Presentations are one of the most used resources in the world of education. In the classroom, we use to expose content to our students, to other colleagues, in meetings, training sessions, presentations, and congresses, or even in oppositions and specific tests. Students also use them to deliver some type of work or project in particular.
To make attractive and thus get the attention of the audience, I present a series of basic tips and tricks related to the essential content that they contain.
Sort the content
A presentation is a story, and as such, it needs to have an introduction, a plot, and an ending. Before getting down to work, it is very convenient to make a structured script with all the parts.
A good start and finish
As the presentation begins. The title will be visible on the screen, so this slide should appear for a long time. It should be very careful because it will be the audience’s first contact with our work.
The title, in which the purpose is summarize, should hook, attract attention and create interest in your audience from the first minute.
Less is more; ‘the rule of four.’
“The good thing if brief twice good.”. In our presentation, we should always keep in mind the idea of simplifying the information and lightening the slides of any unnecessary elements.
To do this, always keep in mind the ‘rule of four’; never include more than four concepts or images on the same slide, as this is the maximum information that can be store in working memory.
Related to the previous point is ‘Ockham’s razor,’ a principle of the economy that, transferred to our field. States that the simplest exposition will always be the correct one.
Following this principle – we will ask ourselves what we can eliminate and simplify in each slide. Avoiding superfluous and unnecessary elements.
A presentation in three points
Regardless of how long or complex it is. You should be able to boil it down to three key points or ‘highlights.’
Your audience probably won’t remember much of it after a few days, but you should make sure those three key points are burn into their memories.
A good idea to achieve this is to add them at the end and in a summarize way, being a good time to take photos of the slide that can be shared on social networks.
One theme per slide
Mixing multiple topics on the same slide dilutes the message. Confuses your audience, and makes it difficult for you (as a speaker) to make a coherent presentation.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to set one theme per slide. In this way, the information is divide into pieces that are easier to assume, understand, follow and remember.
Better with multimedia content
Do you remember that “a picture is worth a thousand words”? The content will be reinforce and enhance with the inclusion of videos, images, icons, gifs, etc.
You can take inspiration from image and video stock websites. Like Pixabay, Unsplash, or Behance, use the features for adding images and videos online from tools. Like Sway, PowerPoint,or Genially and create presentation videos with tools like Canva, Animoto or FlexClip.
Illustrate, do not transcribe
This work complements what you are going to present in person, and it is visual support. Therefore, you should not include all the text that you are going to say on the slides. Your audience will not be able to read and pay attention to you at the same time.
A simple headline, an image, and a concept will suffice. In this way, you will also avoid focusing on reading. What is on the slide since, if you do, you will show a lack of confidence when transmitting.
If, in the end, you are going to send the result and you want it to be self-explanatory. Use other alternatives such as accompanying it with a script, using the notes or comments that some tools include, or recording the audio itself.
Do not abuse the ‘bullets.’
One of the most used elements in the slides is the ‘bullets’ or vignettes. It is totally inadvisable to abuse them since they generally bore the audience, the information display is difficult to remember, the text ends up being abuse, and the speaker ends up reading instead of explaining. If you have no choice but to use them, do not include more than 3 or 4.
Signal Noise Ratio
Signal Noise Ratio (SNR) is a telecommunications principle that can apply to presentations, especially when including the information that appears on the screen.
In practice, we must not let superfluous elements gain ground on the signal. In design, we will choose to eliminate noise and maximize signal under the rule of “if you can do it with less, why use more.”
Some of the superfluous elements that we commonly see can be; graphics with excess information and too much color. Selection of inappropriate graphics, logos, and texts not related to the message, excessive bullets, unrelated images, etc.
Don’t forget about social media.
Suppose the work is screene at a conference or congress. In that case, it is advisable to include the reference to the different social networks to share your work with others. Facilitate a debate about it among professionals in the sector.
Including quotes from famous people relate to the topic to be discussed will make your exhibition gain credibility. It’s a good way to start or end.
However, you must find a balance and not abuse them because otherwise. It will seem like a job based on other people’s opinions.
With interaction, much better
For a work of these characteristics to reach your audience, in addition to incorporating the key ideas and evidence of the content to be discuss, you must include moments in which you can interact with the attendees in an open way.
Add questions, polls, and games. This way, you will be able to establish a climate of positive connection that enhances the transmission of content.
A very interesting and totally recommended option is to include a timeline or visual tracking line in all the slides. This provides information to the audience about the remainder of the next section or the end.
The ’10/20/30′ rule and the ‘PechaKucha.’
Guy Kawasaki (marketing and advertising expert) recommends following the ’10/20/30′ rule, which consists of:
- No more than 10 slides
- Do not exceed 20 minutes
- Do not contain fonts less than 30 points
On the other hand, surely you have heard of, and even developed exhibitions with the PechaKucha 20×20 format. Created in Tokyo in 2003 and whose name derives from Japanese and means ‘whisper or conversation’ consists of:
20 slides, 20 seconds for each slide
This format promotes the visualization of multiple presentations in a dynamic way. Maintaining a high level of attention, interest, and motivation on the part of the audience.
Of course, these rules are general. And in the field of education, you must adapt them to the real-time you have available. But without a doubt, it can be a good starting point as a format to have in all events.