How did you start preparing for your last presentation? Did you open your laptop get started on a random listing on slides? Yes, we’ve all done it before. Why do we do it? It’s faster and none of us has time to spend “designing” a presentation with amazing visual aids. However, amazing visual aids can be simple to design without spending a lot of time.
Amazing visual aids come from the simplicity and clarity of their design. Steve Jobs was known for his amazing presentations. He realized people came to see and hear him. They did not come to see complicated tables, graphs and multiple ideas on one slide. Even after his death, the leadership continues in a tradition of power through simplicity of their presentations .Here’s how they do it.
- Audience First – When designing amazing visual aids think about the audience first. What do they want to hear and see? Think of their background and experience level. When considering the audience first, the presenter will use graphs instead of tables.
- It’s About You – The audience came to hear the speaker (i.e. – you). The slides are the supporting cast. Don’t rely on the slides to make the presentation. If the audience just came to hear you, they would have just asked you to mail them the slides.
- Use Pictures – A picture is worth 1000 words and graphs are worth 500. Pictures and graphs easily communicate the message and the information trend. Unsplash and Pixabay offer free royalty-free images for use in presentations.
- Practice – Amazing visual aids come from practice. How? If you know the material, then you don’t rely on the slides or other visuals. This freedom allows the speaker to talk to the audience rather than the slide.
- Dark Words – Use dark words on a light back ground to make them stand out. Choose a template that supports this view. This rule should hold true for all of the visual aids, graphs and pictures you use. This consistency makes it easier for the audience to track your theme.
- One Idea – Only use one idea per slide. I once coached an executive from a defense contracting company who had at least five ideas on a single slide. UGH! Great presenters share one idea per slide because even amazing visual aids have their limits. Speak to the idea on the slide and move on.
- White Space – It’s OK to have white space on a slide. If there is open space on a slide, it makes it easier for the audience to read and understand the message being shared. People used to feel this showed that lack of ideas. Readability is better than forced effort.
People are simple, and they should not have to think during the presentation. Make it simple for the audience with understandable and amazing visual aids. Remember the goal is to help them comprehend the information, not to help the presenter remember what to say next.
Scientifically Speaking, of course…