We have recently launched a company that focuses solely on helping people creating better presentations. You might be thinking: presentations? Yup. We want to reinvent the way people think about the their slides. We’ve actually done some presentation templates as a test drive to see if the idea sticks (it did!) and then moved forward with creating custom presentations for our clients.
We would like to share with you some thoughts & insights we have gathered so far.
Most of the people usually think that if only they had the right tools they would create something extraordinary. We all know it’s just a perfect excuse that we can use when our work turns out to be below average.
We’ve seen great presentations done in good ol’ Powerpoint and some of the worst presentations prepared in fancy Prezi. We’ve even seen some wonderful presentations done without the slides at all. Presentations are stories and if you can’t tell your story without the slides you’re doomed anyway.
It’s certainly not about the tools. It’s about delivering the right content in the right way that appeals to the audience.
We believe that creating a presentation has a lot to do with User Experience (UX). UX is defined as a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use of a product, system or service.
Giving a presentation is nothing more than delivering a service for the audience. They come to see your presentation because they have their own expectations. No matter if they want to learn something new, get inspired or just listen to something they already know but want to hear it one more time. That’s why it is so important to try getting into their shoes and anticipate their needs before the show begins.
One of our clients had to make a presentation about a new law being recently passed and asked us for help with the slides. We knew that this is a very hot topic at the moment for the audience, lots of questions needed to be answered and most importantly we knew that they are not lawyers.
We love to design slides but in this case we decided to strip out most of the graphic design and fancy decorations, we removed all the transitions and animations and focused on readability. First of all we anticipated the questions from the audience and then build the whole presentations around Q&A model. We turned away from law jargon and move towards answering questions people might actually have. One question per slide with an explanation and added comments from the presenter made a perfect fit and the audience learned the new law slide by slide using very practical approach.
You can’t make everything shiny and sexy and even if you can – it will not guarantee that you catch the attention of your audience. Listen to their needs and your presentation will meet their perception.
In a presentation world a deadline is really a deadline. To put it briefly if I am presenting on Monday, and receive the slides on Tuesday, they are worthless. That’s why we never take a presentation job with a deadline that we even have a slight doubt of not delivering on time. We often encourage our clients to start as early as possible because we know how long it takes to create and think through a great slide deck.
The truth is most of our clients suddenly wake up during the night couple of days or a week before the presentation and realize that they need awesome slides as soon as possible. The stakes are high but if we have the right resources available we take the work and manage to deliver. When working on a tight deadline one thing is absolutely crucial: communicate with your client at all times. The worst case scenario that we often hear about from our clients working with other companies or freelancers is not replying to emails or answering calls with the deadline creeping around the corner. Don’t go through this nightmare, choose the people who you trust.
Everyday people view and create presentations (some people even say we create 30 million presentations a day but this figure is not really confirmed). From individuals through startups to corporations – we all want our slides to enhance our message and help us to engage with the audience. Think about the audience and their experience first and the rest will follow along just fine.
Don’t blame it on Powerpoint.