Let’s face it, most presentations are painful, for all parties involved. For the presenter, who’s spent days planning. To the audience, who are wondering what they could have done with the time they are going to spend in yet… another… presentation.
Back in 2005, after spending hours of his working life in business pitches, Apple employee turned start-up investor, Guy Kawasaki, suggested one of the most obvious ways we should all be designing our presentations.
Yet years later, the 10/20/30 concept, designed to encourage sharp and to the point communications still eludes so many. Why? We’ve been given too many options.
Powerpoint is still king, but now we have Keynote, Prezi, Slidebean and more… All these programmes are great, with great functions, features, payment plans and access rights that will instantly suit the individual, team or business they will service.
But what needs to be done, is to chill, take a minute, breathe and ask yourself – do I really need this grainy piece of clipart to fade in ‘chequerboard style’, pulsate while I talk about it and burst out of my slide in a ball of flames?!
Your recipe for 10/20/30 success
Take some time to refresh yourself on the 10/20/30 rule:
10: Use only 10 slides in your presentation
20: Your presentation should be no more than 20 minutes long
30: Use a sans serif font, i.e. Arial, Helvetica – No smaller than 30pt
Top 10 tips for presentations:
- Keep your information to one concept, idea or statement per slide.
- Number your slides or content to make your audience aware of the time – i.e. ten top tips, ten ways to win new business or just numbers in the corner of the slide deck
- Keep your text short. The audience can read faster than you can talk. Large amounts of text will mean they are concentrating on reading rather than engaging with you
- Allow time for questions or discussion; it’s a conversation, not a lecture
- Smile and relax. Your voice has more natural intonation when you smile, you’ll be relaxed and so will your audience, this presentation will be easy breezy
- Let’s face it, some of your audience will never be interested. Keep the presentation light and make more information available (also known as ‘leave-behinds’ or takeaways’) for those who are, such as a report, brochure, notes or referral to an article or video
- Keep your design plain. Plain background colours, simple bullet points and consistent imagery and graphic style will make your presentation easier to digest
- Animate yourself, not the slides. Use your body language to emphasise your points. Animations such as a fade can be used to bring in your bullet points, which also helps your audience digest information, maintain concentration and stop them from reading ahead
- Limit the transitions and effects – they can be used to bring information in piece-by-piece. Overly complicated transitions mean you could end up just tripping yourself up in your delivery
- If presenting is not your thing, utilise other content. Infographics and video will get your point across and keep your audience engaged, and it’ll give you a rest too!
Your presentation is just the start. At the heart of your presentation should be the core message you want to get across to your audience, the thing you want to leave behind and what you want to be remembered for when you’ve finished slide 10 – keeping it simple will really help with this. It’s better to be remembered for that than being recalled in a meeting as the girl/guy who overused the animations in that really long and boring presentation!