Most people preparing for a presentation jump to the visual aid first, get all excited, create their slides and then don’t have anything to talk about. One of the problems of doing the visual aid first is the temptation to write out your entire presentation on your slides. Creating slides full of text is too easy, it’s a security blanket for a presenter who doesn’t know what to say. What good is a presenter if the audience is more focused on your visual aid? Although it is natural to go straight to the computer, break the madness. Pull out the pen and paper and thinking cap. (Technically, you can type your notes on the computer, but you get my gist.)
Once you have thought through your goals, identified your topic and sub-topics, now it is time to think about how your visual aid will convey your spoken message. Remember that you want your visual aid to compliment you, not be the star.
The adage I heard as a child over and over again is “a picture is worth a thousand words”. In this case that adage couldn’t be more important. The average person retains 10% of what they hear, 50% of what they see, and 75% of what they see and hear together. People relate a message better when they see pictures, choose pictures that show or relate to your message.
Keep it simple, only one picture and three to four words per slide. Ensure that your picture is the focus. Bullet points kill, they reveal your script and make you worthless. Why should the audience listen to you talk when they can read it on the screen? Your audience will lose focus when they read faster than you talk because they will have to wait for you to catch up.
Split complicated subjects into smaller pieces by adding extra slides. Group common topics together and finish with one before you begin another. Use your slides as a storyboard. Keep to the order, be it chronological, topical, spatial, or process order, make sure to keep to some logical order.
Trust me, try your next presentation with pictures & headlines instead of bullets. Then let me know how it goes; I think you’ll be happier and have more presence as a presenter.