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By Adomas Baltagalvis
How to make your presentations
Preparation NO Turning Back Story Telling Simplicity OVERCROWDED Space Avoid Black & White Make it COLOURFUL Using Pictures Reliable Fonts CONNECT Body Language Pecha Kucha Learn from Others TIPS and TRICKS 3 6 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 24 25 26 28 29 33
The ﬁrst very important thing to remember is that PowerPoint is NOT an application for generating ideas. Its main purpose is to make your ideas
Thus, the ﬁrst thing to do is to turn off your laptop/PC.
-> Go analog - take a pen and paper - and brainstorm!
• You can write down all your ideas much faster. • You can see the overall picture very easily. • It is very easy to make connections between your ideas and group them. Generate as many ideas as possible concerning the topic that you are working on. Think of all the things you want your audience to know and how you could present it. After you have a sufﬁciently large amount of different ideas (at least 20 mins of brainstorming), your aim is to think of the overall picture of your presentation and to work on a logical ﬂow of your ideas.
It is also the time to think of the main
To put it simply: think of the “message” as a one sentence pitch
that you want to get across.
is probably the most important thing of a presentation, yet, so many times it’s completely forgotten.
If something really bad happened and you cannot deliver your entire presentation: • what would be this one sentence that would sum up your entire presentation? • What would be the core idea of your speech? • If it was the only thing you wanted your audience to remember, what would it be? • If it was a summary of something, how would you summarize it in one sentence and sell it to the audience?
How would you sell your entire presentation with only one sentence?
You are the presenter1 and, after you have practiced a lot2 and know everything you want to say by heart3, the impact of what you say4 can be much greater if you use memorable supporting visuals5 and keep simplicity6 , clarity and essentialness in your mind all the time.
To make it even clearer, notice that there is a difference between the topic and the message. An example: • Topic (what is it about?) - “4th quarter results”. • Message (what is the core point of the presentation?) - “Due to extremely bad weather conditions, the results were worse than expected in the UK but they were offset by a tremendous increase in our sales overseas.”
The presenter - You are the presentation. You are the one who is delivering it and you should be the main focus point.
Having practiced a lot - a key to successful delivery is practice. Spend time and run through all your presentation several times until you feel comfortable with it.
It is necessary to know all the information by heart, otherwise you will struggle with delivering your presentation (making mistakes with overcrowding and reading the slides) and will not be able to get your
What you say is the most important thing in the presentation, not the PowerPoint slides. People have come to listen to you and your stories, not to look at your slides.
Memorable supporting visuals - again, PowerPoint slides can make your presentation much more impactful but they have to be only a support. The most memorable are photos accompanied with stories.
You can make the presentation more powerful by remembering to strive for simplicity and essentialness in your slides. Make it as easy understandable as possible and get rid off all the things that do not add value to your slides and your presentation. 5
NO Turning Back
One of the mistakes that many people do is reading the information from the slides on the big screen. It is not a good thing because: • The audience can read the slides by themselves (hopefully) and they can actually do it faster than you can talk. • The presenter turns his back to the audience and loses eye-contact, thus, the audience feels less appreciated. • The audience might assume that the presenter doesn’t know the information on his slides or what he actually wants to say.
Now, it is actually very easy to get rid of such habit. The only thing you have to do is switch to the “Presenter’s View”.
A very quick advice - incorporate stories in your presentations! They are personal, they are emotional and that’s why we remember different stories so well. It might even be the case that the only thing the audience remembers from your presentation is a story! We tend to attach our own feelings to those stories and image ourselves as different characters. We like to see a character who develops and overcomes major problems. A conﬂict/problem is a crucial element of a story - don’t forget that the next time you are telling one!
Less is More.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” - Albert Einstein
“Simplicity is the ﬁnal achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. “ - Frederic Chopin
Whenever you are designing your slides, it is important that you strive for simplicity. The simplicity that I am talking about incorporates
directness, essentialness, minimalism and elegance. Stop yourself
from putting unnecessary things into your slides and always remember what is your main message.
Very often you will see slides that are overcrowded with information. Even more often you will ﬁnd that the presenter is actually reading the slides that are in front of you - avoid doing that at all costs! Why is it bad? For the same reasons why turning your back is bad as well. More importantly, the audience cannot focus completely on two things at the same time. If they see a lot of text in front of them, they will try to read it. But at the same time the presenter will be talking about some other things! If the audience cannot focus on any of the material, they will loose their interest and the presentation will be a failure. How can it be ﬁxed? With good preparation. Remove the information from the slides and actually memorize it, use pictures instead of text and, if you desperately need to provide them with a lot of different information, give proper handouts! Your slides are not supposed to be handouts!
1x7x7 - A simple guideline for
not overloading your slides.
7 bullet points, each of them should NOT be longer than 7 words.
On there should be no more than Of course, very often you will need to put a sentence or two on a slide (i.e. a quote), don’t be afraid of that but remember to keep it as simple as possible.
Don’t be afraid of leaving a lot of ‘empty’
It will help your audience to focus on what is really important in your slides.
Avoid Black & White
Black and white is the simplest design. It might save a lot of your time but what matters is the time of the audience - you don’t want them to waste an hour of their life listening to a boring presentation! Put some efforts and show that you really care about the visual part of your presentation, that is, you care about the audience and what they see.
Make it COLOURFUL
Everyone is bored to death with black and white slides. Put some life into your presentations by using a few colours. Probably the best way of doing that is to highlight the words that are the most important:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
- Leonardo da Vinci
Don’t overdo it either, try not to use more than 2-3 different colors in one slide.
A good way to make your presentation more memorable is to use a picture as a background without leaving empty spaces on the sides. Pictures leave a lasting impression because they are much better at illustrating things. 1. 2. 3. 4. Choose pictures that have enough of free space. Make sure the picture “bleeds” - occupies the entire slide. Of course, high quality pictures are a necessity. Add text and make it stand out. Make sure that the you use high quality pictures
Now, take a look at the examples below. Without the presenter, most of them would make no sense! The same picture is used in telling different stories and that’s what makes them so powerful and memorable.
A picture is the best tool in making your points more valid and memorable.
“a is worth a thousand words”
One of most amazing experiences in my career was the opportunity to lm... King Kong.
Using Black & White slides is NOT good.
Black & White
Nothing in my life is so important as a well-planned checkmate.
Go analog. Use pen and paper to generate all your ideas.
Go Pen an
LOG NAper rm A d Pa
ener G a
o nst te all t rai
! deas he i
Is it crucial to take notes during lectures? Or is it better to just listen?
One of my favourite hobbies is snowboarding. The adrenaline and the incredible feeling that I get in the mountains makes me feel young again.
My passion: feeling the
92% of accidents in the mountains occur for people who are taking risks without knowing their true capabilities.
92% of accidents
My father took me to the mountains when I was nine years old and I was passionate of them ever since. The harmony of all the shapes and colours is just breathtaking.
You have to get up very early and have all your equipment prepared long before the sunrise. Only then you will take the incredible shots.
You would always nd so many frogs around the place where I spent my childhood. No wonder why I chose it to be the symbol of my company as well.
their own body length!
Frogs can jump up to
I love cycling! I do it every day and I haven’t found a better way to stay t.
Cycling a perfect way to stay ﬁt!
It was the ﬁrst time I tried surﬁng and I loved it!
And what are your dream holidays?
One time - One moment.
And then continue with telling the audience about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, while explaining it with pictures, NOT bullet points!..
I think you get the idea by now!☺
PowerPoint was invented to make the presentation more powerful by assisting your speech with visual data. REMEMBER: you are the presentation! All the attention of the audience has to be on you and on your speech. Use photos to make your speech more powerful, credible and memorable and it will deﬁnitely rock the house!
Simple steps to improve your text
What countries would you like to visit?
Change the font from Arial to Verdana, Optima or Helvetica Neue Light (or any other that looks “decent”: a bit stylish, still very simple and understandable)
What countries would you like to visit?
(font used: Optima)
Make an emphasis on the most important word. This time it is “you”. Make it much
bigger, bold and italic.
What countries would
like to visit?
Change the colour to something else than black. Try dark grey, dark red or brown. And center the text. I even prefer to change the “you” font to “Baskerville”.
What countries would
like to visit?
You can add colour if you want the word to stand out even more.
What countries would
like to visit?
By taking these simple steps you will put an emphasis on “you”. It will make the audience feel much more appreciated which is our main objective! It is very easy to do it in all different situations. If you have a quote, make some words stand out, it will be the main attraction point and will make the ﬂow of your presentation much easier as well.
It is not a rule, it is more of a suggestion or a guideline for making your text simple but clear and effective.
Baskerville Bodoni Big Caslon Franklin Gothic Futura Garamond Gill Sans Helvetica Neu Myriad Pro Optima
My personal favourites are Optima, Helvetica Neu and Myriad Pro. I usually use Gill Sans when I need something big and bold. By the way! VERY OFTEN I will make the space between paragraphs (or the “Line Spacing”) smaller to make it more compact! Compare:
GILL SANS GILL SANS What do you think? What do you think?
(Line spacing: 0.6) (Line spacing: 1)
If you want to make your audience understand your material and accept it, one of the main tasks for you is to make a connection with them. Otherwise, if you are perceived as a cold person, no matter how good the information or how credible your sources will be, the presentation will not be a 100% success!
First, don’t stand behind a lectern/podium or a table
(where a typical lecturer would be) because they are barriers between you and the audience. Instead, move closer to people and try to really engage them.
my personal recommendation for you is to get rid off any notes (especially A4 size), because: 1) if you are holding your notes in one of your hands, it limits your gestures and your entire body language, thus, limits how well/impactfully you can convey the message. 2) if you have any notes, you will most probably read them instead of keeping eye contact with the audience and you will not be seen as a credible/honest/ natural person which is very bad. And if you don’t even look at your notes, why should you have them with you? 3) if you need any notes, you have to go back to the preparation stage. It is necessary that you know all the information by heart and it will allow you to make any of these mistakes.
However, if you do think that you might become slightly nervous and forget the information, you can have notes but they have to be small. Don’t put all the information on them, instead of that, write down only a few bullet points of the core things that you want to say.
You have to be aware of your body language. Start with a simple thing - smile throughout your presentation and be passionate! Show them how interesting the topic is for you, how beneﬁcial it can be for them, and they will surely listen to you. • Don’t cross your arms on your chest, people usually do that unconsciously when they are bored. • Don’t put your hands into your pockets, you want to use your hands and gestures to illustrate different points. • Avoid leaning on one of your legs, instead, stand straight, shoulders back - it will make a good impression on the audience and you will be seen as a conﬁdent and strong presenter. Some of you might also have some ticks, things that you unconsciously do again and again. It can be words, such as “like.. like.. like... aaahh... ummm.. you know... okay...” or different hand gestures (clapping, pointing with your ﬁngers, “shooting” people...) as they might be very distracting to the audience. It is possible to get rid of your ticks but it might take some time. But don’t worry- even the greatest leaders sometimes ﬁnd it difﬁcult.
Finally - eye contact.
It is very important that you remember to maintain eye contact with everyone in the audience, especially with people sitting in front corners. A very simple concept that can help you remember this, is “the lighthouse effect”. It suggests to maintain eye contact with every individual (depending on the size of the group) for at least 2-3s while “scanning” them from one side to another. You can also practice it with a very simple task. During a training session on presentational skills or anytime when someone has to present in front, everyone in the audience have to raise their hand and can only put it down when the presenter has maintained eye contact for at least 3 seconds. Thus, the presenter is forced to look at everyone and it greatly improves the connection between him and the audience.
PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images forward automatically and you talk along to the images. So, the total duration of the presentation is exactly 6min 40s. “Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat", it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It's a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.” - www.pecha-kucha.org PechaKucha can be a very powerful tool for becoming better at presenting. It is a very strict format which requires a lot of practice and a very good timing. When delivering such presentation, try to tell the audience a story and assist it with memorable photos - it will certainly leave a lasting impression.
You can ﬁnd examples of PechaKucha presentations on internet, here are some two of them: A shocking story about a mountaineer who lost his ﬁngers but never gave up his passion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsEk5pkaQis A story of an adventurer who has cycled around the world and much more: http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/27
Learn from Others
“One of the best ways to master something is to learn from others.” From my point of view, Steve Jobs is the one of the greatest presenters in the world and you can learn amazing things from his presentations. Notice: • the words he uses (phenomenal, works like magic, incredible, extraordinary...) to describe how enthusiastic and passionate he is, • the humor and the simplicity of his slides, • how he uses photos to support his message and keep in mind that he spends an incredible amount of time practicing his presentations and making it seem almost effortless. Even a person with no technological background is able to follow his presentations with no problems.
You can ﬁnd all the recent presentations on: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/ Some videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftf4riVJyqw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBhYxj2SvRI
I learned many different things about effective presentations from this amazing book:
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
I highly recommend it to everyone who is really interested in presentations and how to make them powerful. He has also published two other books that are just incredible. It’s amazing how he takes all the information he knows and presents it in a such understandable manner.
Presentation Zen: DESIGN and Naked Presenter
All these books are amazing. And if you really want to have an advantage among your peers, these are the right books to learn from.
Some very valuable sources:
Phil Waknell’s blog: Phil
Presentation Zen Blog
Nancy Duarte Blog
Present Like Steve Jobs Killer Presentation Skills
Duarte Design's Five Rules for Presentations
What is Presentation Zen?
Engage Through Storytelling
And if you are nervous in front of an audience, relax - even the greatest presenters experienced the same at the beginning. Practice will help you become more conﬁdent.
Steve Jobs early TV appearance
Finally, a great source of inspiration can be the slideshare.net webpage.
Many great examples of brilliantly designed PowerPoint slides can be found there. A few examples:
http://www.slideshare.net/jessedee/you-suck-at-powerpoint http://www.slideshare.net/jessedee/steal-this-presentation-5038209 http://www.slideshare.net/jessedee/100cannes ( http://www.slideshare.net/jessedee ) http://www.slideshare.net/mrcoryjim/tedx-presentation-design-tips-ep http://www.slideshare.net/garr/brain-rules-for-presenters http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan/what-the-fk-is-social-media-one-year-later http://www.slideshare.net/garr/sample-slides-by-garr-reynolds http://www.slideshare.net/garr/career-advice-08 http://www.slideshare.net/garr/garrs-slides-pptlive-08-presentation
TIPS and TRICKS
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Buy a clicker to advance the slides. Set up the “presenterʼs view”. Turn off your computer during the preparation stage. Use a pen and paper to brainstorm your ideas. Write down the key message of your presentation as a one sentence pitch. Donʼt look at the slides. Prepare proper handouts if necessary. Remember to strive for simplicity - get rid of all unnecessary things from your slides. Avoid complicated transitions. Donʼt overcrowd your slides. Contrast things. Make some words stand out. Use pictures. Tell stories. Start the presentation with a punch.
16. Avoid all the barriers between you and the audience, i.e. a lectern (podium), tables... 17. Remember to keep eye contact with the audience, especially with people in front, in the corners. 18. Donʼt cross your arms on your chest. 19. Keep your hands out of your pockets. 20. Smile while you are presenting. 21. No chewing gums. 22. Get to know the room, if you can, see how much space you have to walk around the room. 23. Usually, the multimedia will darken all the colours - keep that in mind and check it before the presentation. 24. Copy good presentations... and...
25. Practice, practice, practice!
And although I still have some ideas left, I think it’s time to stop...
I hope you found this guide useful and will incorporate some of these ideas in your next presentation! Farewell, and I wish you...
Finally, a huge thanks goes to Daniel Bell from AIESEC City for showing the true beauty of presentations.
Adomas Baltagalvis AIESEC Nottingham, UK
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