Think Like A Designer:
Creating Effective Presentations
Simplicity is a key element in doing an effective and compelling presentation. This does not mean simple. A well-designed slide is one that has clarity—the arrangement is well thought out, words are pared down to their essence, and concepts are prioritized. At the same time, the presenter fills in relevant information—often with a story from his or her own experience.
The content becomes personal and grounded in the speaker’s experience. And, the audience can connect and relate more authentically with the speaker.Keeping it simple also serves another purpose: You increase the odds of your key points being remembered. According to Garr Reynolds, author, Presentation Zen, “There is simply a limit to a person’s ability to process new information efficiently and effectively.”
When you have too much information on a slide, your audience has to cope with what Garr calls “excessive cognitive strain,” and your message, even though it may be a good one, gets lost in the clutter of too much information.
So construct each slide with care to make sure it communicates efficiently and elegantly. Then, remember that the audience is there to hear what you have to say about the topic.
Because, when it comes down to it, the presentation is not about the slides, it’s really about you and the experience you bring. The slides are a partner to your message. The slides can either underline what you have to say or get in the way.
Think of Steve Jobs, a master of presentations who famously valued design—and thought like a designer. Most people remember him, the experience he created, and how he spoke about Apple’s products.
The slides, which were beautifully done, added substance to what he was describing. The slides were his tools, but he was the show.