There is a legitimate war raging with simplicity and clarity in one corner and complexity and ambiguity in the other. The war can be easily won. Simplicity can triumph with a single strategy. At every opportunity, make the idea visual, an image instead of a slew of text.
I sat in the queue waiting my turn to present our latest strategy around a new simple model of PURPOSE. I watched each presenter in the virtual meeting. Slide after slide full of text and endless bullet points and small graphs that weren’t even mentioned or glossed over with a tepid explanation. Each would have been more clearly served as a hand out in support of the core idea. The font was minute; in fact, each slide was actually unnecessary as the presenter simply read the text. The visuals were not only poor, they were meaningless.
It’s not the first time any of us have seen this type of presentation and in the world of virtual connections, it’s become almost epidemic.
The purpose of a presentation is to “sell an idea.” The presentation is a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It has a core message (though I was struggling to find it as they took their turns). It takes skill to create and deliver a story, especially one in which the participants are scattered in the wind of geography.
Every presentation MATTERS. Every one. You can’t cheat. You can’t gloss over. You can’t wing it. If it made it on an agenda, it deserves to exist.
Here are a couple of thoughts to move you from apocalyptic boredom towards a presentation of impact:
- SEPARATION: You can use two tools. A handout within which the details of the idea are delivered and the presentation in which the idea is shared. Don’t ever use a handout as a presentation or presentation slide. They are separate elements with separate functions.
- THINK IMAGE: Replace words with images. Our brain is programmed to attach memory and meaning to images. This takes a level of crafting skills. You have to understand the role the image plays in the idea journey. It’s a great skill set to learn and will make you a star in your presentations.
- REHEARSE, DON’T PRACTICE: No professional wings it. They prepare. From athletes to musicians they train, repeat, formulate until it becomes second nature. What’s the difference? You rehearse – OUT LOUD. You walk through the presentation like you are giving it. Share it with your significant other. Make corrections.
PLEASE, I am begging you; don’t condemn your participants to a journey of yawns and inattentive participation. It can be as simple as allowing me to “see it.”