energy into planning a powerful presentation if you want your audience to invest their time and energy in you.

Our presentations are shared with future clients, colleagues, the competition and complete strangers via sites like SlideShare and YouTube. This means that your power – and your power to stand out and be memorable – extends well beyond the boardroom.

Visit Presentation Studio to find out more about planning a powerful presentation.