Become a Presentation Legend

Despite the fact that so much of our communication is via internet or on-line formats there are still times when we must stand up in front of our audience and deliver.  Many careers have been enhanced by the ability to sell ideas through good presentations.  We have distilled a number of good ideas and design tips here to help you make engaging presentations.


The most powerful way to engage your audience is through either pain, gain or fear.  Decisions depend on these three motivators, design your presentation to include one of these.  We prefer ‘gain’ because it is a positive emotion.  For example, your takeaway may be “improve collections by 20% by doing this one thing:


1. Start by asking:  What do I want my audience to know, feel and do.

We believe that all effective high stakes communication must be objective driven.

An objective has three main elements: information, emotion and action.

Regardless of the form of communication you are contemplating you should start by asking: “At the end of my presentation what do I want my audience to know, feel and do.”

Not only does this objective provide you with direction it also gives you a way to assess your communication success.  It creates a measure against which you can compare the outcome of what you say.

Being clear in your communication objective reduces rambling, increases confidence, and helps you to a structure and an audience-centric, engaging message.


2. Never forget your “why” : It drives your presentation and makes you relatable.

Never forget your “why”.

“Why” shines a spotlight on what SHOULD be on the slide greatly increasing our signal-to-noise ratio.


3. Practice KISS . . .  Keep your presentation content clear and concise.

Keep it Simple, Stupid.

Reign in your inner magpie and get rid of all those frilly bits and shiny objects that do not really contribute to the efficiency of the message delivery.  Be clear and precise without sacrificing style.


4. Avoid cognitive overload: using the “One concept per slide” rule

Never forget that PowerPoint audiences are people too.  All humans learn in a specific way – and over packed slides do not facilitate that learning.


5. Keep a digital inspiration notebook . . . for fresh presentation ideas.

Divide your notebook into sections based on various design elements such as: colours, typography, shapes and so on.  Inspiration can be found anywhere.  Magazines are a good source of design inspiration.

Capture new finds with your phone camera and send directly to your pictures file.


6. Focus on your audience; and align their needs with your objectives.

Focus on your audience and align their needs with your objectives by showing that you understand their situation, demonstrating that your ideas help overcome their challenges, and showing the real benefit to them in changing their behaviours as a result of your presentation.

Audience-focused stories are so much more powerful than traditional ‘me, me, me’ approaches.

And by starting off talking about your audience and continuing to frame everything from their perspective you provide context and relevance which is really engaging and effective.


7. Come up with a strong, sound design first,  then build that design (regardless of the tool.)

“Build” and “design” are two separate tracks: they need to be kept a little more separate at times.

Modlettes provides a simple, six phase design tool that provides great flexibility in the build and design of your communication.

Coming up with a strong, sound eLearning design first, then building that design, testing the design and redesigning the system, based on user data – these are the designs of the future.


8. Distinguish what you say, what you show, and what you give

A good presentation is made up of three things; what you say, what you show, and what you give; what you say to your audience when you are in front of them; what you show them, in terms of slides and visuals; and what you give to them, in the form of a printed handout.

When presenters don’t distinguish these three tasks, they end up creating Death by PowerPoint.  When they make each of these as good as they possibly can, great things can happen and they end up distinguishing themselves from 99% of those people giving presentations today.