The Back to Basics series provides proven advice for powerful business communications.
How many meetings have you been to where speaker after speaker parades across the stage, happily clicking through slides with 8pt text, complex graphs and dumb quotes? Or even worse, reciting every word on the slide.
If you are in the business of public speaking or preparing content, some up front planning and what I call ‘graphics restraint’ will go a long way. It doesn’t matter if your audience is or 5 or 5,000. The same rules apply.
First, ask yourself, what is the one thing I want them to remember. You know, the ‘take-away’. From there, decide what three points you need to make to get them to remember this. Then, and only then, begin to build your story on the slides, following these four rules:
1. One idea per slide
People read ahead. Don’t spill the beans all at once. Build your story one idea at a time so you keep your audience engaged and message clear.
2. Simple graphics and pictures
You don’t want brain energy focused on figuring out what that weird line chart with 45 arrows pointing up, down, across and diagionally means. Better, use a large photo or simple chart, or some high impact text, in a large interesting font that conveys the idea.
3. Put speaker notes in their place
Do NOT put what you are going to say on the slide. The slide reinforces what you will say, not the other way around. Write down your notes separately and have them on hand to refer to.
4. Seamless from end to end
End, as you began, by re-stating the key idea.
A must read is Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick . This book will teach you how to craft and communicate ideas that are not only memorable but inspire the action you want.
What other tips would you add to the mix?