Jan’s first topic was about designing slides. Here are some of his points:
- Make sure your PowerPoint does not look like PowerPoint.
- An image is an emotion stimulus. It makes people remember.
- When laying out a slide, centered symmetry doesn’t look good; moving content off-center looks more intersting.
- A distracted brain is not paying attention. For example, when you present overdone animation in a boardroom, people will start giggling.
- When creating a data chart, strip off as much as possible. For example, round up numbers. Say ~$1.3m, instead of $1,325,728.67. If you need the details, use a printed handout. Keep the design as calm as possible. Add arrows or other highlights to help the audience know where to focus.
Create a framework, a journey to help people remember. Jan used the term “Frankensteining” to mean putting together presentations from several people. Don’t do it!
He suggested that you record yourself presenting and listen. Then ask yourself, “In what order did I tell my story?” The creative process takes time; don’t wait until the last minute.
Blah, blah, blah
That was Jan’s term for buzz words and verbal clutter. He said that it’s the curse of knowledge–the speaker has a hard time explaining what he/she knows to those who don’t.
He talked about sales pitches. People buy with their gut and rationalize later.
Some things to avoid:
- Stretching the truth (they’ll probably find out)
- “Dissing” the competition (they’ll see through you)
- Talking about yourself (that’s not want they want to hear)
- Making vague estimates (they sound fuzzy–show how you got to the result)
If there are any weaknesses, address them.
Be sure to stick to your time limit. Otherwise, you could get cut off and miss making some key points.