June 22, 2009 Program Summary
The Art, Science, and Story of
This overview introduced 10 types of design and delivery dilemmas, related mistakes, and a set of corresponding remedies. They can easily apply to any presentations you create with slide software, such as Microsoft® PowerPoint®, Apple® Keynote, or the free Google® Presentations software.
Rather than "how-to" training on any of these tools, this discussion focused on scientifically supported principles that you can use with any tool or situation.
Just about everyone who has spent any time in the corporate, government, or academic worlds has watched someone give a slide presentation that put the entire audience to sleep. Many of us were taught to follow a familiar model of designing presentations that, unfortunately, does not sustain attention or understanding. Throw in a heavy lunch, deliver it in mid-afternoon, and voila! You have the recipe for a coma!
Yet, around the world, the stakes have never been higher for business, technical, scientific, social, philanthropic, and academic endeavors. We're all looking for better ways to inform our audiences and inspire them to act.
That's why it's so essential to learn how to design compelling presentations that can amplify our messages. What we need is a workable and repeatable method for creating presentations that capture attention, impart ideas, and spark the audience responses we seek. A special formula, "Art + Science + Story = Impact!" can help you stand out from the crowd!
Here's what we covered in depth:
Read Adele's tips, below, use the links further down to download the handouts, and see her contact and bio information at bottom.
“Your 'Secret Sauce' for Presentations:
This article, Part 4 in a series, recaps the repeatable formula we have been discussing for creating truly outstanding presentations. (For previous articles in the series, please see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.) This formula comprises a set of powerful artistic and story-telling principles that are scientifically supported.
We can summarize the ideas behind this presentation formula in these simple terms:
Art + Science + Story = Impact!
Each of these four stages is explained in greater detail in the sections that follow.
1. First, start with a needs assessment to determine what and how much to do. Depending on whether the impression you need to make is low-key or high-stakes, you can decide which principles of the formula to apply.
2. Second, if your situation is fairly low-key, or you have relatively little time, plan to use the Artistic and Multimedia Principles at a minimum to maximize your audience's ability to understand and retain your ideas.
3. Third, if your situation is high-stakes, plan to apply the Story Principles as well to help make your presentation exceptionally memorable and actionable.
4. Fourth, plan to use three crucial delivery tips when you go to present your slide show in person.
Before you get started, aim to do some preliminary planning. This important first step can make the difference between a world-class presentation and just another forgettable slide show!
After all, you could eventually expend considerable effort to conceptualize, design, script, illustrate, rehearse, and deliver your slide presentation. So, why not consider which aspects of your situation are most important to you?
Ask yourself at least 5 key questions about your purpose, audience, their actions, the setting, and future uses of your material, as follows:
1) What's the purpose, what's at stake, and how critical is the outcome?
In response to these questions, you can decide how to scale your time and energy investment to suit the needs of your presentation scenario, including how casual or critical it is. (See Part 3 of the series for more details.)
If you have relatively little time, or the stakes are fairly low, and you have no plans to expand or redeploy your presentation in the future, you can still make a pleasing impression and produce it fairly quickly using the Artistic & Multimedia principles. These principles pertain to the use of text, graphics, details, and special effects (see more information in Part 2):
If you have more time, and the stakes are fairly high, or you think you might later develop the presentation into other products or uses, strongly consider applying all of the recommendations. These include the Story Principles, which pertain to your presentation's focus, structure, and scope (explained in more detail in Part 2):
After you've worked so diligently to create an outstanding, well-illustrated story that focuses on your audience's needs, use these three tips to make sure your delivery is just as compelling:
In conclusion, an engaging slide presentation helps broadcast a clear, powerful message; you might have only one opportunity to communicate your ideas effectively. But if you start with a needs assessment to determine what to do, you can then use the Art + Science + Story = Impact formula to make every presentation a smashing success!
Copyright 2009 Adele Sommers
The Art, Science, and Story of PowerPoint Presentation Design
|Date:||Monday evening, June 22, 2009|
Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the 2002-09 president of the San Luis Obispo STC chapter, and has been an independent business and technical communication consultant for twelve years following a career in the aerospace industry.
Adele is president of Business Performance Inc. (LearnShareProsper.com) which specializes in business publications, tools, consulting, workshop facilitation, training, and e-learning. Adele has helped companies of all sizes enhance their results in project and process management, technical communication and information design, instructional design, quality assurance, performance support, and leadership. Contact Adele at Adele@LearnShareProsper.com.