68F55225-20ED-01DC-6C9B-CE10DDE63FAC Create_Great_Presentations -1 0|0|0|0

We have shot a video on how to create great presentations with Goalscape. You can find it here.

All presentations have a main goal: communicating some fundamental concept or proposition. Bad presentations leave you wondering what that goal was.

Goalscape keeps the main idea in focus all the time: at the center of the goal map. It shows directly how all the subgoals align with this central goal and how each contributes to it.

Even when looking at specific aspects in detail, Goalscape maintains the essential context. What's more, it is easy to navigate around the goal map to find specific information during question and answer sessions.

This structure of this presentation template matches that proposed by Nancy Duarte in her book slide:ology. You can buy the book at amazon.com or read it here.

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Find relevant video clips and attach them.

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No great presentation can really live without a single clear central idea, usually expressed in the title and introduction. Use the title as the name of your main goal, with a brief explanation in the Notes.

The separate chapters or sections of your presentation (background; supporting details about specific aspects of it and conclusion or next steps) will be the level 1 subgoals around the main goal. Any subsections will be lower level subgoals.

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Know your audience and speak their language - it's the only way to be sure that they will understand your message.

You might want to create some virtual Audience Personae that represent your audience. Think about these personae when you design your presentation and decide on the content. If there is nothing new in your talk it will be boring; while if there are too many new ideas and no logical path it will be confusing. You must find the essential middle ground between familiarity and novelty.

Preview the venue if possible and liaise with the organizers about any infrastructure provided (microphone, projector, etc). Always arrive early so you are in a relaxed frame of mind and can familiarize yourself with the place. Check all your presentation tools and make sure they work well with any installed media. You may even have the opportunity for a 'dry run'.

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Brainstorm on your own or with others to find good ways to communicate your message.

Knit it together using themes to group your ideas together. Create a logical structure with a clear path from one point to the next, always going from the known to the new.

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No matter how well you know your subject, always write down what you want to say. This is not to produce something to read out loud (unless you have access to a teleprompter!); rather it is so you can refine your words and create some memorable expressions.

Begin with a clear statement of what the presentation is about and what you hope to achieve by it. Introduce each chapter by showing how it contributes to your main message. Always finish with a summary that points back to the idea you started with. Pay attention to rhetoric: similes and metaphors can be very powerful; and the 'rule of three' is the best way to make concepts stick in the minds of your audience.

Go from your full text and chapters to individual paragraphs that cover a single idea, then try to come up with one or two key words that capture that idea. Highlight these words in your notes - or even use them as the names of bottom level subgoals. During your talk you can even write them on a whiteboard or flipchart for emphasis.

These key words will remind you of whole paragraphs, so you will only need the section headings and keywords for a smooth flow.

To be authentic, learn your presentation by heart. Then when you deliver it you can talk naturally. A little spontenaity does not hurt, but stick to your outline so the story - and your message - is not lost.

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Be critical to achieve a high standard - but don't doubt yourself. Your audience may be critical; but they will also be forgiving - most people hate public speaking so they will respect you for doing it.

Ask yourself some tough questions to identify any gaps and possible audience objections so you can address them. It will only make your story better.

If you have something interesting to say and a clear way to express it, they will listen.

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Sight is the most dominant and captivating sense - and people today are increasingly visually oriented. So it is important to illustrate your story with good images, graphs and diagrams.

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To tell a visual story you need to think visually. Design comes later and is less important. The visual aspect of your story is a prime factor in communicating your ideas well. It's also good to use humor to spice up a factual presentation.

Sketch a rough storyboard to visualize word maps and related concepts; turn words into pictures and develop good graphics to clarify hierarchies.

The more data you have, the better your design needs to be.

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When you design your slides think about the following:

Arrange Type - make the text look beautiful as well as legible. Try to reduce it to the bare minimum: just the key messages.

Determine Colors - try to stick to a color theme - it can be plain or bright, but you need consistency in your style

Establish Background - the background or framing also gives your slides a sense of unity.

Assemble Graphics - try to find images that match your theme. There are lots of online resources for good images.

Assemble Template - make some basic templates so you can reuse your themes for future presentations. This can be a real time saver.

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Too much motion in a presentation can be very distracting and annoying. Used well though, it can underline your story.

These are the key considerations:

  • Purpose
  • Speed
  • Direction
  • Design Fluidity
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    Just as you did with your message and text, question your visual story to enhance and fine tune it. Show it to someone you trust and ask for honest feedback.

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    How you deliver your story is almost as important as your message. Some might argue it is more important. But you don't have to be a great orator: a powerful message can be conveyed with a very modest delivery. Delivery is important, but do not pressure yourself too much over this.

    Remember: your story is a good one and deserves to deserves to be told well. So deliver it clearly, with a personal touch. Never wave your arms around or fiddle with your props or hardware; and do not move around too fast - physically or in your use of images.

    Look your audience in the eye, invite their participation and always check as you go along that they understand what you are saying. Leave time for questions at the end and try to involve everyone in any discussions.

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    You have emotions just like everyone in your audience. That's the strongest link between you and your them. So do not suppress it by ignoring the emotional component.

    Wherever possible tell stories from your personal experience to illustrate specific points. Ask the audience if they have had similar experiences. That will get their heads nodding: they will be more engaged in what you are saying and more empathetic with you.

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    Make best use of the media you use. You might use a projector to show web pages or slides; a flip chart; or (for very small groups) just a piece of paper.

    Whatever you use, you must be able to use it properly and unobtrusively or it will distract you (and the audience) from your story. So choose a good tool and practice, practice, practice until you can use it without thinking about it.

    You need to focus on being compelling in what you say and how you say it, not on playing with the technology.

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    Handouts are useful reminders of your message and how you supported it. Too often they are just a set of presentation slides, when they should be different. If the slides can tell the story on their own, why were you there at all?

    Make your presentation slides as visual as possible and put the key points and supporting facts in a separate notes area. The print copy should have smaller copies of the images on the same page as bullet points of the notes that refer to it.

    If you have referred to other people's work, always include an appendix with a bibliography or link list.

    It is best to hand these out at the end of the session rather than at the beginning so the audience's attention doesn't stray during the your presentation.

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    Rehearse your presentation as much as possible. Do not expect perfection on the first attempt: only practice makes perfect.

    Something that looks good on paper might prove to be a tongue-twister when you try to say it out loud. Always go through the whole presentation at least once to rehearse how you use your visual aids and gauge the total time it takes. Record yourself on audio or even video - then be critical when you play it back. This is also the best way to to learn your material by heart

    When you present to a real audience, always ask for their feedback. Prepare some questionnaires and hand them out at the start. Mention them at the end and remember to collect them when you distribute your handouts. Read all the comments carefully afterwards: take special note of any negative points and find ways to address them in your next presentation.

    It's the best way to go from good to great.

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