I teach a method of presentation development that I call Tell ‘n’ Show. Tell ‘n’ Show covers the 3 areas of a presentation: content, design, and delivery.
Increase the impact of your slides
Text-heavy, bulleted slides are deadening. Audiences immediately think, “It’s boring,” and they tune out. You can lose your audience’s attention in the first few seconds this way.
People are essentially visual and remember visual images better than text. There are a number of good sources for free images. So, get rid of bullets on your slides. You should not, I repeat, should not, put everything you say on your slides.
Yet, many presenters do just that. A slide should not be a teleprompter. It’s meant to be a visual aide, and nothing more. If you don’t have anything to show, don’t show it.
Research shows that the brain doesn’t multitask very well, and specifically doesn’t deal with visual and audio inputs at the same time. If you have your text on the slide, people naturally read it. But if you’re speaking it out loud, they aren’t listening to you. Really. You might as well stand silent and go click, click, click and just let them read.
Instead, remember that you are the presentation. Your slides are not the presentation.
The Tell ‘n’ Show concept
Before you start your presentation, write down your goal, research your audience, figure out 2-3 points you want to make, and how you’ll show those points. Will you have a theme? For example, the theme of this tip is “high-impact, low cost” – it runs through everything I write. You write all this down before ever opening up PowerPoint.
There’s more to organizing your content of course – thinking about how to persuade an audience, keeping their interest, getting them to act, and so on.
It’s strange, but true, that although companies use a professional designer for their Web site and printed brochures, they often do their presentation design in-house. Yet the presentation is often the last and most direct means of marketing to a potential customer, just before the sale. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Nevertheless, budgets are limited, and I teach people how they can get professional-looking results even though they may be artistically challenged. I also teach people how to deliver in a way that connects to the audience, for maximum impact. After all, the presentation should be about your audience, not about you.
Expanding the reach of your presentations
You can see that by using some simple principles you can increase the impact of your presentations at little or no cost. But you can do more. You can take a presentation you give in person (or create a new one) and make a self-running presentation. Viewers can control it, or it can run automatically with set timings. Often it loops over and over.
You can use a self-running presentation at a trade show, in the lobby of your offices, and so on. Moreover, you can convert it to a video format and put it on your Web site. In this case, you would probably convert it to Flash movie format, an SWF file. I’ve found that iSpring Free is a good, free product that does this.
You can create a presentation for use as a self-running presentation, and put it on a computer where people will see it, or on your web site. By doing this, you’re getting more impact at no extra cost. More impact, because more people are seeing your presentation.
What else can you do to get your presentation in front of more people, to increase its impact? You can post presentations to presentation-sharing sites, such as:
Posting is free and on these sites, millions of people can find your presentation. You can add keywords so people can find it when they search, you can include your URL, and you can then embed the presentation on your
site. Perhaps others will pick it up and embed it for you. You can even narrate it. A slidecast is a presentation that includes narration.
You can turn your presentation into video format and post it on YouTube and other video sharing sites. You have the same options for using keywords, your URL, and embedding. You can use SWF format that I already mentioned, or another video format. I use a program called TechSmith Camtasia , which isn’t free, to convert presentations to video formats.
Another way to expand your reach and therefore your impact is to give webinars, that is, web seminars. Most sales webinars are free to the participants and you usually have to pay for the service, although there are some free options. In this case, people hear what you’re saying through their phone or directly through their computer’s speakers and they see presentation slides that you control as you speak. A commonly used, low-cost solution is GoToMeeting. Another one is Glance . The free option is DimDim, but be prepared for slower response times in certain cases.
Are you making the most of presentations for your marketing?
Presentations are an important part of the marketing process. When you create clear, visual slides, your presentations will have more impact. When you repurpose them for a self-running show, your Web site, webinars, and sharing sites, you vastly expand their impact. All this at little or no cost.