“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. – John Lydgate
I tend to agree with John on this one – and given that I do agree it begs the question – is there really such thing as the perfect presentation?
Roger Brooks a well respected author has penned a great article that presents 7 rules of a ‘perfect presentation’ which may go some way towards helping. I have listed them below…
1. Be enthusiastic and authentic
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” This is my life’s motto. If you are enthusiastic and have passion about your subject it rubs off on your audience and gets them pumped. It’s true: enthusiasm is contagious. And people know if it’s authentic enthusiasm. That’s a must. If it’s not authentic, pick a different subject.
2. The non-PowerPoint PowerPoint
You NEVER want the audience to notice you’re using PowerPoint, or in my case, Apple Keynote. I make sure my Keynote files only include photographs or video clips that illustrate the stories I tell. You never want anyone saying “he had a great PowerPoint presentation.” Instead, you want them to say, “He told some great stories and the pictures were amazing.” Here are five quick rules to a good PowerPoint presentation:
- Use a plain black background, no fancy transitions, and avoid fancy templates. You don’t want to make it obvious you’re using PowerPoint.
- Never have more than 10 words on the screen at a time. Period. No one, and I mean no one, wants to see a screen full of text. And don’t just stand there and read it! Never have more than two lines of text on the screen at a time. If that!
- No fonts should be less than 48 points. Use 72 point or larger when possible. The simpler the better. The fewer words, the better. Watch an Apple keynote address. They are masters of effective presentations.
- Everything on the screen should simply be there to reinforce your story: high-resolution photography and/or video clips. You want the attention to be on YOU, not the screen.
- Never go through more than four slides in a minute (one every 15 seconds) and only include a single photo or graphic image on a slide. If you have four images, put them on four slides. Don’t cram your slides full of “stuff.” KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid. Think of every slide as if it were a billboard.
3. Tell stories
People love stories, especially those that illustrate key points. I tell a story of St. Maries, Idaho (pronounced Saint Mary’s) and Corvettes. People come up to me ten years later and tell me they still remember the story and add that the message really resonated with them – and still does! Do you remember what the keynote speaker had to say at the last conference you attended? By the way, your stories should be your stories. Nobody can tell your stories like you can and it’s the only way to be authentic (see #1).
4. Evoke emotion
Your stories, photographs, and/or video clips should make the audience laugh, stand up and cheer, or cry – and cry because they are touched, not because they are suffering through your presentation. Always evoke emotion. No matter what your subject is, you need think and act like a motivational speaker – the highest-paid group of all professional speakers out there. Even those who you wouldn’t think of as motivational speakers are very good motivators: Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Steve Young to name just a few. Motivation and emotion are two peas in a pod.
5. Don’t memorize it
There is nothing more boring than a rehearsed, memorized “speech.” Don’t read your presentation and don’t memorize it. It needs to come from the heart, not a written page. Know your stories so well that you can just rattle them off as if you’re talking to friends or family. This adds spontaneity and fun to your presentation and makes it far more engaging.
6. Timing is everything
If you ever watch comedians you’ll notice when and how they place their pauses to let jokes sink in and to give the audience time to respond. You know the punch line instantly, but your audience is hearing or seeing it for the first time. Give them a few seconds to catch the nuances of a photo, or to let the words sink in. Their reaction will always be delayed. Timing is something that comes with practice. I’m still working on that!
7. Be yourself
Be yourself. People especially love self-deprecating humor. If you goof up, make fun of yourself. Be real. If you’re nervous, say so. They will root for you to succeed! No one likes a phony or an egomaniac. People can read you in seconds through your mannerisms, your voice inflection, your eyes and the way you dress. Drop all the pretenses. They’ll love you for who you really are. Above all – show them that you care; that you really have passion and want to change their lives for the better.
If you want to read the full article from Roger here it is.
Be cognizant of the following fact when you are deciding on your next slide content…
Your brain processes images 60,000x faster than text!
Source: Tom More TNW News Article