Our company sees presentations as an act of storytelling that can be compared to other forms of media such as movies, tv shows, and novels. You have to consider that by default your audience is tied up for the whole ride, they are there on their own free will, you have their undivided attention and the stage has been set for you – so don’t waste this golden opportunity by presenting a dull and boring presentation.
The most important aspect that contributed to making your slides effective is to realize that the presentation should have an overarching narrative. Like any other story, PACING plays a big role in a presentation’s success. Start with identifying the KEY POINTS of discussion – mainly the problem or opportunity that you want to set the stage.
The best tip I can give when creating your presentation storyboard is to know what is the general message you want to tell – what’s the story. If you’re going to present to an investor, better make sure that your content fully glorifies the immense potential that your company has – that’s your overall narrative, telling them how your company will save them time and money. Leverage on those key points and don’t stray from them. Don’t include any information that might break away from your overall message.
Now that you’ve created a storyboard that includes your overarching narrative, you should now plan out what content and design elements you’ll include in the presentation. After storyboarding, we then segment the presentation into 3 acts, “The Hi”, “The Meat” and “The Hook”.
When writing and designing the content for the presentation, make sure that you don’t stuff too much information into one slide. Content stuffing defeats the purpose of presenting relevant information efficiently and effectively – Keep it short and simple, efficiency and quality always trump redundancy and quantity. Always remember that in every good story, the plot is presented in a gentle and unforced manner, and if you stuff your slides with too much information it will most probably derail your audience in actually digesting what you’re trying to say and be left wondering why they even agreed to listen to you in the first place.
Start the flow of information by planning out the “the hi or hello” of your presentation, this should include a quick overview of who you are and purpose of the presentation. Be gentle in this part of the presentation. Don’t include any pitches, graphs or conceited numbers of glory – this part is for you to introduce yourself and your story, not where you boast about your achievements or deliver convoluted information.
“The meat” is where you then serve your audience with the nit and grit of your presentation. Look at this part, as the main course of a meal. They came to see you or attend your meeting all because of this part of your presentation – serve them generously. One key advice I can give you in creating “The Meat” of your presentation is to base this section on the key talking points that you want to drill down to your audience. You held back in the “The Hi”, now is your chance to go all-in and pitch your heart out. Make sure that your message is always clear all throughout this section, don’t hold back in including your key talking points in every slide – but please do it tastefully. Be extra careful in over-saturating your presentation. No one wants to see 5 slides that are filled with a “Buy Me!” or “Sign The Contract” message. Yes, you’ve got the green light to sell but never overdo it.
And lastly, “The Hook”. Some may say that the “The Meat” is the most important part of the presentation, I beg to differ. Once the smoke has cleared and everyone, done and dusted, “The Hook” is really the part where decisions are made. Make sure that your presentation’s final slides are as impactful as the “The Meat” of your presentation. “The Hook is the part where you leave a lasting impression with your audience. Whatever your presentation may be, always make certain that you always end on a high note. Reiterate to them again the key talking points that you have discussed. Show them again selected figures and numbers. Let them go home with your name on their lips.
Simply, there is no “One size fits all” in presentations. Create presentations that are targeted towards your audience. Identify the persona that your audience is included in and drill it down. Never generalize.