Corporate hospitality has always been regarded as the marketing family's poor relation. While sponsorship might have been referred to as the "chairman's whim", hospitality was the "PA's punt". And more often than not corporate hospitality was seen as a way of keeping suppliers and buyers happy while serving up the ubiquitous warm cheese and sour wine - and sometimes even sour cheese and warm wine.

Corporate hospitality has became big business; this kind of events were worth an estimated £1bn to the UK economy last year. However its success is due to how corporate hospitality has evolved, and the trend is now towards smaller events that are more tailored to a hand-picked audience, and designed with a tangible business outcome. To survive, organisations have to get away from the old style of doing things. For many, hosting successful corporate events no longer means catering for an audience of hundreds, but reducing audiences to just a handful.

Where previously there may have been a reception after a business seminar, guests now use their time productively and proactively to network and get the most out of an event. The days of lukewarm wine and tired canapés are very much over. And now PowerPoint 2010 comes with a whole host of new features that are guaranteed to make your event fizz and not fizzle. As more of us are relying on the monitor to deliver not just the chairman's welcome, but the entertainment and the important marketing message, effective marketing presentations really do need to be well designed.

With PowerPoint 2010, you can create a basic slide deck by using bold themes, images, and colours to deliver your message. Start by applying a theme and setting up slide masters. There is a range to suit all presentation types ready for you to apply to your presentation. You can determine the overall look of the presentation by selecting a theme. Then modify the theme with a different set of colours that complement your company's branding. Next, go to View Tab and Slide Master View to select the slide master - changes made in the slide master will affect all the slides in the presentation.

And how about converting bullet text to SmartArt graphics? Or adding a chart, and text animation? It's simple to add charts, change a chart layout and format the chart elements. All of these functions are easy to use and designed to create a professional presentation to accompany any corporate event. On the Home tab convert the text to a SmartArt graphic. Now you can change the colours and add a style. You can look at different treatments for you pictures such as gradient blending of the edges.

How about putting your text right across the image? This creates much more impact. Even using a blend box across the top of your image and sitting your title on this makes it much easier to read. Or even taking the text off of your page and running across the bottom as animated text, flying in and lasting the duration of slide as one long string instead of the ubiquitous bullet points. And finally, when you're happy with these effects, you can go through each of the slides in your presentation and add transitions. Try the Orbit transition - this effect really does add movement to your presentation without making your audience sea sick.

Client engagement is all about delivering value for guests. Anyone coming along in person to your event will have had to make time in the day to attend - so it's imperative that you deliver what you have promised on the day. Projects that deliver more of a direct business benefit to clients will be the way forward. Trade spends are coming under increased pressure so there is a requirement for smart solutions that are cost effective yet still "tick the box" on event objectives. Make sure PowerPoint takes centre stage at your next corporate event.