In this conversation, Jason discusses his company, SlideCrafters and shares some thoughts on creating better slides.
Geetesh: Tell us about SlideCrafters — and how can you folks at SlideCrafters help presenters create better slides?
Jason: Authoring a presentation is no easy task, let alone creating meaningful visual content that complements your message. Recent trends have reinforced the importance of visuals to communicate information — take for example the rise of infographics.
“Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.” — Edward Tufte
For many of us, this is a different way to think. You may not be trained as a graphic designer, but you still need to interact and compel your audience through your presentation.
SlideCrafters was created to provide the everyday presenter with the tools to quickly create professional quality slide decks that engage any audience. PowerPoint is a powerful medium if used correctly. We recognize PowerPoint is not only used by keynote speakers, but also by students and professionals at all levels.
For the everyday PowerPoint user, SlideCrafters provides downloadable slide packs for quick adoption into any presentation. Our Starter Pack contains over 275+ editable PowerPoint diagrams. Each diagram has minimal formatting so that it can be easily updated to meet your style guide.
Partnering with our customers and clients is what drives us. We want to create a relationship similar to that of a long-time colleague — by answering questions, providing advice, or simply lending a helping hand.
Geetesh: The person delivering the presentation has to be in sync with the people creating slides — can you offer some tips on how this can be taken care of?
Jason: At the end of the day, the presenter owns the content and is held accountable for the message! With that said, we suggest you involve the people creating your slides from the very start.
Define The Scope: Share the context of the presentation — what are the needs, objectives and timelines? Define your audience — will it be a printed report, boardroom presentation or a large keynote? The answers are not only important to you, but also the person creating your presentation.
Provide Content with Context: Whether you’re working in person or virtually, you will have to share the content that makes up the presentation. Rather than just sending over a .ZIP file, schedule time to walk through each document so that the origin, meaning and takeaways are fully understood.
This is a great time to emphasize the context of your content; otherwise you may find that your message is lost in translation!
Logical Storyboarding: Develop the storyboard together. How do you want to communicate your message? What is the overall flow of your presentation? Sit together and visualize each slide on a post-it note. By openly discussing this, you will help align your vision with their understanding.
Iterative Design: Build in time for multiple iterations! Because you are working as a team, chances are the first draft is a few revisions away from your final presentation. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself re-evaluating your storyboard – it’s all part of the process.
Final Delivery: Once you are provided the final copy, make sure you know how to make any edits on your own. If you need extended support, ensure your slide creator is available. This covers you in case you need to make a last minute change right before your deliver your presentation.
Debrief: If you have a continued working relationship with the person who created your slides, schedule time for a debrief. Explain what worked well during the actual presentation and what could be improved upon next time. This meeting serves as continuous feedback. Don’t forget to thank him/her for all their hard work as they’ll be more likely to do a stellar job for you next time!
Side Note on Embracing Technology: With current technology and apps, collaboratively creating slides is easier than ever. We’re a huge fan of Paper by FiftyThree for the iPad. You can quickly sketch out a series of slides and work on your storyboard with the flick of a finger. Once you’re finished, you can easily email the sketches to the person creating your slides.
During iterative reviews, embrace virtual presentation services such as SlideRocket or Brainshark so that you can work in real-time.