Greetings. We all know that presentations are an important part of business and success. And we also know that they can become experiences dreaded by both the presenter and the audience. Presenters dread the challenge of creating a valuable experience that strikes the right tone, offers the right information and keeps the audience engaged. Audiences dread the prospect of having to stay awake and alert through an endless barrage of text and data filled slides, and fearful that in their boredom they will miss an essential point that will be on a crucial "test" tied to their career advancement. In previous posts I've written about the problems inherent in typical PowerPoint presentations and the essential need to tell a compelling story that captures the imagination of an audience, broadens their world view and challenges them to think in new and more innovative ways. That is why I prefer using props and telling a set of related stories tied to the interest of the audience, then summarizing with key lessons that people can use immediately to initiate meaningful change.
But sometimes the world forces us to make compromises–as I have found recently in being asked to design engaging webinars for two of our customers. Forty-five minute presentations delivered over the internet that are tied to a set of slides. And in putting them together I was forced to think "outside the slide" and to view each frame as a canvas for taking the audience into a world of ideas and possibilities. To use the slides as simple sparks for starting and continuing a conversation by sharing a picture, offering a phrase or lending just a few words that connect to a story or a point worth making. The simpler the better…based on new learning I've recently gained from reading Garr Reynolds latest book Presentation Zen Design.
It's a fascinating and powerful resource for anyone determined to break out of the mold in designing a presentation that keeps attention and makes a difference.
We win in business and life when we create presentations that inform, inspire and spark action. And when we realize that the most powerful stories are more often told with a simple story, a remarkable picture and as few printed words as possible.
Cheers and have an impactful week ahead!