Rethinking the Visual Component of Your Presentations (Part 1 of 4)

August 5, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Preparation, Presentation

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

We need a new way to talk about the visual component of business presentations. I didn’t use the term “visual aids” to describe this part of the process for a reason. That term, one that has been around long enough to have been applied to everything from a flip chart to a 35 mm slide to an overhead transparency and now PowerPoint slides, is losing its usefulness.

It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the term. It’s just that “visual aids” are associated with the following universally accepted best practices, all of which need to be reexamined in light of today’s presentations.

  1. Your slides are visual aids. Their role is subordinate to the presenter.
  2. Visuals must be simple and communicate their message quickly.
  3. Graphics are better than words.
  4. Bullet points are boring.
  5. Never, ever project an “eye chart” (a detailed slide with words and numbers too small for the audience to read).

Don’t get me wrong. There is truth to be found in each of these statements. But it’s only partial truth—not true in all situations and not true all the time.

We see this in every workshop we deliver. Business presenters use—and use well—a broad range of visual support in their presentations. When we work with them, they always assume that we’re going to condemn any slide that breaks any of the standard rules. “Sorry, I know this is a complicated slide …” or “Now I know you’re not going to like this, but I need to project this spreadsheet because …”

We tell these presenters to relax. We aren’t the PowerPoint Police. We aren’t going to confiscate their slides. What we will do is help them figure out the best way to communicate the information that needs to be communicated. Sometimes that has to do with simplifying or altering the slide. Sometimes it has more to do with how the slide is explained during delivery.

What would make this process easier for everyone is a better way to think about all the different types of visuals we use. We need to answer questions like these:

  1. As you know, we define presentations as Orderly Conversations. We need to ask how the slides you use contribute to the process. Do they bring order to or are they the subject of the conversation?
  2. Does the information or data on the slide exist outside the presentation, as a sales report, financial report, marketing data, or flow chart, for example? Or was the slide created specifically for this presentation?
  3. Is the slide meant to bring emphasis or emotion to the presentation?

In the next three posts, I’ll focus on these questions.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

by Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin Communication and co-author of the upcoming book, “The Orderly Conversation”

Use internal agendas to reinforce your presentation’s structure.

September 24, 2012 in Author, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Preparation, Presentation, Video

Greg Owen-Boger, VP of Turpin Communication, shows how using internal agendas can keep both the presenter and the audience on track.

12 Tips for Creating Better PowerPoint Presentations

December 7, 2011 in Author, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Preparation

greg 200x300An important element to delivering effective presentations is to have effective visual aids. If you struggle with design or would like to learn how to use themes, master slides or graphics in PowerPoint more effectively, take a quick look through this article.

The ideas presented by the author, Stephanie Krieger, a Microsoft Office MVP, include:

  1. Select or create your own theme
  2. Use video and audio to convey your message more effectively
  3. Use graphics to emphasize key points
  4. Use animations and transitions wisely
  5. Start by outlining your presentation
  6. Use masters and layouts to save time and help get better results
  7. Consider differences between print and on-screen presentations
  8. Use notes pages and handouts to help deliver the story
  9. Keep file size manageable
  10. Use the tools available to get it right the first time
  11. Turn off (or manage) AutoCorrect layout options
  12. Know exactly what your viewers will see

Read the full article.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication