The visual support of a presentation – the well-known slides – is an important tool to get people’s attention and explain complex concepts graphically.
To help you achieve a state-of-the-art layout, just like the SOAP’s ones, we have gathered tips from the biggest experts we know: our art directors! They are responsible for developing our clients’ visual identities and coordinating their presentations. Now, they have agreed on sharing their knowledge.
Check out seven valuable steps to frame more interesting and appealing slides, and hence a more convincing presentation.
Write a good script
If you thought you would come here just for visual tips, you were wrong. A truly impressive layout must be related to a good script.
The script and the layout work together, and they must be in tune. A well-built script allows us to perceive the main subjects to be discussed and where our focus should be on. With that in hand, it is easier to create slides to elucidate and add to the speech – rather than repeating the speaker. Besides, a precise script trims excesses, especially regarding the number of texts.
Decide on a visual identity
Creating a visual identity is elemental, whether it is intended as a product, an event or a brand. Just as we have explained here, colors, typeface, shapes, and symbols you choose are means to make your audience recognize your business, as well as granting a sense of wholeness to your presentation.
In addition, a visual identity conveys the values and essence of your project. Good news is: you only need to work on it once. Then you just apply the same pattern to further presentations – considering you are dealing with similar purpose, context, and audience.
For an example: if an IT professional gives a talk, about strategy, during a sales convention, the visual identity must be more distinctive, and make use of metaphors and animation effects to draw attention and connect the audience. However, if the same presentation is addressed to the Board of Directors, the visual must be different.
Divide the content into categories
It never gets old: in a good presentation, there is neither too much text nor illustrations on the same slide. Besides mangling the presentation, the overflow of information has a contrary effect: it compromises rather than helping comprehension.
So, opt for dividing the most complex projections into two or three slides, thereby offering a more clarifying material that will not confuse listeners. It would be dreadful if someone could not follow your line of thought because is trying to read the small letters or the 15 bullet points you have chosen.
One tip: divide the information of your presentation by messages, and use tools, such as ‘Click’, which inserts image or text on the slide, it makes the presentation more dynamic and visually enjoyable.
Contrast (of colors, sizes, and shapes) is an excellent tool to make a presentation more interesting and draw audience’s attention. The technique can be applied in different ways. So, be bold! You might create different sizes and typefaces for your texts, use contrasting colors to display information, and even vary the dimensions of your pictures. Such strategies increase the chances of your audience looking precisely at the information you want.
Choose illustrations carefully
Deciding on certain images and tone colors makes all the difference for your visual presentation. It is worth applying the psychology of colors: each tonality triggers a different feeling in people. Calmness, mental strain, and even hunger can be set off by specific colors, hence the reason to find images with tone colors suitable for the subject matter being discussed.
We must also always make sure to choose illustrations that make sense in the context of the keynote. Avoid old or low-quality images and try to follow a pattern. Do not put together in the same presentation pictures, drawings or other types of illustrations.
The way you arrange objects on the slide imparts organization and clarity (or else!). Therefore, for the layout of your presentation, make good use of tools, such as contrast, pay attention to the text alignment and page margin. Organize your information in a way that is both delightful and meaningful.
You may find different examples of layout in newspapers and magazines. So, if you are out of ideas on how to design your presentation, just grab the first publication near you.
Search for references
A good technique to help you take in so many tips is to search for examples to study. On our website download page, you find the e-books developed by the same team that has shared these tips.
However, if you still need some help, we are here for you.
When you go to a restaurant, even before placing your order, you judge the quality of the place by its decoration and cleanliness. Savoring a good dish and getting an efficient waiter service will obviously be the main reasons to decide whether you liked the place, however, a cozy environment also influences your final impression. The same thing happens in presentations where a well-trained speaker and a good message are the core of the talk, but when added to well-framed slides and a professional layout, they provide a lot more reliability.
A sales team, for an example, may lose a client with an amateur layout. When a salesperson presents to a prospect a product/service portfolio, or even a specific solution, he/she wants to make an impact. The goal is to convince the other person to close the deal. Ugly, disorganized slides, with low-quality pictures and a typeface difficult to read make a terrible first impression. By the end of the meeting, you may even convince your prospect due to the quality of the speech, but, sometimes, the first impression is what matters.
A speech will make a smaller or bigger impact depending on the presentation design. A thoughtful presentation aligned with the visual identity of the company reveals there were preparation and investment for the meeting.
Cheapest is dearest. Bellow, we list some common problems with amateur layouts that might harm presentation outcomes and, therefore, lead your company to opportunity losses:
Too much information results in confusion
One slide, 15 different bullet points and a speaker who just reads the information from the screen. The consequence is an unclear central message – whether it is because the speaker could not attach great importance to the content, or the audience, disoriented, did not know where to focus their attention on. It is impossible to generate engagement like this. The information on the screen should just add to what the speaker is saying, rather than be his/her exact words. Professionals who develop accomplished presentations can help presenters to choose between what goes on the slides and what must be spoken.
People do not understand (or cannot see) the numbers on the screen
A common mistake in presentations that use numbers, like result meetings, is to simply copy data from Excel and paste it into PowerPoint. Usually, charts and tables have lots of numbers and use small letters. The audience is forced to make an unnecessary effort to read what is on the screen, therefore overlooking what the speaker has to say. Even worse, they are utterly confused and their ability to decide is harmed. Those trained to design professional presentations are also able to choose numbers, tell the story behind them and highlight them in a way that the audience understands.
Too much time wasted assembling presentations
Usually, people in charge of assembling corporate presentations are not experts in design. Consequently, they will have to put a lot of time and effort to produce a visually acceptable material. However, it would be more efficient to have those professionals focusing their energy on their area of expertise, therefore producing results for the company, and outsource the presentation-making process. Wasting working hours of trained professionals in a struggle against the PowerPoint is a questionable use of their time, which could be used for so many other relevant tasks regarding the company.
If your company needs to plan and develop presentations with a professional layout, you can rely on SOAP to help you!
Elon Musk is one of the most talked about entrepreneurs of the moment. He is the CEO of SpaceX, which built Falcon Heavy, a high capacity rocket launched into space in February 2018 carrying an unlikely passenger: a Tesla Motors car, company that he also runs. Musk’s trademark is innovation, hence the reason why many experts of the industry believe he might be the next Steve Jobs of the entrepreneurial world.
Behind his fame, of course, there are hard work and a unique way of leadership. One of Tesla’s goals, for instance, is to become the world’s safest car factory. Between 2014 and 2015, however, reports showed that the number of accidents involving employees was high. It was of central importance for Musk to make an announcement in such a decisive moment. At the time, one of his emails concerning the statistics leaked out. His message still reverberates as a lesson on how to manage a crisis.
EMPATHY IS THE KEY
‘No words can express how much I care about your safety and well-being. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful. Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet with every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform. This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we manage from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.’
The email’s great achievement is empathy. Musk expresses himself respectfully and analyzes the matter from someone else’s perspective, not only from his own’s. He puts himself in the position of those who suffered the accident, and, at the same time, he communicates with other employees who are afraid of being in one. Here at SOAP we believe this is the great lesson Musk teaches us regarding that situation.
We have decided to make a deep analysis of his email, so you too may be more empathetic in strategic and decisive situations such as that one:
– The first part sounds like “we are all human beings, and we respect each other”. He is a leader driven by emotions, and not only by the reasoning of a company owner, who positions himself above others.
– After expressing his feelings, he takes action. He makes decisions, begins to take preventive measures, and not just corrective ones. Musk literally gets down to work, he wants to understand the process to prevent new problems from happening again.
– Lastly, he makes it clear he is facing the problem and truly wants to know every detail of the situation. He emphasizes it is indeed part of the company’s culture: not to lead from a distance, sitting on a chair, watching from above.
– By using the pronoun “we” at the end of the email, Musk arouses emotional connection. He proves no to be either above or below anyone, but on the same level.
When the CEO’s words reached employees’ inbox, they triggered a positive feeling. First, they meant he was making a stand. It is not rare to see leaders who exempt themselves from problems they are facing. Lack of communication. They seem to believe people will stop talking about it if they just quieten declarations. What really happens, nevertheless, is that the lack of accurate information only increases gossips and the feeling of insecurity. Moreover, it encourages lack of accountability. People feel neither accountable for nor committed to anything. After all, it is all kept in a safe box by the one person who can solve everything alone.
Musk’s attitude has no degree of paternalism either. It is very common, during a crisis, for some leaders to say everything is fine in the intention of calming everyone down; they just say it is going to be fine and there is no need for panic, but they explain nothing and take no action.
Companies that open their numbers, information and strategies are transparent. In addition, Musk revealed his human side as a leader, which inspired trustworthiness and admiration. You encourage people, instead of demotivating or frightening them. What remains is the feeling everyone may and should act the same way. During a period of crisis, a leader must, above all, evoke the team’s desire to overcome a bad situation.
It is most likely that Musk’s choices are on the right track, since Tesla’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR) at the Fremont California factory improved 25% in 2017 in comparison with 2016, as shown on this blog posted by the company – https://www.tesla.com/blog/becoming-safest-car-factory-world .
Well done, Musk!
While making a presentation, communicating with each and every one like if you were talking to them individually allows you to create a unique bond with the audience. This is the kind of result that those able to control empathy achieve.
But what does empathy mean? Empathy is when you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, trying to understand their opinions and emotions. It’s not about feeling the same way or agreeing with the other person but respecting and understanding their ideas, feelings and speech.
Empathy can be described by the idea of rapport, a concept of psychology that represents harmonic bonds among people. This synergy enables interaction and exchange of information. It leads to respectful and healthy relationships.
Empathy during presentations
While preparing a presentation and during the process of creating the script, you must think about content but also about the way your audience wants to receive the information. Knowing the audience is the best way to develop a bond between the presenter and the public.
Try to find out what your audience already knows about the subject, what they don’t, what messages are they supposed to register and to what cultural environment they belong. Is it a formal or informal audience? Would they appreciate numbers or stories? These are some ways to get closer to your audience and create an empathetic bond.
If you feel you are not being empathetic, don’t worry, we’ve good news for you. This is a skill that can be developed.
- The first advice is to call people by their names
Human beings seek individual connection. When answering a question to the audience ask their names and call them by their first name. When it comes to interaction with the audience, ask rhetorical questions which do not really need to be answered. In doing so, you make the audience think and feel like you are establishing a direct connection.
- Always smile
Scientific studies verified that we have a group of cells called mirror neurons and that by simply observing other people’s action, activates the same areas in the observer’s brain. So, if you express joy it will help your listeners to feel the same way you do.
- Match the rhythm
Pay close attention to your listeners: do they speak fast? Do they speak slowly or move a lot? Try to interact with the listeners the way they interact with you. By doing so the audience will understand better the message you want to deliver. Vary your tone of voice and the rhythm to reach a larger number of people while speaking.
- Don’t be judgmental
An attitude that destroys empathy is judgment.
“That guy is so boring! When will he stop asking questions?”. In order to not be judgmental, you must break through your “reality dome” built by your experiences, jump into the other person’s realm and understand the world through their eyes taking their perspective, emotions and behavior. People see the world based on who they are. When using only personal references and beliefs, you build a wall to empathy. Remember: respect and understanding. “Yes, he really asks too many questions but that is probably because he wants to understand and know better the subject”.
A communicator can’t judge the audience. Instead, he should understand their needs.
With these advices you can start establishing empathy in your presentations and ace on your next one.
You know exactly what you are going to talk about, you speak well in public but you’re not the best in putting the slides together? Well, we have the solution for you to turn good presentations into great presentations.
Here are a few free templates that you can download from our website. They will help you present unforgettable presentations!
Template for Proposal Approval
Having your new ideas and projects approved is not always an easy task, no matter how good they might seem to you and your colleagues. To increase your chances of success, download this free template created for proposal meetings. It will help you organize your ideas and present them in a good-looking way.
Template for Presenting Results and New Goals
Results were achieved and there’s a new set of goals to be completed. How to present all the data? In order to show your company’s performance and keep everyone engaged in new goals, you need a presentation with good strategy, creative script, and striking images. We’re here to help you! Present the previous, the current and the future year’s scenario and goals, benefits of having achieved them. Display new goals and strategies for the next year in a persuasive, beautiful and in a well-organized way with our template Download it here for a great presentation.
“The World Cup PPT Template”
Everybody will eventually have to present a new project. However, nobody needs to realize that you lack practice and that you are still an amateur. Use our “The World Cup PPT” template and your presentations will be way more professional. We designed this template based on the most important stages that support any new project: current scenario, opportunity, project, action plan, benefits, improvements, budget and next steps. Use this template to come as an amateur and leave as a professional.
Your Training PPT
If you are in the training sector of your company or work with in-company learning, use our “Your Training PPT” template. Talk about the history of a company or a school or even teach in a more creative way. Introduce your ideals using striking images. Have flexible slides, easily adaptable to specific needs of your audience. Be creative and professional at the same time with this template.
Getting a YES Template
Do you need a “yes” for your project, an idea or a product? Great, then the hardest part is already done and you can now count on us for a “Getting a YES” template. This template will help you get the audience’s attention. Each image is strategic, designed to match every step of your argument. The slides are divided into five important steps of the process of selling an idea: your idea, why to invest, how to invest, ROI and where to invest. Download this template and get your YES.
SOAP’s Tasting Template
The end of the year tends to be a critical moment for every company. Projects for next year are presented and being approved or not, you will need a presentation for that. In this template you will find slides that will help you sell your product or service; a visual identity focused on solving your audience’s problem; images that will help you get your message across in an open format that can be easily changed and adapted. Try now!
Click here to read the Original post by TEDBlog
When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes. Photo: James Duncan Davidson
Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.
We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation sing.
Aaron used this image of a New Zealand disaster to kick off a slide deck from TED’s tech team — all about how they prepares for worst-case scenarios. He asked for permission to use the image, and credited the photographer, Blair Harkness. View the whole slidedeck from this presentation.
The big picture:
1. Think about your slides last.
Building your slides should be the tail end of developing your presentation. Think about your main message, structure its supporting points, practice it and time it—and then start thinking about your slides. The presentation needs to stand on its own; the slides are just something you layer over it to enhance the listener experience. Too often, I see slide decks that feel more like presenter notes, but I think it’s far more effective when the slides are for the audience to give them a visual experience that adds to the words.
2. Create a consistent look and feel.
In a good slide deck, each slide feels like part of the same story. That means using the same or related typography, colors and imagery across all your slides. Using pre-built master slides can be a good way to do that, but it can feel restrictive and lead to me-too decks. I like to create a few slides to hold sample graphic elements and type, then copy what I need from those slides as I go.
3. Think about topic transitions.
It can be easy to go too far in the direction of consistency, though. You don’t want each slide to look exactly the same. I like to create one style for the slides that are the meat of what I’m saying, and then another style for the transitions between topics. For example, if my general slides have a dark background with light text, I’ll try transition slides that have a light background with dark text. That way they feel like part of the same family, but the presentation has texture—and the audience gets a visual cue that we’re moving onto a new topic.
4. With text, less is almost always more.
One thing to avoid—slides with a lot of text, especially if it’s a repeat of what you’re saying out loud. It’s like if you give a paper handout in a meeting—everyone’s head goes down and they read, rather than staying heads-up and listening. If there are a lot of words on your slide, you’re asking your audience to split their attention between what they’re reading and what they’re hearing. That’s really hard for a brain to do, and it compromises the effectiveness of both your slide text and your spoken words. If you can’t avoid having text-y slides, try to progressively reveal text (like unveiling bullet points one by one) as you need it.
5. Use photos that enhance meaning.
I love using simple, punchy photos in presentations, because they help what you’re saying resonate in your audience’s mind without pulling their attention from your spoken words. Look for photos that (1) speak strongly to the concept you’re talking about and (2) aren’t compositionally complex. Your photo could be a metaphor or something more literal, but it should be clear why the audience is looking at it, and why it’s paired with what you’re saying. For example, I recently used the image above—a photo of a container ship about to tip over (it eventually sank)—to lead off a co-worker’s deck about failure preparation. And below is another example of a photo I used in a deck to talk about the launch of the new TED.com. The point I was making was that a launch isn’t the end of a project—it’s the beginning of something new. We’ll learn, adapt, change and grow.
Here, a lovely image from a slidedeck Aaron created about the redesign of TED.com. View the whole deck from this presentation.
And now some tactical tips…
1. Go easy on the effects and transitions.
Keynote and Powerpoint come with a lot of effects and transitions. In my opinion, most of these don’t do much to enhance the audience experience. At worst, they subtly suggest that the content of your slides is so uninteresting that a page flip or droplet transition will snap the audience out of their lethargy. If you must use them, use the most subtle ones, and keep it consistent.
2. Use masking to direct attention in images.
If you want to point something out in a photo, you could use a big arrow. Or you could do what I call a dupe-and-mask. I do this a lot when showing new page designs, particularly when I don’t want the audience to see the whole design until I’m finished talking about individual components of it. Here’s the original image.
Here’s the process for masking it. (1) Set the image transparency to something less than 100. (2) Duplicate that image so there is one directly over the top of the other. (3) Set the dup’d image transparency back to 100. and (4) Follow the technique here to mask the dup’d image. You’ll end up with something that looks like this.
You can use this technique to call out anything you want in a screenshot. A single word, a photo, a section of content—whatever you want your audience to focus on.
3. Try panning large images.
Often, I want to show screen shot of an entire web page in my presentations. There’s a great Chrome extension to capture these—but these images are oftentimes much longer than the canvas size of the presentation. Rather than scaling the image to an illegible size, or cropping it, you can pan it vertically as you talk about it. In Keynote, this is done with a Move effect, which you can apply from an object’s action panel.
4. For video, don’t use autoplay.
It’s super easy to insert video in Keynote and Powerpoint—you just drag a Quicktime file onto the slide. And when you advance the deck to the slide with the video that autoplays, sometimes it can take a moment for the machine to actually start playing it. So often I’ve seen presenters click again in an attempt to start the video during this delay, causing the deck to go to the next slide. Instead, set the video to click to play. That way you have more predictable control over the video start time, and even select a poster frame to show before starting.
5. Reproduce simple charts and graphs.
Dropping an image of a chart into a presentation is fine, but it almost always disrupts the feel of a deck in unsightly fashion. If the graph data is simple enough (and you have some extra time) there’s a way to make it much more easy on the eyes. You could redraw it in the native presentation application. That sounds like needless work, and it might be for your purposes, but it can really make your presentation feel consistent and thought-through, of one flavor from soup to nuts. You’ll have control over colors, typography, and more. Here are some examples.
Lastly, I’d love to leave you with a couple book recommendations. The first is Resonate, by Nancy Duarte.
It’s not so much about slides, but about public speaking in general – which is the foundation for any presentation, regardless of how great your slides are. In it, she breaks down the anatomy of what makes a great presentation, how to establish a central message and structure your talk, and more.
(One of her case studies comes from Benjamin Zander’s charming TED Talk about classical music, a talk that captivated the audience from start to finish.)
Think of this as prerequisite reading for my second recommendation, also by Duarte:Slide:ology. This is more focused on presentation visuals and slides.
It’s true that a presentation doesn’t necessarily need to involve visuals, but we’ve found that good visual support always uplifts a presentation.
This doesn’t happen by chance. In meeting rooms and auditoriums, people visually track the presenters while listening to their stories. So this characterizes any lecture as an audiovisual event, even if the message is supported only by the behavior of the speaker. So if the audience has eyes and ears available, it simply makes no sense to ignore the visual when it can be such an impactful communication channel.
Allied to the spoken part of a presentation, visual information improves the quality of the transmitted messages, thereby increasing communication effectiveness and the success of the presenter. There are several reasons for this:
Because visual stimuli wake up the eyes and thinking and allow for the rapid transmission of concepts, visual information acts as a teaching shortcut, synthesizing ideas and accelerating the understanding of the audience. When there’s a lot of information to convey in a short time, using visual information is an excellent path to short explanations and descriptions.
Since the human eye is attracted to movement, changes and unfolding scenarios, animated images draw the viewers’ attention, triggering continuous receptivity to what’s being transmitted. If we view each slide as a new beginning, a new chance to impress and win an audience’s attention, then we have dozens of chances to recapture that audience throughout a presentation. On the one hand we have presentations that rely on good slide visuals, and on the other we have those based exclusively in speech. Drawing a parallel with the movies, the latter are the equivalent of “films” made only with narration … Would that make sense?
When representing a verbal concept by an image, the presenter is leading the audience to think visually, and this process can transform complexity into simplicity. Also, visuals themselves are a means of sending information to an audience. Some of us retain better what we hear. But far more of us retain better what we see. So by combining speech and pictures, a presenter can reach both camps.
Retention of Messages
Visual language is a way of encouraging the retention of concepts. Imagine a representative of an organic food company giving a talk to nutritionists. She can say, “Recent studies show that the high concentration of dyes in foods causes serious damage to the body, especially the skin.” But if the speaker wants to be more impactful, an image of a can of paint with a warning label – “contraindicated for meals” – can be shown. The striking image both embodies the concept and increases the chances that the audience will remember the concept later.
Just as words do, images can lead people to identify with what they see. And having an audience feel somehow related to the images being shown is the best way for that audience to “buy” the complete package, including the concepts imparted in it.
People are used to processing visual and verbal information at the same time, and quickly. The visual, in particular, is absorbed immediately, as various images appear. Interestingly, this dynamism brings comfort to the mind, as opposed to the unrest generated by the monotony of a blank screen.
Strengthening the Narrative
A sequence of images helps to shape a story, embodying a presenter’s speech. And when a story is being told, the pictures themselves can become visual narratives. In an analogy with comic books, the drawings are the slides and the speech balloons are the remarks of the presenter.
So next time you start working on a new presentation, think carefully about the visuals that can help you to best tell your story. Good visuals will always uplift a presentation!
What your first slide needs to DO
A presentation needs to convey much more than may be obvious. Just by the way it looks, for example, your audience will be drawing conclusions about you and your business even before you start to describe what you have to offer.
And it all starts with the slide being displayed as people are coming into the meeting room. Do they see a desktop full of shortcuts that says nothing about you?
Or a PowerPoint interface to the slides of your presentation that says nothing about you?
Do they see open files displaying proposals or cost calculations that say nothing about the total you?
What your first slide needs to BE
Before you design a PowerPoint presentation, it’s crucial to develop a first slide that will generate interest and excitement in everything you’re about to say. A visual that features key aspects of your brand along with the key concept of your presentation. A visual that makes people curious, maybe even intrigued. After all, this is a fantastic opportunity to promote your company, so why waste it again advertising Microsoft PowerPoint’s main interface?
As people come in the room and see that first slide, they need to want to be interested in your company.
It’s that first slide that can provide the spark that will make your audience want to know you better and hear what you have to say.