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How to uplevel your presentations

How to uplevel your presentations

Creating an appealing presentation might be a pickle—but we assure you that it is possible, and not only this, you can build strong and eye-catching presentations with a simple and accessible platform such as Google Slides.

Before jumping into the visual part, let's take a moment to think about the structure of a presentation and the best order to show your content.

Don't get me wrong, design is so important, especially when we think about hierarchy and accessibility, but we have to touchpoint on every aspect that will make your presentation be a hit.

Shall we begin?

First things first: storytelling

The most important (and difficult) part of a presentation is to build the right storytelling. Whatever product or solution you are offering, or whatever subject you need to present, try first to think about it as a story you need to tell to your audience.

To simplify, stories are written, most likely, with three acts: the beginning, which is the introduction to the story; the middle, where the story is developed; and end, that is the closure. This might seem pretty obvious, but here are some tips to each of these steps:

1st Act: Beginning

You want to start with a great opening line, after all, the first minute with your audience is decisive whether they are going to connect with your topics or not. So, think about what could connect you with them first. A punching line, or even a practical joke can break the ice, and make them interested in what you have to say.

Then, you can start talking about your main subject as an introduction. If it is a product or a service, maybe you can start with the problems it solves—don't talk about the solution yet. Explore all the pains and difficulties your audience might be struggling with. You can be empathic and show that some of your clients were dealing with the same issues as well.

If your presentation is about other topics such as an idea or a subject matter, it's nice to bring a contextualization in the first act. Tell them where those ideas come from, or where the story takes place.

Just remember that the first act is all about sparkling the curiosity of your audience. Make them want more. Make sure they are listening and keep moving to the:

2nd Act: Middle

Now, here you can develop your storytelling. Your audience is paying attention and open to hear all about the solutions you have, the product you are selling, the story you are telling: so make it count.

Here you can (and should) bring more details about your story. Dig deeper. If it's about a product, emphasize the pains it solves and how this product can make their lives better. If it's a story, let's hear about the journey of the characters.

The second act, even in movies or novels, is resigned to this: tell the actual story without further ado. It's usually when the action kicks in—the moment everybody is excited to reach when entertained in a theater or in the pages. So, give what your audience wants.

Now it's time to share your findings, what your product can do for your clients, what it solves and how… The gold you've been saving.

3rd Act: Ending

The ending must feel like a closure to the story. But before jumping to conclusions, let's hit the climax of the story first. Also, if you manage to keep your audience thinking about what they just heard—that's really the cherry on top.

"How do I do this?", you might be wondering. It's kinda simple as well. In order to make them intrigued, you can finish with a question. This can be a direct question, or even a rhetorical question. Just something to keep their minds bubbling while cooking all the content you just brought to them.

You can also finish with a nice quote that will keep them thinking about your presentation. The goal is to mark your audience, and in a wonderful way, keep your message in their minds.

Design is thinking made visual

Now, paraphrasing Saul Bass, design is all about translating all this story in a visual way.

A nice slide deck can empower your ideas, and, most importantly, to bring your storytelling into life. And when we think about design here, the goal is not to "make your words prettier".

Design is also about making your presentation tangible, understandable, and memorable. Simple adjustments such as the font, the size of texts and the amount of texts can already make such a difference in your presentation, not only in terms of layout & aesthetics, but also in terms of clearance of the message.

Slides with too much text are not appealing at all. Not memorable. If anything, it is something to make your audience have a nice nap while you are presenting it.

But how much text is too much text? If it doesn't fit in a post-it note, then it's definitely too much text.

The point is that you don't really have to put all the information as a text on the slide. It's not a book, after all. Let's focus on highlights—all the other info is going to be shared by the presenter.

Or maybe we can show them as pictures, illustrations or so. Those are nice ways to reinforce the message to your audience without boring them. This is the goal of design.

One nice way to keep your audience engaged is to use motion on your slides. This way the information is going to be shown slowly and according to the speaker's pitch. Also, those effects can be effective to keep everybody paying attention.

A good oratory is what makes a presentation become a hit

The speaker holds like 80% of the whole presentation's success. If they have a bad oratory, no great layouts can save the show.

This is one of the reasons why huge amounts of texts are no good at all in presentations. They might feel like reading and not telling a story, and forget to interact with the audience. Also, the audience will perceive the speaker as someone who's insecure and that doesn't master the subject matter.

Therefor, is really necessary to study, rehearsal, build a guideline and a script for the presentation, and make sure that the story is on the tip of the tongue.

Another good way to improve your oratory is to present it to a friend or even record yourself (I know it is not very comfortable to do this, but believe me—this is going to help you). Then you can see where you need to improve.

This way you won't rely on the texts in your presentations, but in the storytelling you've built.

To sum up

Build your storytelling carefully, when it comes to the layout, the cleaner the better. Don't just copy and paste all the text of your research or so on the slides. Instead, use the key-phrases, nice images and visual aids to just give a little support the presenter—they are the ones that actually need to stand out in a presentation, by the way they tell the story, build the narrative and catch the attention of the audience.

The design is a tool to make the message understandable, so, use the appropriate size of the fonts with a nice contrast of colors, making sure all can read it even from a far distance.

Stay tuned for more tips on how you can improve your presentations.

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