Presentation-giving is one of those things that many professionals are just expected to know — whether or not they’ve ever had any formal training in public speaking.

But for young people just starting out on their professional lives, presentations are at once one of the most harrowing and one of the most important aspects of getting noticed and getting ahead. In many cases, a great presentation can mean the difference between landing a new client or securing a promotion and being left out in the cold.

The best presenters are able to strike the right balance between demonstrating expertise, communicating information, and delivering a strong performance. So how can you incorporate these skills into your next presentation? Here are three tips that can help.

1. Create an Outline, but be Flexible

One of the most common problems inexperienced presenters face is timing. With only a brief window to communicate a large amount of information, figuring out how to stay on track and stay on message so you don’t run out of time or rush through important sections is extremely difficult, which is why having a solid outline is a must.

At the same time, an outline that is too rigid can become a problem. Things don’t always go according to plan, and it is important to be able to respond in real-time without getting lost. Using a well-designed slide deck is helpful in this regard, as it helps you plan each step out in advance.

2. Enlist the Help of a Presentation Design Company

When you’re preparing a major presentation and there is a lot on the line, the best way to approach the problem may simply be to outsource it to a presentation company like Stinson Design who can help you with every step of the process, including:

  • Storytelling
  • Data visualization
  • Creating custom graphics
  • Hand-outs and leave-behinds

Working with a PowerPoint presentation company can help you avoid many common mistakes, and give your talk a professional gloss that can add weight and authority to your points.

3. Be Strategic About Graphics

While slide decks are an incredibly useful tool in any presentation, it is important to make sure that your PowerPoint serves your talk, rather than having your talk be an explication of the PowerPoint.

If you want to create a memorable impression, you need to engage with your audience on an emotional level. This is hard to do if they’re focused on a screen, so use your slide deck and graphics as a strategic backup that helps make your point.

Presentation companies will generally offer custom graphic design as part of their service and will help you create visualizations that will drive your message home rather than simply being a data dump.

Even experienced public speakers often find presentations to be nerve-wracking. But with the right preparation and support, it is possible to give a presentation with confidence and spirit that will make your words stick in your audience’s mind long after.

By outlining, deploying visuals strategically, and getting help from professional presentation designers when you need something extra, you can ensure that when you get up to speak your audience will listen.