Presentations come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re giving an informative presentation, instructive presentation, persuasive presentation, motivational presentation, demonstrative presentation or a progress presentation, what they all have in common is presentation copywriting. Words make all the difference. Presentations succeed or fail by their content. Every presentation is a pitch – to sell something, to get people to do something, open people’s minds to a new idea or consider making a change in behaviour. You can be an experienced and engaging speaker but if the presentation copywriting or content isn’t up to the mark, you’re putting your reputation at risk and doing a disservice to your audience. Copywriting for presentations takes planning. Your presentation be structured in a way that leads the audience along with you. During that time, you want to grab attention, maintain interest, create desire and prompt action.
As with any good copywriting, before you start your presentation, you need to identify your audience. Set the foundations by providing a short introduction that puts them in a receptive frame of mind. Understand who’s there in front of you, what they’re thinking and feeling, what are they looking for and what they want. While it might be tempting to jump straight into the main points of the presentation, your audience needs to be introduced to the concept and context first. Try starting your presentation with an anecdote or meaningful story that illustrates your core idea in a way that is relatable to that particular audience. Make a bold statement that grabs the audience’s attention or ask them a thought-provoking question. This will allow you to build a rapport with the audience, making them more receptive to the idea that you’ll be pitching later in the presentation. Use it as a starting point – the ‘what is’ – before you introduce your idea – the ‘what could be’. The gap between the two will confuse the audience but that’s good – it takes complacency out of the equation.
Presentation copywriting should be used to maintain the pave through the middle section of your presentation, further illustrating the difference between the ‘what is’ and the ‘what could be’. Expand on your proposed solution and show the audience how it could improve the situation. Ask rhetorical questions and provide the answers. As you move back and forth between the ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’, the audience will start to find the latter more alluring. Presentation copywriting for the end of your address must leave the audience with a powerful and memorable message that inspires people to take a certain action. Aside from a motivating call-to-action, you should include a scenario which illustrates how your solution will improve their situation (more efficiency, cost-saving, time-saving). Keep the language simple and unless addressing a specialist audience, try to avoid too much jargon.
You have a limited amount of time to convey your message and convince your audience, so adopt a less is more approach. The presentation copywriting on each slide should address a single point to prevent overwhelming your audience. It should summarise the point you are making, using 3-5 succinct supporting bullet points. Emphasise important words or phrases by either varying the font, colour, bold, italics or underlining them. Minimise the words and maximise the value. Present your idea, backing it up with facts, statistics and references. These ‘convincers’ will illustrate the scale and severity of the issue. Now ask them the ‘what if’ question. Ask them how much better something could be if. However, these should support the presentation, not distract from it. Be careful not to clutter the slide and use white space intelligently. As you come to the close of your presentation, your call to action should leave them with a single, powerful takeaway. Ask yourself, what you want them to think or feel as they leave the room.
Presentation copywriting that performs.
For over 20 years, I’ve written presentations, proposals and cases for support for corporate multinational businesses and national charities, If you would like help creating a presentation that grabs attention, a proposal that wins approval or a case for support that resonates, please get in touch.