I’ve got bad news for you:
Great presentation slides can’t save a bad public speaker.
Imagine Albert from the accounting department delivering a monotone speech using Steve Jobs quality slides.
Doesn’t work, right?!
The good news is, well-designed presentation slides can turn a great speech into an awesome presentation.
The key to creating a great speech is in how you prepare. Read this post on the correct way to prepare for your presentation.
If you’ve done you preparation well, you should have an outline of your presentation and have a good idea about what you are going say.
This puts you in the enviable position of designing slides which will support you rather than lead you. Remember, you will be the presenter, not the slides. It’s therefore important that the slides are designed well and don’t become the defacto presenter.
Here’s how to do it…
Sketch your slides
You know what needs to be said to get the message across.
Sketch out slides which support you to convey that message. The key word here is “support”.
During your presentation you don’t want your audience to be overwhelmed with your slides. You don’t want your audience to be trying to listen to you while they try to read.
Once you have your slides sketched out, run through your speech while scanning through the sketch. Going through this procedure once or twice will help you to cull anything you don’t really need or add in something you do.
Put mouse to PowerPoint
Now that you are happy with the way your slides are sketched out, it’s time to open PowerPoint and get down to the task of putting the slides together.
As you are building the deck remember you don’t want your slides taking over your presentation.
Images convey meaning far better than words. Much better to show a relevant image with a word or two of text than fill your slides with bullet points.
If you have lots of data, extract the relevant information and show only that on your slides. If the other data is important for context, consider giving it as a handout.
Make use of animations to add impact to your presentations. Read more about how to add impact to your slides here.
Once you’ve created your slide deck don’t forget about it until presentation day.
It is important that you validate your slides.
You validate your slides by practicing your speech whilst having the slides running. You can have the slides projecting on the wall or simply have them on your computer screen in front of you. If you can, attach your laser pointer so you can click through your slides and animations as you talk.
This level of practice will prepare you for being on the stage. As you practice you may notice that the some of the slides don’t flow as smoothly as you anticipated. At this point you should cut or add slides as necessary to fine tune your delivery.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what you think. Let me know your experience with slide design.