I acquired a new corporate client recently, and by way of getting underway, I asked them to send me a sample of a typical presentation deck. Imagine my lack of surprise when I received a deck full of bland slides, each slide populated with seven to eight bullet points.
This is not a presentation deck to inform the audience; this is the notes for the speaker to read and bore the audience.
Here is an extract from the poet Roger McGough’s autobiography “Said and Done”, which probably best explains how I believe a deck should be.
“The other occasions when I got to read young (children’s) poems are when I am judging a competition. It’s great fun, but less so now than it used to be. In the olden days [pre-1999 approximately) all the poems by the infants and first-year juniors would be handwritten and usually illustrated; in fact, drawing and writing were part of the same impulse. There was something special and unique about each entry, from the bold or spidery handwriting to the creative misspellings.
But now, of course, thanks to the dreaded computer, every poem has been spell-checked and is laid out on the page as if it were ready to go off to the Times Literary Supplement.
Nothing been gained and I believe much has been lost”.
These children have grown up to be adults and are still presenting in the same spell-checked way, correct but dull.
Images are Remembered:
Some thirty thousand years ago, we drew pictures of animals on cave walls by way of communication. Then, five thousand years ago, language was invented, and slowly but surely, we stopped drawing and focused on the words.
Roger McGough and I believe that when communicators use images and words, they enhance the likelihood of their message being understood and actioned.
A slide should be capable of being read in 10 seconds and understood. A well-chosen image will significantly enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Do not buy the ones online where all the images are of happy, well-dressed people in smart offices with perfect teeth. No, go onto https://unsplash.com or https://pixabay.com and find images for free that enhance your message.
Encourage your creativity:
Better still, take your own photos, videos, .gifs and look to inform your audience and entertain them.
The big bonus is that not only will they be more engaged and informed, but you will also have a good time presenting your story/deck.
If you feel you need help getting started, read my free articles on presenting (HERE); there are over 120.
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