Powerful Presentations: Simply Stated… Around the world every day,
thousands if not millions of people give presentations. Some are great, and have a powerful impact
on their audiences. Others…well, let’s just say they’re works in progress. This
is Powerful Presentations: Simply Stated. Meet Jim, an aspiring professional trying
to make it in the world. Jim used to give presentations like just about everyone else he knew. PowerPoint was his tool of choice. He’d use it like an outline, with a header
followed by bullet after bullet, and sometimes even sub-bullets! When he wanted to be fancy, he’d add what usually turned out to be an ineffective chart or sometimes a table.
And when Jim wanted to really spice things up, he’d add…yep…clip art. Unfortunately,
Jim’s approach would often confuse and bore people. This was a problem because he had important things to say. And because it was dimming his prospects for success. Fortunately, Jim learned a better way and didn’t stay in the dark for long. Perhaps most importantly, he now
focuses on the story he wants to tell. In doing so, he tries to follow a simple structure, with a clear beginning, middle, and end that links together his various points and builds to his conclusion. When formulating his story, Jim uses a simple pad of paper or sicky notes.
Staying low tech at this stage helps him think more creatively and stay outside the box.
He then considers what tools will help him best tell his story. Jim sometimes opts to
use a whiteboard, flip charts, handouts, or even no props at all. When it makes sense
for him to use PowerPoint, he tries to remember the adage that sometimes “less is more.”
He doesn’t dumb down his presentations, but he does try to limit each slide to one
key idea. Or, depending on the content, he sometimes builds an idea incrementally so
it’s easy to follow. He looks for visual ways to tell his story, with minimal text,
photos, and clear charts and graphs. Sometimes he’ll use quotes, but he tries to remember
that people can’t read his slides and truly listen at the same time. Jim still uses
plenty of text to help him remember what he wants to say, but he hides it in his notes
that only he sees. Jim’s new approach takes more time, energy,
and rehearsal, but it’s been well worth the effort. His audiences are now much more
engaged and better understand and remember his presentations. And, as if that weren’t
enough, his pocketbook doesn’t mind either. This has
been Powerful Presentations: Simply Stated.