Creating Slide Presentations with Impact
Plan and Structure
Before you even think about slides, draw out your talk in detail. Plan your key message. Think about your main objective. What have you been engaged to deliver? Structure your number one message then added sub-stories and supporting points. Practice it. Time it. Only and then start thinking about your slides. The presentation needs to stand on its own; as you only develop slides to enhance the listener/viewer experience. Besides technology does and will fail. So you cannot rely on a slide-deck. You may well find yourself delivering with no visuals whatsoever. It happens; I know this from personal experience! At this point you need to become the #1 visual and deliver with energy, panache and confidence.
People learn in different ways. Some are auditory learners, others are visual learners and others like to learn by doing i.e. kinaesthetic learners. In fact, most of your audiences will be a learn by harnessing a mixture of the three methods. They retain information by dipping in out of all three and tend to have one preferred style of learning. However, by designing eye-catching, thought provoking, talk enhancing slides and you will maximise your presentation impact.
Less is More
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "death by powerpoint? " You've probably been in a room when a presenter brings up a slide with numerous bullet points in such a small font that it is unintelligible. In such circumstances, the delegates often fight to stifle a groan. Why is this the case?
You’re asking your audience to split their attention between what they are reading and what you are saying. In short, that kills the keynote. Do you want to create impact? Then my tip is use less words.
Photos to Enhance Your Message
Look at your plan. Perhaps you are talking about the next step for example, then maybe create a slide like this one? What's the old adage? A picture says a thousand words. The more individual and quirky you can make your pictures, the more effective they will be.
If your images can be personalised (see my photo with Nancy Duarte below) then all the better. Always be in the moment with your delegates. Keep your eyes open to spot an image that you can use on the day of the event. I was speaking at an event in Paris. As you can imagine the buffet was typically French and quite delicious. The desert was macarons. I took this photo, personalised it and quickly added it to my slide-deck. My speaking slot was immediately after lunch. I was able to thank the organisers for a beautiful buffet using the photo, which was unique to their event. They loved it!
What About Transitions?
Several years ago, I booked 1:1 keynote training at the Apple Store in Manchester. The advice I was given: "Use transitions sparingly. " Decide on the one that matches your presentation style and content then be consistent with you use of such special effects.
Videos are "Mental Sorbets "
Audiences appreciate a change in mood and pace; tone and delivery. Unless you want a fine, it is important that you find videos and images that are royalty free. Insert footage directly into your slide-deck. It’s easy. You simply drag a Quicktime file onto your slide then set the video to click to play. That way you have more control over the video start time.
Consider using your personal branded videos and animations. Here's one we created. The Little Pilot. To date it has had 611 likes and 258,497 views. It's popular!
Resonate by Nancy Duarte is a beautiful book. It’s about public speaking in general and slides in particular. I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy when we were both speaking in San Diego. Here we are holding my cultural awareness book, "The Diversity Dashboard."
The book was inspired by Nancy's hand-drawn paper people. You 'll find on p 203 of her book Resonate. Nancy kindly gifted this image to me.
Nancy walks her talk and lives her art. You'll find Resonate on page 7 of my book recommends. In it she breaks down the structure of what makes a superior presentation, how to establish a central message and much more. One of Nancy's case studies comes from Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk about classical music, a talk that delights the audience from start to finish. I had the privilege to meet Ben Zander at the Barbican in London when he presented to Deutsche Bank's Conference for European Women in Business. His keynote was indeed captivating. Think of viewing this as pre-reading material for my second of Nancy 's books: Slideology which focuses more on the "how to" of creating exceptional visuals and slides.
Avoid the temptation to add your web address or contact information to each slide. At the end of the day if people want to connect or contact you they can and will. Google is a great phone directory. However, it is acceptable to close with a call to action or thank you message. You'll notice my slides are colour branded and some with blog logo. This makes the deck specific to my business. This is a hallmark of a professional speaker. #DesignCredit: Nidhi Narula.
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