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We regularly repeat in our Thursday tips that effective presentation slides must serve the speaker. It is vital that they be stripped down to amplify the key messages intended to be remembered. In summary, it is important:

  • To avoid lengthy texts and to favor a few key words that can be seen without dispersing the audience’s attention
  • To highlight only a few key figures rather than an entire table
  • To use a trend line rather than complete graphs with values, dates and legends…
  • To display full screen images to illustrate a comment or mark a transition
  • To put your notes in the comment boxes to take full advantage of the “presenter mode

Obviously creativity must govern the design of any presentation, but compliance with best practices helps us go faster and avoid making mistakes.

We are often asked: “but what should we do if we have to send our presentation by email after our speech?” It is true that sending well-optimized presentation slides would not hold much interest. Yet, in the interest of distributing your message, it is actually a very good idea to systematically send your presentations to participants, after having defended them orally. Does this mean that we must make two different presentations?

This fear dampens the enthusiasm of many presentation designers. Fearing they will spend twice the time, they prefer to project their (more complete) presentation slides intended “to send”. Even if it means losing the leadership image that an optimized presentation brings to the speaker. However, once you have designed your slides for a speech, you only need to resort to a little trick to have a complete and perfectly independent presentation handout.

If you have followed our recommendations you have your slides, certainly very stripped down, but that include your notes, even in the form of keywords, that contain all of your remarks.  To send a presentation you have given orally, all you need to do is reformat your notes and insert them between the slides that you displayed during your speech. In this “to send” version, it is no longer problematic to have bullet points, written text, tables or complicated graphs. The rules for managing audience attention that prevail in oral presentations are much lighter for a handout intended to be read.

By creating a specific template page, you can even turn your notes into slides that are perfectly suited to be read. Of course, you’ll need to monitor your wording and spelling, but you would have also needed to do that if you had only designed a presentation intended to be sent out. By proceeding in this manner, you further increase the impact of your presentations.  Because, for those who attended your speech, they will find the slides that you presented intact. This will reinforce the coherence between what they will read and what they will remember having heard and will strengthen their memory of your messages.

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