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A Confused Mind Always Says No: How to Create a Presentation That Sticks

A Confused Mind Always Says No: How to Create a Presentation That Sticks
Margy Schaller

If you want your presentations to stick, you must keep your message simple. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your presentation makes a huge impact on your audience.


Think about pieces of art, design, music, or speeches that became iconic vs. those that fade into the landscape.  Why did Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nike have so much more success than others?  The answer lies in one of the most difficult objectives when communicating: Simplicity.  In today’s world of 24-hour information overload, we need to deliver absolute clarity in our messages and in our visual communication.



As a presentation designer, I recommend starting your presentation by collecting a mountain of research and stories. Write out notecards with one idea on each card and spread them out on a table.  Sort them until you can see the main message.  You may be surprised that it isn’t what you started with!


Condense your take-away message into a bumper sticker

– As a speaker, it is imperative that you have a laser focus on the single gift you are sharing with your audience.  As you review your notecards, ask yourself: does everything contribute to this message, or can I cut out ancillary points and save them for another day?

– It takes courage to remove material from a lecture, we think the more we deliver, the happier the audience will be.  However, if your audience can’t repeat your main message as they walk out the door, you’ve wasted the opportunity.


Simple imagery is “sticky”

– Once the information is ready to go into slides, put your notes in the NOTES section, and look for images to put on the slides. Why? Our brains think in images, not text.  For instance, when you think of a dog, do you think of the image of a dog, or the letters “d-o-g”?  Furthermore, if you are speaking and your audience is reading, what do you think is happening in their brains?  Because most of us are visual learners, the reading part of the brain is winning and you have just made yourself irrelevant.  If you can use a simple image for each slide that has some meaning or relevance to what you are saying, you will keep the audience’s attention while delivering information into their longer term memory.

– If you must use some text, pare it down to as few words as possible and use relational spacing or a clean slide for each message.  This will allow your audience to grasp the point and focus on you.



Simplicity achieves change

– A confused mind always says no.  The more work you make someone do, the less likely they are willing to do it.  As a healthcare speaker, you have the privilege of sharing information with your peers that will improve patient care.   It takes thoughtful work to find the balance between too much information that will become “noise” and too little information that leaves room for doubt. If you need help, Laser Pointer’s goal is to help create communication, not slides.  We will work with you to simplify your message using simple imagery, clean slides and stories that will help your message stick.



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