In running The One Minute Presenter workshops around Asia, we encounter the pains and challenges of “death by PowerPoint”. The main problem is that business presenters mis-use the tool – treating it more like a word processing tool than a visual aid software. We see slides crammed full of text because the presenter wants the crutch of being able to read the text in case they forget what to say. In other words, they are putting their script on the slide. This is a lazy approach to business presenting. It replaces proper rehearsal with text heavy, instantly forgettable data heavy slides.
A large part of our workshop shows how to create a message and connect it to the audience. In this article, we will cover three simple tips you can use to create more attractive and memorable slides. We frequently work with technical presentations and financial presentations and these skills can be applied to these situations as well. Remember that the golden rule while presenting is variety.
Tip 1: Use full slide pictures
Instead of packing text onto the slide, use full screen pictures to add impact. In this example you can use it as an opening slide for a section, or as a talking point. You show the picture and then relate how it is relevant for the message you are delivering for your audience.
Tip 2: Use metaphors and taglines
In this example, a picture is used as a metaphor. It conveys the meaning behind the message. The added tagline “when you connect you plug into the audience” reinforces the meaning. In this case, as a presenter you may not need to add anything further. Simply letting the audience read the slide can be effective. Don’t fall into this trap: reading every word on the slide. Often it’s not necessary as the audience can read quicker than you can speak.
Tip 3: Add a summary slide
Get into the habit of recapping every section and adding a summary slide at the end of the presentation. It allows the audience to mentally catch-up and by refreshing what you said they can digest the message. This will improve memory recall rates and importantly it can be used as an opportunity for you to answer relevant questions to that section. Summary slides should be clean with key points only. No new information should be added. The purpose is to simply review the previous messages.
While this is not an exhaustive coverage of slide design, critically look at your slides and ask yourself if you are using them as your script or are they truly an aid for the audience to better understand your message. Be audience-focused not presenter focused and you will be on the road to getting your point across in an engaging and memorable way.
About the Author: Warwick J Fahy
“I work with C-level executives working for multinationals in Asia Pacific who lack the executive presence to effectively influence key stakeholders. While these executives are very smart, very knowledgeable and highly capable, a key piece is missing. These executives’ communication skills need polishing.
I help executives build a strong foundation in executive communication so that they are able to better think, act and communicate like a high performing leader. Recently, we helped a CEO turn his communication style from being nervous and uninspiring into a more engaging, confident and purposeful executive.” Learn more about who Warwick helps here.
Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.
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