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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on March 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm
…or a porcupine in a pillow factory. Your pick. The point is, when it comes to presentation tools, Powerpoint seems to do more harm than good when it comes to memories and positive vibes.
We all know you need to stand out.
We all know you need to not overwhelm with slide bloat.
We all know punchy visuals creates a better message than storied text. But there’s always more we can do:
Don’t go where everyone else has gone
Avoid the built-in templates. I’m sure most of them have already been used by lots of other people, and once something seems familiar, you’re going to lose your audience to visual fatigue, or worse, familiarity. If you’re feeling spry, try using a whole other application to create your presentation. There’s Keynote, if you’re using a Mac, or even video editing tools if you dare! As much as you can do off the beaten path is what will make you and your presentation stand out, and thus be more memorable.
Don’t just create, but design
Hire someone (us!) who can help design a solid, memorable template that will be a stage worthy of your presentation. Even something as basic as master slides and their proper application can help get some visual consistency and proper branding on your slides. Also, keep some conventions in mind to help “train” the audience on what to expect, like standardized fonts, accurate alignment or consistent image sizes (I’m a huge fan or whole-slide images, myself!).
Slides support the presentation, not the other way around
Whatever your visual aids are, your presence and your words, are what everyone’s probably actually there for. Sure, use Powerpoint, but don’t feel you have to. Sometimes, it’s a powerful image to just stand there, mike in hand, with only you, what you say and your audience.
Hold your work up for judgment, and learn from feedback
Post your presentation to SlideShare, or YouTube and leave comments open. Sure you’re going to get some trolling (it *is* the Internet, after all), but if you ask for honest feedback, folks will respond and help you, so you can be a better presenter with more effective slides.
Sometimes the takeaway is a take away
It is customary to insert your contact information in your slides, or at the end of the show, but rather than encouraging everyone to write down the information (and possibly introducing costly errors) ask them to take a pic of the contact slide with their phones or cameras. Or if you’d like to be leading edge, create a QR Code pointing to a minisite for your presentation or topic where folks can follow-up, interact or even download a copy of your presentation.
The point of a presentation is still communication–whether it’s an idea, information or your master plan to start a “Waffle On A Stick” truck–and the tools you use, are just that, tools. They could help with the communication, but sometimes, they get in the way. In the end, if you take everything else away, your presentation should still be able to stand on its own.
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