Support your script with ‘va-‘va-voom’ visuals

Any skilled presenter can be let down if they accompany an inspiring talk with a set of dreary, over complicated slides. When a presentation is face-to-face you can utilise your performance skills with body language and use of the stage, but online it is far more difficult to hold the viewers’ attention. Your visuals are essential and as a rule of thumb you will need up to 3 x more slides for an online presentation than you would a face-to-face. Here are some practical considerations which should help.




Always begin with your audience as the focus. Keep them in mind throughout all of the preparation. Repeat to yourself at each stage;

  • Who is my audience?
  • What do I really want them to remember?

Decide the tone and visual language

This is important before you start to put together the content. How do you want to present the information? Light-hearted and fun or more serious and professional? Making this decision early helps to structure a consistent look and feel.


Think of it like a story, how are you going to visually and verbally tell it? Start with a pencil and paper… plan out a structure. Take your audience on a journey rather than bombarding them with facts, figures and statements. Start with a good spike to grab your audience’s attention, show them you understand the issues they face and paint a clear picture as to how their world will look once they have followed your advice. Finish with a summary and a call to action.

Think visually instead of verbally – The picture superiority effect!

creating visuals powerpoint talk

Once you have your structure, think about how to visually tell that story. You are the presenter, not the slides. They are there to emphasise the points you are making and ensure they resonate with the audience. A good rule of thumb is if it takes more than 3 seconds to determine the message of a slide, it’s too complicated. The picture superiority effect is the science of how people remember pictures more than words. When a person is told or reads something then 72 hours later they are likely to only remember 10% of it, If images or diagrams are used then that number jumps to an astonishing 65%. Have a good think about how you can use Iconography, graphics and photographs to really help your audience retain the key information.

More slides, less content

The key for online visuals is more slides. A common misconception is keeping slides to a minimum to prevent ‘Death by PowerPoint’ What you actually need to do is avoid cramming. Don’t be afraid to split a key point over a few slides, it builds momentum and helps to keep the audience focus.

Engage without distracting

By utilising subtle animation you can help to keep the viewer engaged and emphasise points as you address them. It might be a moving icon, arrow or animated text. Revealing parts of the slide rather than all at once. By keeping it subtle and sophisticated it will help to retain your themes rather than divert attention away from the presenter.  You want to increase interest but reduce noise!

Variation is key

You may be used to having all slides looking very similar especially when using a template but for online presenting experiment with ways in which you can add variation. Yes you can still do this and remain on-brand. Add stock images, iconography, change the background. All this adds to audience engagement.

Surprise your audience!

Try to include something that recaptures attention every 5-7 minutes. It might be an interactive element, a poll, perhaps some gamification, or maybe a short video or animation to music.

Don’t rely on timing too much!

Many of us have been witness to or experienced the pain of web conferencing when things don’t quite go as planned.  Try to ensure that you don’t design your slides so they rely too heavily on synchronisation as quite often there will be a lag on webinars.

using powerpoint for presentations

Once created, the presentation assets created for a specific project can be transformed into a suite of PowerPoint template elements giving you a reusable asset for teams to create their own content and continue presenting in this high quality format.

All of these practical tips should help to support your script in a way that really impacts the audience. Please take a look at our showreel or get in touch if you would like to see what the Emperor presentations team has created for some of their key clients. The dedicated team work with clients to refresh their presentations with creative new design – often themed around the topic under discussion – with bespoke graphics, iconography and subtle animation to deliver the story with impact and help keep the online watcher engaged.

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