9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 7 – Give Cues

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.023NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

Cues are like visual and verbal sign posts. They help your audience navigate your presentation and figure out what to expect next.

You can give visual cues in your slidedeck. Notice, for example, how each major point in this presentation begins with a slide that shows a number. That’s a cue.

You can give verbal cues as well. “First…” “Next…” “By contrast…” Those are cues.

Use cues like these to refocus your audience’s attention.

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 6 – Tell a Story

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In their book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath explain that stories inspire us to act. We love hearing about a team that overcomes impossible odds to win (the 1980 USA hockey team) or someone who crosses boundaries to make a better world (Rosa Parks) or people who solve a problem in an innovative way (NASA engineers on the Apollo 13 mission).

Why? They motivate us. In the stories of others, we visualize ourselves overcoming the odds, making a better world, and solving the problem.

Stories are also emotional, and we remember what we feel.

Stories engage us in ways that facts and figures don’t. Don’t just give a talk; invite your audience into a story.

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 5 – Use Pictures

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.017NOTE: This is the fifth in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

Since you’re using less text, you can now use more pictures. In fact, you could get rid of almost all your text and use pictures alone.

Research shows that adding an image to your message helps people remember 65% of what you said. If they only hear it, they’ll remember just 10%.

Choose images that express ideas and complement your talk. The image on the previous page, for example, could be used to convey the idea of choices.

And for maximum impact, use high-quality images that fill the slide (A “full bleed” images).

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 4 – Minimize Text

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We don’t mean make your text smaller.

Your presentation is not a report. It’s a presentation. Your slides are there to support (not replace) you and your message.

Limit your text to just a few words per slide. Or maybe two or one.

Or none. See point #5.

Conserve electrons and reduce the amount of text on your slides.

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 3 – One Idea Per Slide

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.011NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

Just as your presentation should emphasize one big idea, make each slide about one thing.

If you have five lines of text on your slide now, break it up into one line on five separate slides.

And get rid of the bullet points, fancy builds, text animation, and slide transition effects.

Too much clutter distracts people. They pay attention to the stuff on your slide instead of you. The purpose of your slide is not to show how clever you are. It’s to help you make your points (see point #1).

Instead, put more time into planning your message. Thee return is much higher than you’ll get on that silly swoosh effect.