Presentations – Kill or Cure!

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May 19, 2014
Presentations – Kill or Cure!

Hi and welcome back to my blog this week. It’s great to be back in Oz. At the end of last year I spent a week in “Digital City” Suwon, South Korea (the home of Samsung’s R&D centre) training Samsung executives how to make effective and interesting presentations. So this week I thought I would touch on presentations and how we can look and be more professional in both internal and external presentations.

I doubt there is one person reading this blog that hasn’t suffered ‘Death by PowerPoint’ at some point in their business life. It is not just techies who use slides as a method of torture. I know salespeople that have killed the opportunity and the relationship presenting slides that contain enormous amounts of text and graphics that can’t be read, let alone understood.

Let’s look at some top tips that will help avoid any more fatalities and hopefully help you create great presentations and slides for your next business presentation:

  1. Your slides are for the audience not for you,they are not speaker notes or a written speech. They are a canvas for you to paint your picture for the audience. Every picture tells a story. Tell a story that your audience will be interested in and remember.
  1. Creating a clear and concise presentation of 10 slides is much harder than creating one made up of 50 slides. Less is More! Strip down your content and only use information that backs up what you’re saying and is of genuine value to the audience. Use simple words. Avoid jargon. Proof read and spell check your slides – nothing can destroy your credibility more then spelling and grammar mistakes in the middle of a presentation.
  1. Make sure you set your background. Most corporates have templates. Use Them – and make sure they are current; there is nothing worse than seeing a template approved for use in the 90s. I see out of date templates all the time. Sloppy.
  1. Use dark text on a light background, or light text on a dark background. Changing backgrounds makes your presentation look disorganised and messy.
  1. Don’t be tempted to include different fonts to highlight important statements or key messages. Keep it simple. Use one font. Use italics and bold versions of the same font if you need to emphasise a point.
  1. To make sure your presentation has a coherent flow, follow a structure like the one below. This gives a logical flow to your presentation and makes your key points much easier to follow. PROBLEM – ANALYSIS – SOLUTION – BENEFIT – ACTION
  1. So many presentations are filled with endless information resulting in confusing and hard to understand slides. Keep transitions simple: it can be tempting to use all sorts of snazzy transitions, but don’t! It can detract from what you’re saying.

“If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in colour won’t make them relevant.” Edward Tufte

  1. Pictures or graphics are a great way to help you illustrate a point or add impact to a story and they are far more engaging than text. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.
  1. You should know what type of screen your presentation will be played out on. If you are presenting at your customer site, find out. Phone the receptionist or your contact, there is nothing worse than having to scramble around looking for a projector or plugs. Set yourself up for success.
  1. Finally, practice your presentation. By going through your presentation with your slides you’ll learn the flow and the transitions within the presentation. Be totally professional and confident when you come to present to your audience. Remember, practice prevents poor performance. Time spent practicing is often the difference between a great presentation and an average one.

Til’ the next time…. Andrew

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