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Powerpoint Writing Formula to have an impact like Steve Jobs
How to Write content for PowerPoint Presentation?
Writing a PowerPoint is entirely different from writing web content or video script or brochure.
People and companies in general simply cut & copy the text from the website/brochure and paste it inside the presentation which defeats the entire purpose of preparing the presentation.
In this article, we will share the secrets of writing a powerful presentation that can shift the mindset of the audience like Steve Jobs used to do in his presentations.
We have no evidence that Steve Jobs wrote all or a few of his presentations but after going through this article, you will get a PPT writing formula that can give you the same impact for sure.
Intent of your PowerPoint presentation
Before even you start writing for a PowerPoint presentation, it is important to decide what is the intent of the presentation.
Is it an educational presentation?
Do you want to sell a product service through this presentation?
Are you sharing your company profile and want to impress the audience?
You are pitching an idea to an investor for a fund
Your intent is important as it will decide the
- Flow and
- The content you will write for the PPT
For example, if you educate your audience through PowerPoint Presentation then you need informative content with relevant images , graphics, videos etc. Depending upon the target audience’s age, education and background you might want to change the information i.e text in your PowerPoint presentation
For that, if you are writing for an investor pitch that you must write shorter but powerful sentences, complement the text with proof or stats. You must highlight the keywords to give additional emphasis and write to inspire the investor.
Research on audience
You can not present a thesis to a 2nd-grade child.
The audience research will help you decide many important points which will impact the text in the presentation.
- What is the age group of the audience?
- What is your educational background?
- What language do they understand well?
At the end of this article, you will find the Golden formula for PPT content building , by following which you will be able to write the most appropriate, engaging content for PowerPoint.
..and if you writing about Pecha Kucha style presentation then read about it here
But before that lets some basic rules of writing for PowerPoint
Each Slide should have 3-5 pointers
We all have seen the boring text rich presentations in our lives, where all you can see is text typed in 12 font sizes with some stretched images attached to them which makes you more confused than before. Learn how to cut down text count here
It is very important to understand that PowerPoint Presentation is a visual tool and not text ( had it been meant for text, Microsoft would have not built MS Word)
Text in PowerPoint is given to complement the image or concept and never intended to explain the things in detail.
40 interesting visually rich slides are always better than 10 text-rich slides.
You should always split the slides rather than merge two or more slides. The objective here is to show one & only one concept to the audience and give them maximum clarity on it.
Here you can see three forces working together without the overwhelming audience
While image & text in balance state engaging eyes, voice explaining slides engaging ears and thus we are together engaging the mind to understand the concept.
Check out impact
- One title / One pointer + Solid image & design = Maximum Impact
- Two / Three Pointer + Image & design = Average Impact
- More than three pointers + Image & design = Below Average Impact
- Full of text & no or poor or stretched image = Bounce back/ Negative impact
The above formula can give you a quick test for your current presentation and its impact on your audience.
All pointers if you decide to have more than one pointer, should drive one and only one single idea, if they are not , then better put the pointer in another slide even if it is just one pointer.
Don’t judge the book by the cover
This statement is so wrong. We all see the outlook, the packaging, presentation, deliveries etc before buying.
Writing a presentation is tougher than writing a blog or article. With word limitation ( and we have seen how more text is harmful for presentation) presentation writer has to think creatively and understand that he is writing for a medium that will be accompanying the visuals.
Thus Text in PowerPoint must always be written by keeping images or context in mind
It requires a great deal of imagination for writing PowerPoint by keeping its combination with images.
It is not a solo dance but a couple of dances that require a perfect understanding of partner for every move else show will be terrible for the audience.
The thumb rule here is, to think of a pointer as headlines.
Clear, precise and powerful.
These should be solid liners and people should be willing to read the next pointer. A week pointer breaks the story and interest of the audience and It will spiral down to distractions ( checking mail, sipping coffee and worse going out to take a fresh air )
A PowerPoint writer must be the biggest critic of his/her work. While writing pointers or headlines writer should be very careful about the impact.
The most important thing is if pointers are not adding value don’t include them at all. We don’t run for quantity in ppt but only quality.
Golden Formula for writing content for PPT
While writing, validate each of your pointers on following & then place in the Presentation
- Is this adding value to the presentation?
- Is it knowledgeable? ( not the general one that the audience know already)
- Is it amazing ? ( almost unbelievable, hearing the first time, move people emotionally )
- Is it an interesting story ? ( Prefer telling if possible rather than writing)
- Is there any room for the designer to add images based on pointers? ( If the answer is no then reduce text )
Remember PowerPoint is a visual medium of communication. Write accordingly
There is difference in Reinforcement & Repetition
Listening to the same point in different words is repetition. Don’t repeat the same points even it is in refined language, modified version, sophisticated than earlier, generalised or specialised.
One thing your audience will hate you for is that you waste their time by repeating the same thing.
While the presentation writer is writing to reinforce the main point or benefit ( At least he thinks he is reinforcing ), it is still repetition.
So if you presenting that X product has Y benefit then in any other slide you may say that apart there are another benefits which Y+ 1 ( Increment or reinforced as you still wrote Y but adding 1 to it make it reinforced and new)
The following table might help you understand
|X product has Y benefit
|X Product has Y + 1 benefit
|Reinforced and New
|Y benefit is provided by X product
|Repetition ( Not a reinforcement )
A cheat sheet of writing an interesting PowerPoint Presentation
Want to write a most engaging presentation and give a wonderful experience to your client.
Best practice.. check competition, their websites, presentations, videos and figure out what is missing and add the same in your presentation, what are their strengths and how those can be incorporated in our language but from different angles to make it fresh.
How to write powerful Presentation content which can move the audience
People are interested in bold claims ( you should have a solid reason for saying so though).
Bold Claim like:
- Steve Job’s secret sauce of presentation writing
- Double your sale in one month
- 10 X your revenue in half the cost
- First time in the world
- 3 times faster recovery
- Can you see the pattern?
All statements have something which compels your audience to think positively and entice them to learn.
It will spell bound your audience to your presentation as they see you unfold your claim and present them how you or your product/service is going to provide the bold claim
This trick also pushes the audience to question which is another form of engagement.
On the other hand, weak terms like “also” , “positive” “favourable” , “ Might as well”, “ may”, “tries” etc are harmful to trust and show a lack of confidence in product service or presenter.
Use of Intrigue factor in PPT writing
You must use Power of intrigue. But care must be taken while using it. You can intrigue one or twice but frequent use will ruin the audience experience.
This is super engaging & builds interest if used correctly. You can pique the interest in the presentation and move the audience where they would like to know how this will end and emotionally connect themselves, this is where you as a presentation writer, or presenter present the powerful solution, product or service.
Impact of Intrigue is long-lasting and building intrigue in presentation is an art and only professional writer may be able to use this technique.
Building trust while writing PPT
One of the most important jobs of any presentation is to build the trust of the audience with their knowledge. After all, no one wants to do business with a novice.
Building trust comes from two major factor
A poor argument cannot build a strong case.
Your presentation’s poor writing may hurt the business. Therefore throughout the presentation, it is the duty of the presentation writer to present trustworthy information. This information can be in the form of
- Graphs, Chart
- The study, whitepaper, noteworthy people statement or reference of a trustworthy source
- Research by renowned authorities, govt or scientists etc
- Case study
The human mind decide with
- Emotional thinking and
- Logical thinking
Which means you need to impress both for positive results. While Facts, figures , bar graphs, research etc help the mind decide logically, things like testimony, famous quote, use of human faces like children or natural elements help you impress the emotional mind.
There you have the golden formula and secret of writing a most engaging powerful presentation content which will change the outcome of the presentation if presented equally well.