LinkedIn, SlideShare’s parent company, recently asked me to share on their blog the key fundamentals to a powerful presentation. Many of you may know these tips already, but it’s always good to review the basics now and then, and ensure you’re still on track. Here are my tips for creating the ultimate deck — please add your advice in the comments below. You can read the full LinkedIn blog post here.
Let’s be honest, presentation decks can get a bad rap for being boring, long-winded and just plain painful to look at — but it doesn’t have to be that way. Presentation slides can actually be fun and engaging, and be the key to delivering a powerful message that captivates your audience. If done right, they even open the door for new opportunities.
At SlideShare we see presentations that inspire us, teach us new lessons and have the power to attract hundreds of thousands of views. Presentations that take on a life of their own share a few simple commonalities that any presenter can leverage. Here are a few tips for building a killer presentation:
- Create an attention grabbing cover page: A strong, engaging presentation begins with an attention-grabbing cover page. It sets the tone for your speech, and when shared or uploaded online afterwards, is what draws in your offline audience. A succinct headline that is both intriguing and direct, and a bold visual that tees up the topic of the deck, are critical for capturing attention from the start.
- Use bold and creative visuals: Presentations are a visual medium for delivering a message. So why do so many of us forget the visuals? If you want to draw in an audience and hold the attention of your peers, you have to balance text with thoughtful images that support a clear message. Plus, did you know images are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text? So ditch the bullet points and clip art and get creative with photos, graphs and art to help break the monotony and engage your audience in a more imaginative way.
- Tell a story: Just as you would expect from a summer blockbuster or bestselling book, a memorable presentation is one that has a well-defined narrative and key takeaways. Lead with a strong cover page that teases the audience, and follow it with engaging and relevant information that supports your overall message. Ideally, your presentation should be able to speak for itself, even if you aren’t there walking someone through it personally.
- Include a call to action: A compelling presentation that doesn’t leave its audience with either a call to action or a thought-provoking take-away, is a missed opportunity. You’ve taken the time to rope your audience in and keep them engaged, now be sure and give them something that will leave them thinking about it long after the last slide has been viewed. Direct them to more information, or have them perform certain tasks. You might even compel them to share your content with others!
For more information on how to help your presentations go viral and expand your professional brand, check out these resources: