Slide:ology Summary

“Communication is about getting others to adopt your point of view, to help them understand why you’re excited (or sad, or optimistic, or whatever else you are). If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report.”

: Seth Godin

The audience will either read your slides or listen to you. They will not do both. So, ask yourself this: is it more important that they listen, or more effective if they read?

True presentations focus on the presenter and the visionary ideas and concepts they want to communicate.

Create ideas, not slides.

10/20/30 Rule: You should deliver you 10 slides in 20 minutes, no fonts smaller than 30 points.


Five Theses of Presentation:

1. Treat Your Audience as King

They didn’t come to your presentation to see you. They came to find out what you can do for them. Success means giving them a reason for taking their time, providing content that resonates, and ensuring it’s clear what they are to do.

2. Spread Ideas and Move People

Creating great ideas is what we were born to do; getting people to feel like they have a stake in what we believe is the hard part. Communicate your ideas with strong visual grammar to engage all their senses and they will adopt the ideas as their own.

3. Help Them See What You’re Saying

Epiphanies and profoundly moving experiences come from moments of clarity. Think like a designer and guide your audience through ideas in a way that helps, not hinders, their comprehension. Appeal not only to their verbal senses, but to their visual senses as well.

4. Practice Design, No Decoration

Orchestrating the aesthetic experience through well-know but oft-neglected design practices often transforms audiences into evangelists. Don’t just make pretty talking points. Instead, display information in a way that makes complex information clear.

5. Cultivate Healthy Relationships

A meaningful relationship between you, your slides, and your audience will connect people with content. Display information in the best way possible for comprehension rather than focusing on what you need as a visual crutch. Content carries connect with people.


Sensitive Presentation Ecosystem:


Time Estimate for Developing a Presentation

6 – 20 hours

Research and collect input from the web, colleagues, and the industry.

1 hour

Build an audience-needs map.

2 hours

Generate ideas via sticky notes.

1 hour

Organize the ideas.

1 hour

Have colleagues critique or collaborate around the impact the ideas will have on audience.

2 hours

Sketch a structure and/or a storyboard.

20 – 60 hours

Build the slides in a presentation application.

3 hours

Rehearse, rehearse , rehearse (in the shower, on the treadmill, or during the commute)

36 – 90 hours total


7 Questions to Knowing Audience

1. What are the like?

Demographics and psychographics are a great start, but connecting with your audience means understanding them on a personal level. Take a walk in their shoes and describe what their life looks like.

2. Why are they here?

What do they think they’re going to get out of this presentation? Why did they come to hear you? Are they willing participants or mandatory attendees? This is also a bit of a situation analysis.

3. What keeps them up at night?

Everyone has a fear, a pain point, a thorn in the side. Let your audience know you empathize – and offer a solution.

4. How can you solve their problem?

What’s in it for the audience? how are you going to make their lives better?

5. What do you want them to do?

Answer the question “so what?” Make sure there’s clear action for your audience to take.

6. How might they resist?

What will keep them from adopting your message and carrying out your call to action?

7. How can you best reach them?

People vary in how they prefer to receive information. This can include everything from the setup of the room to the availability of materials after the presentation. Give the audience what they want, how they want it.


Design Effective Slides

Arrangement: contrast, hierarchy, unity, space, proximity, flow

Visual Elements: background, colour, text, images, audios, videos

Movement: timing, pace, distance, direction, eye flow


Tell a wonderful story.

Be simple.

Reduce text as much as possible.

Images must be clear and resonated.

Build own diagrams.

Use body languages.

Control presentation flow.

Be consistent.

Prepare for Q&A.




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