Slide makeover – Remarkablogger case study

remarkablogger
remarkablogger (Photo credit: johnscotthaydon)

Michael Martine from Remarkablogger runs a business aimed at helping people create and improve their business blogs. I like his attitude and his work. I was looking at his site recently and I noticed that he had created a presentation called ‘how to turn your about page into a secret freelance sales weapon’. You can take a look at it here. As you will see, it’s not a bad presentation, but it’s a fairly uninspiring, so I thought it would make a good case study.

Here are a few things to think about:

Your presentations are an important part of your overall brand.

 It struck me that the presentation wasn’t really branded in any clear way. I would develop slides (or preferably a template) with a colour palette that matched or complemented the colours on my website. The standard issue PowerPoint template that’s been used is uninspiring and clearly indicates that it was a rush job.

Use your slides to promote and advertise your business.

They are as important as your e-books, your newsletter or any other assets and should be given the same amount of time and effort. They’ll often have a long shelf life so it’s worth making them look as good as you can.

Use illustrations whenever and wherever you can.

In the slide below, Michael talks about the importance of your ‘about’ page, and should be illustrating his points using his own site as an example.

Slide1

Reduce the amount of text on your slides.

In the makeover below, I’ve tried to pick out the key points and reduce some of the clutter. I should mention that there is an audio track with the presentation, so the text on the slides only needs to contain the key points. Reducing the amount of text on the slides will reduce cognitive load and make it easier for your audience to absorb the information.

Slide2

You’ll also notice that I’ve emphasised ‘about’ by changing the font and the font colour. It’s important to let your audience know straight away what the slide is about.

Here’s another version with the bullet points separated from the image. This may appeal to you more as its a little cleaner.

Slide3


Provide examples from other sources.

Michael could have used his own page (which is kind of a mixed bag as it contains a fairly lengthy manifesto), or he could have used some of the really great examples on the web. Here’s just one…

Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 10.19.39 PM

In summary, you should endeavour to:

1. Brand your slides so that they are part of your overall package.

2. Use your presentations as a way to promote your business.

3. Use illustrations and examples as much as possible.

4. Reduce the amount of clutter and minimise the text.

Any other ideas? Comments and feedback welcome.

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4 ways to improve your presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft PowerPoint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s imagine for a moment that you have been asked to develop a presentation for your manager about a new HR policy. You begin by opening up the corporate template and start typing using the default settings in PowerPoint with its obligatory bullet points. Blah…blah…blah….

Before long you have lots and lots of slides loaded with text and you’re bored with the whole process.

It’s more than likely that your boss has provided with little or no guidance about what the point of the presentation is, or why it needs to be developed, or even who it’s for.

You want to create something professional. You’d like it to be a bit different, but not zany because you don’t want people to think you are weird and it won’t do your career any good to be thought of as too ‘out there’.

So where do you start with creating a presentation that is effective and gets the message across? Here’s where I can help.

1. FIRST THINGS FIRST

If possible sit your manager down and ask him or her the following questions:

  • Why do we have a new policy? Does it solve a problem or clarify a situation?
  • Who is the presentation for? If she says everyone, you might need to make two versions. One for staff, one for managers.
  • How are people likely to respond to the new policy? Will they see it as an improvement to their working conditions or a hindrance (you really need to know what the target audience is feeling about the issue that the new policy is attempting to address).

2. TELL THEM WHY IT MATTERS

Start your presentation with the reason why there is a new policy. For example a policy on working from home has been created because the organisation recognises that work doesn’t just happen at work, and that workers have complicated lives. Always start from how the policy will affect the people in the room and what problem it is trying to solve.

3. KEEP YOUR MESSAGES SHORT

Put your key points on the slides. One point per slide please! Make every effort to avoid corporate speak. Be straightforward and direct. So for example, instead of saying that the organisation has to rationalise their resources because of competing priorities, just say ‘we have limited funds and we need to use them wisely’. People really appreciate clear messages that get your point across.

4. TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO

Be very specific about this. Tell them exactly what you what them to do, don’t make them guess. Using our working from home example, ask them to read the new policy and speak to their manager if they are interested in working from home.

And that’s it. You will have created a presentation that is clear and helpful. It will tell people why they need to know and what they need to do. You’ll be a star!