5 Lessons Learned from the 2012 Presentation Summit

5 Lessons Learned from the 2012 Presentation Summit
November 7, 2012

presentation-summit-lessons-learnedI create a LOT of presentations as a Brainshark Instructional Designer, so I was very excited to attend the 10th Annual Presentation Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Although the conference is small with only about 200 attendees, it boasts many of the biggest names in presentation creation and delivery: Rick Altman (who hosts the conference), Carmen Taran, Julie Terberg, Dave Paradi, Simon Morton, Ken Molay – the list goes on.

It was a fun and exciting event (there was even juggling by local comedian and keynote speaker Chris Bliss), and I picked up some great tips for creating better presentations. Since most of you probably didn’t attend the event (and if you did—Hey!  Nice to see you again!), let me pass on some of my key takeaways.

#1. Color adds a focal point to your slides. That said, you have to be careful with your choices, or you will end up with what Julie Terberg describes as “angry fruit salad.”

For example, watch out for hot colors like red and orange because they automatically draw the eye, so don’t use them for items you don’t want the audience to focus on. Also, if the presentation is for a live presenter or if you are using full-color photographs, it’s a good idea to use a dark background to make the presenter or the photographs stand out.

#2. A balanced, consistent slide layout is critical for good presentation design. Use the PowerPoint guides to create a grid system, then place different elements on the grid in various places throughout the presentation. You won’t put objects in the same exact location on every slide, but they will still fit within the grid system.

#3. Choose your elements carefully. When including customer testimonials, try sticking to a maximum of two or three. Otherwise, all that self-promotion can be just plain annoying for your audience. “Yeah, we get it, people love you. MOVE ON!”

Also, don’t include exhaustive bios on team members in your presentations. Include names, titles, and photos only—and save the rest for your website. No one cares what your home office looks like, but if you have specific images of what you do or create, consider hiring a professional photographer to capture them.

#4. Seduction follows a specific, linear process (and it isn’t just for the clubs!). Regardless of whether you are trying to land a date or capture the attention of your audience, the art of seduction outlined in the book The Game by Neil Strauss is simple: attraction, trust, seduction. Any deviation or omission from this model usually results in the same unsuccessful outcome.

When putting together a presentation, you need to create a communication that first attracts your audience. Be sure it is not only well-designed, but includes a great opener that will attract viewers and make it impossible for them to stop listening. Then, build trust before you go in for the kill. Omitting the trust-building step will backfire more often than not.

#5. Orange is not a color everyone can wear. I am fortunate that orange is a great color for me, so I was happy to be able to don an orange SlideShark shirt and represent Brainshark at our conference booth. What happened next was beyond my expectations. People were stopping me left and right to tell me how much they loved SlideShark.

Now, as a presenter myself, I also love SlideShark for many reasons (the most important being the ability to leave my bulky laptop at home, yet still be able to present with a wireless remote—super cool!). If you haven’t tried it out yet, take some time to visit SlideShark.com. The Individual Edition app is free for everyone, and SlideShark Team Edition is free for the first 60 days.

All in all, it was an amazing three days in Scottsdale, and I already can’t wait to attend the 2013 Presentation Summit in Fort Lauderdale. Hope to see you there—I’ll be proudly wearing my orange SlideShark shirt!

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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