Emma Bannister is passionate about presenting big, bold and beautiful ideas. She is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.
In this conversation, Emma talks about her book, Visual Thinking.
Geetesh: Tell us more about your journey as an author for Visual Thinking. What motivated you, and how did you translate your thoughts into a book?
Emma: When done right, presentations have the power to facilitate real change in the world.
Every day, I see clients secure buy-in from their team on a new vision, win multi-million-dollar contracts or build awareness around a life-changing new product. This is what happens when we communicate clearly and influence people to act after they have seen a powerful presentation.
But the problem is that there are still so many bad presentations out there.
More often than not, messages go unheard, unseen, and not understood due to poor design and over complexity. They are overloaded with bullet points, text, data and terrible images.
This was my motivation for writing this book. This is what gets me out of bed each and every morning. If I can change one person’s mind that day about how they present, then I have affected a change in the whole world.
I wanted to give everyone a visual step-by-step guide that could be easily followed because they just don’t exist! I’ve read so many books about pulling together presentations, but they are long, boring and visually unappealing (just like presentations themselves).
I approached the book writing process in much the same way I would a presentation. Pulling together the right team around me who could help me transfer my thoughts into coherent and concise messages. Coming up with the right purpose, the right content and the design elements that would support that. It was a lot of hard work! But I’m really pleased with the result.
Geetesh: If there’s one message you want readers to take away from Visual Thinking, what would that message be?
Emma: ‘Invest the time and energy into planning a powerful presentation so that your audience will invest their time and energy in you.’
Pulling together a presentation is so much more than making some slides ‘look pretty’. You’ve got to apply a strategy to your slides in the same way you would apply a strategy to your leadership.
The challenge is that most of us are time poor. In organizations, especially, pulling the information for a presentation together is often done at the last hurried minute.
Finding the time to research, write, design and rehearse is a constant challenge. Everyone is doing the best they can, but the best is not usually enough.
Presentations should be treated no differently to any other marketing collateral or consumer-facing information. In fact, you should invest more care, attention, time and effort into them because shareholders, customers, clients, colleagues and the public see them time and time again.
When you start to care about what you’re presenting and how then your audience will care about you.
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