Five Tips for Creating Successful, Compelling, and Jess-Worthy Presentations

July 22, 2015

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Over the years, I’ve been called a lot of things in the office (most of which can’t be said in this blog), however; somehow along the way I’ve become notorious for judging…presentations.

Where did that get me?  Writing a blog about presentation writing.  I’ll keep it short because if you’re anything like me, you have an extremely short attention span.

1) Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em

Don’t keep the audience guessing.  Set the stage for what you want to accomplish, accomplish it and then remind them that you nailed it.

In all seriousness, you need to keep it simple.  Set clear goals for the presentation and problem you’re setting out to solve.  Be concise in solving it and recap it.  It is a lot of information to take in.  Everyone at the end of the day wants cliffs notes.

2) Your PowerPoint should be a complement to your presentation, not a crutch

The slides should highlight what you’re talking about; they should not list every detail you’re going to discuss.  You don’t want your audience trying to read the slides when you’re talking and more importantly you don’t want to be reading the slides to your audience.  It should feel like a conversation.

3) Less is more – especially when it comes to visuals

I know, right after I tell you to not write a lot I tell you to cool it with the visuals.  I’m all for visuals that tell a story, but don’t put a visual in for the sake of a visual or to just fill the slide.  Take a moment to look at your slide…if your eyes are darting from image to image to try to figure out where to look, chances are you have too many visuals.  You don’t want to confuse your audience.

4) If it doesn’t interest you, most likely your audience won’t be interested either

In media, especially, we tend to fall into the trap of research and data.  They’re amazing tools and needed to derive insights, develop strategy and support a point.  However, we’re here to digest all of the research for our clients and give the insights.  Whenever you find yourself going down the hole of putting data point after data point, chart after chart in a presentation, ask yourself “why should I care about this data?” and “what does this mean to my client/objectives?”  If you can’t answer those questions, either rethink the data and how to summarize it or don’t put it.

The same goes for the presenting of the presentation.  It’s ok to get excited or show emotion.  People respond to that…trust me.

5) At the end of the day, it all comes back to flow

Think of every presentation as a story.  What is the main point you want to convey or the main purpose?  Keep that in mind as you review your presentation.  If every slide does not relate back to the pillar of your presentation, then you either need to rework it or remove it.

I’m a big fan of thinking through presentations based on how the conversation will go (if you know me, you know I hate rehearsing…this is different).  If it doesn’t flow naturally, you’ve got some work to do.  Don’t overthink it.  If anything, write out exactly what you want to say or how you would talk to someone about the topic – match your presentation flow to that.  It will make presenting much easier too.

-Jess Carmona, Media Director

Do you have any tips to add? Tweet us @Norbella to share!