A great presentation is like a good joke: it’s got good timing, it’s efficient, it has an impact, and it sticks in your memory. And like a good joke, it’s a lot harder than itseems to come up with one.

Whether you are addressing a board room, a shareholders meeting, or a general audience, crafting a presentation that will change minds and get a reaction is as rewarding as it is difficult. And if you want your presentations to truly pack a punch, here are the four ingredients you need.

1. A Clear Point

The purpose of your presentation should never be a mystery. This is one of the reasons presenters sometimes choose to lead with the conclusion: it immediately communicates to the listeners the basic purpose of what is to follow, and the overall argument or point being made.

This may be relatively simple (“this new product will help the company grow”), but even in the case of more complex points (“our company is unclear of its direction and major adjustments must be made”) it is important to boil the idea down to a single sentence that will help your audience grasp the significance of what you’re saying.

2. A Compelling Narrative

Humans have a natural affinity for narrative. Stories help us organize large amounts of information in our minds, and make that information more memorable. Using elements of storytelling like protagonists, antagonists, plot, and tension will immediately elevate your presentation.

Many businesses and entrepreneurs giving high-stakes presentations actually rely on presentation design services to help them craft an effective and memorable story. Chances are, if you’ve ever been completely floored by how good a corporate presentation was, the person probably had professional help.


3. Supporting Data

In professional contexts, of course, a good story has to be backed up by facts, and figuring out how to incorporate this supporting data — and how much of it you need — can be a major challenge.

Many presentation design agencies caution presenters against overloading their PowerPoint with graphs and numbers. Find the data points that tell your story, and make them memorable. Just as every sentence in a good joke is essential, your presentation shouldn’t be weighed down but unnecessary or repetitive information.

4. Engaging Visuals

We live in a visual culture, and images are an important aspect of any good presentation. But as with every other element of the presentation, your images need to serve the overall point you are making — just because you can embed video doesn’t mean you should embed video.

Many PowerPoint designers will emphasize striking the right balance between text and images in your slide deck while also ensuring each image is carefully chosen for maximal impact.

The best comedians always seem as though they are coming up with their material on the spot. The truth, of course, is that their routines have been carefully crafted over months and even years. A great presentation may seem effortless, but that’s only because the presenter has mixed these four ingredients so precisely that it all seems completely natural.

If this is the kind of presentation you want to give, outsourcing it to a presentation design agency is the easiest way to get the recipe just right.