‘Think Different’ was Apple’s slogan for a long time. It was appropriate to their products and services. They did, and still do, ‘think different’ and ‘do different.’ This has been a huge factor in making them one of the world’s most successful companies.
We speakers can improve our presentations by ‘thinking different,’ when developing slides for our presentations.
First of all, slides are not the presentation. They are a tool that can make a good presentation – great. Here are some guidelines and ideas that will help:
Insert Video: Video breaks the pattern of most slide presentations and grabs the audience’s attention. They see and hear something, often someone, besides you. For example, I use a video of the famous basketball player Michael Jordan talking about the value of failing. His testimonial that he “failed over, and over, and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed!” reinforces, and adds credibility, to my talk on that topic.
Insert blank (black) slides: Your audience is drawn to the light; i.e. they look at the screen when you are speaking. A blank slide brings the eyes of those people to you, where it often should be because nonverbal communication trumps verbal communication. You want them looking at you. Be certain your gestures, facial expressions, and body movements reinforce your message. The audience believes in what they see!
Use high quality, universally understood images: There should be no confusion about what your audience is seeing on the screen. Use images because: Bullet points kill. Kill the bullet points. Bullet points do not reinforce a message. They…
Confuse the audience.
Complicit the message.
Conflict with you, the presenter.
No one comes to see a speaker and read their presentation.
You provide the text with your voice: Your audience has three learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Using two of them, visual and auditory, increases the odds they get it! This is important because the goal of all communication is for the audience, as quickly as possible, to get it! They may not agree with everything you say. They may not agree with anything. However, if they don’t get it! there cannot be a meaningful conversation going forward.
Use solid black or white backgrounds: Fancy templates and slides that include all contact information are clutter. They are a distraction for the audience. Having your name, email address, etc. on each slide results in no response if your presentation stinks. If you’re great and they want to know more – they will seek you out!
Transitions, build-ins, build outs, and animations should be s-i-m-p-l-e: Today’s software makes it easy to swirl, wipe, and pop everything. Using those seems cool but distracts your audience from the message.
Sound: The attention span of your audience is short, very short. Periodically adding sound to slides brings their awareness back to your talk. For example, when I point out things not to do in a presentation, such as using handouts, small fonts, and wild transitions; I make a large red X appear over those items with the simultaneous loud sound of a BUZZER, as they do in television quiz shows. It always gets their attention.
Incorporate these ‘think different’ ideas into your slide presentations and it will be absolutely, positively – no sweat!
Fred Miller writes, speaks, and coaches networking, public speaking and presentation skills. His books, No Sweat Public Speaking! and No Sweat Elevator Speech! are bought internationally, and have rave reviews on Amazon.com. His website, NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com, has over two hundred articles and videos on Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. Fred has been interviewed locally and internationally and has written many articles on and off line.