10 steps away from great presentations
01Craft your slides last: You could be tempted to start tinkering with slides early in your speech writing process – stop. It’s like building a bridge – until you know where that bridge is going to end there’s no point laying down foundations and setting concrete. Your slides are there to emphasise a well-crafted speech, not to replace it. Your slides are the lightning to your thunder.
02Don’t replace you: People come for you – your thoughts, clarification and insights.
Fancy transitions, videos, and lots of text steal from the impact the slide can have on your delivery.
03Consistency: A consistent theme pulls together the story created by your images and message, as you move from start to finish. You could use the generic themes supplied in PowerPoint – We don’t because we want a creative, unique, and more impactful look.
04More visual, less wordy: Instead of drowning your audience in text, use a bold eye-catching image and a key message.
Want to quickly improve a tired slide deck? Make your images larger and reduce the text. Remember the theme in this post is your slides should add to your speech – not distract the audience away from you. We know our brain can process images some 60,000 times faster than text – using a large image gets your point across quickly, without being a distraction. And a shortlist of brief bullets helps your audience follow your argument – nothing more.
05One Chapter at a Time: In a 60 minute presentation, you might have 30-35 slides, depending on the sensitivity or complexity of the story you are telling. Each slide represents a complete chapter in that story. You might be presenting statistics (sparingly), recalling an experience that leads to a lesson or teaching a lesson. But, always stick to one chapter per slide.
06Stop the Casualties The trick when presenting text, like a shortlist of bullets (we have seen many casualties from PowerPoint Bullets), is to convey your point without boring the audience. One technique is to reveal one bullet at a time.
07Leave the Fireworks to New Years It’s great that you know how to morph text into flames and make images dance – but leave those fireworks to New Years and the bedroom. Your job is to make you the star. Simple transitions, clean fonts and large attractive graphics trump PowerPoint tricks and sparkles, every time.
08One Rule to Rule Them All When we look back at our most successful slide decks there’s a pattern, we call it the 2/4/8 rule: about every 2 minutes we have a new slide (about 30 slides for a 60-minute speech), no more than 4 bullets per slide, and no more than 8 words per bullet. Just like a recipe, use the 2/4/8 rule as a guide and then spice up the end product.
09When in doubt, scrap it Slides can be crucial – they can also be a distraction. When you’re struggling, trying to decide if you need a slide, or not, ask yourself: “Will it make my presentation better?” If not, you scrap it. Remember, nobody will miss what isn’t there.
10Call the WOW Squad Why stress and worry about crafting something wow, when you can get a team of professionals to do the wowing for you?
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