From the new professional to the seasoned keynote presenter, leveling up your presentation design can transform your and your audience’s lives. Here are just a few reasons to re-think the way you design your presentations:
1. Because your audience matters.
Even if it's a small group of coworkers in your office, the quality and design of your presentations show how much time, enthusiasm and energy you put into developing them. Yes, financial reports can tell compelling stories. Operational audit recaps should be captivating. And project progress updates ought to be fun.
2. Because it will help advance your career.
Presenting well is a skill that not many people have, so it can differentiate you from your colleagues and advance your company's objectives and your career. Recently, I sent a survey about presentation habits and comfort levels to a group of over 60 university professionals. The survey responses clearly showed that, as professionals advanced in their careers, they found themselves presenting more and more often. While professionals at the management level reported presenting less than once a month, 26% of directors and assistant directors reported presenting once a month or more often, and 60% of vice presidents and assistant vice presidents reported presenting once a month to once a week.
A 2017 study of incoming MIT Sloan School of Management MBA students found that 85 percent of the professionals who responded identified presentation production as a "meaningful part of their job responsibilities" and two-thirds of respondents reported presenting on a "daily or weekly basis".
Your comfort with presenting could ultimately be tied to your professional growth.
3. Because creativity is for everyone
Though many of us fundamentally believe that we are not creative (see Sir Ken Burns' TED talk on the topic), the fact is, creativity is part of being human. And you can not only excel at designing beautiful slides, but you might very well find a passion that's been dormant since your childhood. If you're willing to lean into the vulnerability of being a beginning designer, I bet you will see that all you're missing is a batch of relatively easy-to-learn principles on how the brain processes visual communications like presentations. The good news is that you probably already intuitively understand many of these principles.
Presentation design and delivery is a craft, but it's a craft that's open to anyone with a computer. To create a great presentation, you'll just need to need to strengthen a few skills that you may or may not use regularly:
Perhaps the most important part of presentation development happens before you even open your presentation software: we'll study the creative process and how to craft a narrative that your audience can't help but remember. If you're anything like me and want to get started as quickly as possible, you might be tempted to rush through or skip this step. But trust me: if you fight this urge, not only will your final product be better, but the whole design process will be much easier.
Next, we'll review some principles of graphic design that you can use to help make your slides look consistent, clean, and palatable for your audience. Here, we have to confront the self-doubt that comes from the blank slide.
Finally, I'll share some presentation tips with you. If you, like many people, have significant stress about presenting, know that I've worked through crushing presentation anxiety. I've been there and have concrete advice about how to overcome it. Before you know it, I assure you that you'll look forward to presenting.
I know that you have a compelling story to tell; ModernSlide is here to provide you with a toolkit to share your story in the most engaging way possible. Armed with new knowledge about creative thinking, cognitive science and presentation delivery, I hope you will join me in presenting the Modern Slide.