Margy Schaller is a presentation coach, designer, speaker, and author. After obtaining her Instructional Design certification and working with speakers for 15 years, she launched her firm, Laser Pointer. As of December 2016, she has worked with clients from not only the dental and medical space but also legal, financial, high tech, real estate and renewable energy. Laser Pointer is growing rapidly and has as its primary mission: To help each speaker become the best version of themselves.
In this conversation, Margy discusses her new book, Formulate A Winning Presentation.
Geetesh: Margy, tell us what motivated you to write Formulate A Winning Presentation, a book geared towards the dental and healthcare industry?
Margy: I wrote this book to help the modern presenter focus on the why and the how of engaging, informing and inspiring their audience using a simple to follow a 9-step process. While the content is relevant to every marketplace, I have chosen to use the dental and healthcare field as a backdrop for the stories and examples. During my 15 years working in this arena, I have had the privilege of meeting the smartest and most passionate dentists, doctors and affiliated professionals. These speakers teach their peers how to improve the quality of care for their patients. However, content development and slide design is not their area of expertise, and as a result, their message is not always as clear and results-oriented as they want.
Formulate A Winning Presentation starts by guiding the reader through the process of developing content. I believe that the most impactful talks stand on a platform of three main elements: the key takeaway, the speaker’s “why” and their primary Speaker StyleSM. With those in hand, the formula walks through a step-by-step process to drive clarity. It also includes over 50 real-life before and after slides to demonstrate design elements that will captivate the audience. It incorporates personal stories, tips and lessons from industry-leading dental speakers and consultants as a way to bring content to life.
Geetesh: What are the challenges that dental and healthcare slides provide, which are not so common in slides from other sectors?
Margy: When I think about business slides, they generally fall into two buckets; sales and training. The sales deck (whether external or internal) has at its goal to drive home features and benefits while engaging people with the brand. The corporate training deck (again for external or internal customers) is teaching some new process with the ultimate goal of achieving more sales. As a result, slide design must be focused on differentiating the company from their competition and building loyalty.
In contrast, dental and healthcare slides are required to be non-commercial and educational in nature. In order to better serve this group, I started looking at what made these speakers successful. I realized that the really good speakers delivered absolute clarity and the audience knew what to do with the information. Based on this, I created a construct I have named Speaker StylesSM that helps the healthcare speaker (and I believe every speaker) to deliver on the ultimate “aha.”
- The Recruiter has a product or service they believe will help their audience succeed. Their talk to a healthcare audience will focus on a need and provide a fair and balanced review of the available options, one of which is their product or service.
- The Inspirer is at the top of their field. They know the audience will not be able to achieve their level of expertise. However, their goal is to show the audience what is possible and to move the industry forward.
- The Teacher has the goal of helping the audience achieve mastery in some aspect of the field. Typically these speakers had great mentors, and they want to pay it forward to their peers.
- The Informer has some data, law or new Gold Standard that they believe people need to be successful. Their goal is to equip the audience with the best manner to incorporate this information.
Once this has been determined, the slide design must be focused delivering on this goal. While the Recruiter will compare and contrast various products or services, the Teacher shows how to use something in a step-by-step fashion. The Informer might be focused on what is changing while the Inspirer is highlighting what is possible. From there, I use adult learning theory, the Assertion-Evidence Model and the other skills all presentation designers employ to drive comprehension and retention for the audience.