Most presentations are linear and give viewers no choice about what they see. Web sites have accustomed people to choosing what they see from a vast amount of hierarchically arranged information. You can create a presentation that functions like a Web site. This style is ideal for presentations to small groups of clients — you can let them specify what information they want to see. Start with a title page — in Web jargon this is called a splash page. Then create a home page with your logo, a brief explanation of what you are offering your audience and a menu. Turn each menu item into a hyperlink. Here’s how:
Select a menu item (some text, a drawing object, or even an image) and press Ctrl + K or choose Insert > Hyperlink. Do this for each menu item. Optionally, create a menu on each of the second tier slides and link to yet more slides. Finally, create links on each of the slides to return to the tier above and to the home page, just like on a Web site. In addition, you can create links to other presentations or files, by typing the URL. Just be sure you have those files with you if you travel to give your presentation. Then arrange your hyperlinked objects in a row or column, like Web navigation buttons.
Tip: Choose Slide Show> Action Buttons (2003) or Insert tab> Shapes> Action Buttons (2007 -2013) to insert pre-made Web-style buttons on your slides, such as this one that goes to your home page.
When you give your presentation, you can then present your home page and explain the information available using the menu. If your prospective clients indicate an interest, go that way. If not, you can use the links to direct the presentation yourself.
Why not just present your company’s Web site? There are many reasons:
- The Web site probably doesn’t contain all the specialized information you want to present and probably contains lots of information your audience doesn’t need.
- Getting a fast, reliable Internet connection is tricky. You don’t want prospects to have to wait for pages to download (or worse, not download at all).
- Web sites limit graphics and colors for downloading speed and consistency over various platforms and browsers. In PowerPoint, you can create the compelling look you want.
Hierarchical presentations take some getting used to for both the presenter and the audience, but you’ll soon find that they offer incredible flexibility and power.