We are regularly sought out by teams that find that their slides are “ugly” and they don’t have enough impact. The fact is… they are, but that’s not the main problem. Too often, the main idea is unclear and the presentation is poorly structured. This is usually enough to explain why the slides are overloaded, with too many bullet points, meaningless headings… and remarks that go are all over the place to salvage the situation. You can call on your best graphic designers, they will have no added value until your central idea is clear and inspiring.
The good news is that we already have a perfect ZETIP to effectively structure your presentations.
Having a clear idea is a prerequisite to having an effective presentation. The role of your visual aids is then to carry and amplify the impact of your story. Here are 3 tips to making an even stronger impact:
1 – Do not limit the number of slides
When presenting to Directors, it is common to have constraints like: “no more than 5 slides.” This is their way of asking for synthetic presentations that are easy to read. But this order is often counterproductive and doesn’t avoid cumbersome and boring presentations. On the contrary, the fewer slides you have, the more you tend to exploit every inch of the screen!
The real limit you must abide by is time. The number of slides doesn’t matter as long as you respect a basic rule: 1 idea = 1 slide. Your audience is no longer drowned in an abundance of information painfully set in font 9. On the contrary, their attention is drawn to a number or a sentence that completes what you are saying more effectively.
2 – Prioritize your ideas effectively
Once each key idea is assigned to one slide, there is an important step before you start working on the graphic composition: “Content hierarchy.” For the duo speaker/slide to be effective, it is necessary to guide the audience’s gaze, as much as possible, before they get lost in the visual aid.
Eliminate unnecessary sentences and words. The headings “context,” “key figures,” or other “objectives,” only serve to give the impression that your presentation is structured. If it is, you don’t need to demonstrate it. Everything you post should be intended to be retained by the audience or at least to facilitate their progression. And we must never forget that the more the information is important, the more it must be distinguished.
This usually results in a bolder heading that contains the central idea. It can be reinforced by a simple, smaller sentence that complements the idea. Then it is always possible to drive the nail in with some inserts containing numbers or evidence. For a slide intended to amplify the impact of your speech, it is never pertinent to consider more than 3 levels of information.
3 – Fluidify your narration
Once you have an idea per slide and the content is prioritized you can finally move on to the composition. But to maintain the impact of your presentation, even with good graphics, you need to pay attention to your transitions. The trap to avoid: finding yourself commenting on each slide before moving on to the next. The presentation becomes jerky and gives the feeling that the speaker is at the service of his visual aids, when it should be the opposite.
A slide change is the transition from one idea to another. If this passage is not well managed you break the link of coherence that unites the ideas with one another and you break the rhythm of the story. The job of the speaker is to be clear about the idea he or she is expressing. But there must also be clarity on the idea that follows, to effectively guide the audience.
Determine exactly when you want to go from one slide to the next. And prepare your transitions so that the new slide arrives right at the moment when you need to amplify the message you are sharing. This is how you will always be one step ahead of your audience and can get their attention by showing them that you’re one step ahead of them.