As a former church communicator myself, I know how hard it can be to get your ideas heard. There are people who like things the way they are and are not receptive to new ideas. There are people who don’t have time to listen to new ideas. And sometimes it’s hard to communicate exactly how beneficial a new tool, event, or idea could be.
So how do you go about putting together a presentation that informs, engages and does an effective job of communicating your ideas to a varied group of people? Here are 7 ways to improve your presentations to church staff:
1. Choose the Right Tool
If you're using PowerPoint, that is totally fine! However, there are other tools out there you need to be aware of, including the following:
- Google Slides - makes collaboration easy if you’re not the only person working on the project
- Prezi - allows for more interactive presentations
- Visme - provides a lot of potential to enhance your presentations visually
While the basic versions of Google Slides and Prezi are free, they offer upgraded options that you need to pay for. There is no free option to use Visme as it is a paid-only tool.
When putting together slides, don't write all your information on the slide itself. Instead, provide key points and visuals on the slides so that your audience has to listen to you if they want to learn all the information. If you're simply reading from slides, your audience will likely tune you out.
2. Utilize Graphic Design Tools
If you're a church communicator, it’s possible you don't have a bachelor's degree in graphic design. And that's okay! There are plenty of tools out there that can help you easily customize your graphics. Here are some great tools to use:
If you want to learn graphic design, or enhance your skills, check out some of our favorite resources and methods.
3. Know Your Audience
Depending on the size of your church, there are likely going to be a lot of different people in the room viewing your presentation. Your audience members may include any the following people:
- Executive Pastor
- Business Administrator/Finance Director
- Key Ministry Area Leaders (ex. Missions pastor, Minister of Education, Age-group pastors, Worship pastors, etc.)
- Key Volunteers or Committee Heads (ex. Chairman of Deacons, Personnel Committee Chair, Finance Committee Chair, etc.)
If you can, find out in advance who is going to be in the room during your presentation. Know who you are speaking to and frame your speech around this knowledge. Knowing their pain points will help you to present your topic as a solution to their problem.
Knowing your audience will also help you target each person. For example, your business administrator will probably want to see numbers, so make sure you have those available. Your pastor on the other hand probably wants to hear more about the spiritual implications to the congregation and/or staff.
4. Get Buy-In from Your Direct Team First
A little practice never hurt anyone. Sit down with your supervisor and practice your presentation with them. Your direct team could be your communications team or your direct supervisor. They can give you tips and help you answer any questions that may pop up in a larger setting.
It’s also a good idea to have your team ask you questions so you may have a better idea of what questions to anticipate and expect when you’re presenting to the larger group.
5. Use Templates
Before putting together your presentation, check to see what templates are available. There’s no use doing double the work. If you need to customize your presentation slides, some templates, like ours, allow you to use your own images and colors.
6. Chat with Other Church Communicators
There are plenty of online communities for church communicators. Find out how their presentations went. Ask questions. You can get a lot of great advice from these message boards, as well as church communicator groups on social media.
7. Be Ready to Make Changes
Don’t go into the presentation expecting a thumbs up from everyone. Chances are, you’ll have to make some changes, and that’s okay. In fact, someone may have an idea that helps to improve or expand your idea even further! It's important to hear their feedback and make changes to reflect that.