Our customers regularly ask us to help them tell their stories in a succinct and engaging manner. This is often in the form of a presentation. When we get this type of request, we find that we frequently give the same advice, which is as follows:
1. Titles are headlines
When we help our clients with presentations, we always begin with a storyboard. We do this by simply writing the title of each slide before we create any content. We write the title as a journalist would write a newspaper headline. The test we employ to make sure we have it right, is can you tell what the whole slide is about from the title alone?
2. Less is more
A phrase we commonly use with clients is “you can’t tell them everything”, by which we mean that each slide should have no more than three key messages. Additional detail and colour should be added by the speaker in the voiceover. This takes real discipline but pays dividends as the audience will remember more of what you say.
3. Use engaging images
Great pictures can bring a presentation to life. The internet is a rich source of images that can be used to make or reinforce a point. However, there are some important trade secrets; never stretch an image, use a good source for stock, if you can – use your own photography and make sure that they’re always high-resolution.
Whilst it’s obvious that you want to explain the benefits of your opinion, product, or service, always put it in the audience’s context. For example, rather than state “our network is high-speed”, instead say “you will benefit from superior application performance”. This stops the message from being all about you and puts it in the audience’s context.
5. What do you want them to think about you at the end?
Everyone knows that you need to refine your messages to ensure that you engage and inform your audience on the subject matter. However, often, little attention is given to what the audience thinks of the presenter. This is important because if they believe you, they will also listen to what you say. It’s not about ego, but it is useful to think about outcomes when you are preparing your material. Having a personal objective is crucial because the way you convey the message is as important as what you say. Are you trying to come across as an expert, or funny, maybe you want to persuade? Whatever your aim, being conscious of how you come across is key.