For more than 20 years, Duarte has developed visual stories for the world's leading corporate brands, thought leadership forums, and an Academy Award-winning documentary.
Now they are bringing you five rules for creating great presentations.
Presentations are a powerful communication medium. For more than 20 years, Duarte has developed presentations to launch products, align employees, increase company value, and propel global causes. Along the way we discovered five simple rules for creating world changing presentations.
The first rules is—treat your audience as king. You audience deserves to be treated like royalty. Design a presentation that meets their needs, and not just yours. Audiences wanna know what you can do for them, why they should adopt your view, and what are the steps they need to follow to take action. Give them those things in a clear, easily understandable way, and you will undoubtedly find favor with the king.
The second rule is—spread ideas and move people. Your audience didn't show up to read your 60-page on-screen dissertation. They're there to see you, to be inspired by your message and witness the quality of your thought. You're not giving your presentation to have another meeting. You're there to convey meaning. So consider including imagery that powerfully illustrates your point. Sometimes moving images can inspire in a way that static slides cannot. A sequential build adds a sense of suspense. And a thought provoking video moves your audience in a way that can not only change minds, but hearts.
The next rule is—help them see what you are saying. Half of the people in your audience are verbal thinkers, and the other half are visual. Combining minimal text with meaningful visuals means that you will reach everyone. Brainstorm graphics that will effectively communicate your message, and then replace those words with a picture, a chart, or a diagram. Then apply a consistent treatment to your graphics to give your whole presentation a unified look, so that your audiences are attracted to, rather than distracted from your message.
Rule number four—practice design, not decoration. As tempting as it is to fill your slides with stuff, often de-decorating is the best policy. Any writer or designer will tell you that 90% of the creative process is destructive. Do you have one main point? Consider just putting just one word on the slide by itself. You want them to remember a few items? Then don't show everything at once. Instead, show one item at a time. Do you have a picture that accurately expresses your idea? Scale that picture so that it fills the slide. Do you know a quote that says it all? Then let it say it and remove everything else.
The last rule is—cultivate healthy relationships with your slides and your audience. Letting go is hard. We know, but don't hide behind your slides. Breaking your dependence on your slides can do a world of good for your relationship with the audience. Reduce the amount of text to just a few words, and put the rest of the information in the notes, and then practice, practice, practice. Thinking of your slides as digital scenery allows you to connect eye-to-eye with your audience in a meaningful way.
So, those are the rules, but the question remains: Why go to all these trouble? Why not do it the way you're used to? The answer is simple: Because everyone else does it that way too, and you need to stand apart and be different. When you apply these rules, and keep the audiences' needs top of mind, your presentation will not only hold their attention, but also change the world.
Well, at least your part of the world.