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Expert Presentation Tips from “The Communicator,” Gina London

At Haiku Deck, we’re all about helping you make presentations like an expert and, as part of that mission, we’re always searching for accomplished communicators and presenters from around the world. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Gina London, an Emmy winning former CNN correspondent and anchor who is now an internationally recognized communications strategist and consultant.  Author, speaker and writer of the weekly business column, “The Communicator” in Ireland’s largest circulated newspaper, The Sunday Independent, Gina is a Director with Fuzion Communications and an American who now calls Ireland home. Here’s what she had to say about delivering your message like an expert:

What is something you learned as a CNN correspondent and anchor that helps you with your communication clients?

Above all, I know how to take any topic and break it down into a memorable story and deliver it confidently.

The rigor of CNN’s 24-hour news cycle made me extremely adept at crystalizing. This means more than oversimplifying, it’s the skill to be able to synthesize the main points of something complex.

Too often,  business professionals “over-present.”  Their audience is taken on a meandering brain dump of information overload that leaves them guessing at the presenter’s main point, or perhaps worse, inferring the take-away on their own.

To be an effective communicator in the business world, you must be able to strategize about the main point your particular audience needs to know and then connect on that.   

If you had to name one thing that most communicators could do to improve the way their message lands, what would it be?

Hook any informational point to a human, emotional story.

I learned in CNN anchor training school – yes, there is such a thing – to remember that behind any story – no matter how seemingly dry – there are hopes, dreams or fears.

As a journalist, that didn’t mean to evoke or over dramatize, but to keep the real people in your audience top of mind.

In business, it’s the same.  Until the robots take over, real human people are in the room with you as a presenter.  So, I urge my executive clients to connect any point they want to make to a personal anecdote, illustration or example.

“Stories make messages stick” goes the cliché.  But it’s true.  Science shows that our brain lights up more receptors when we’re told stories that include additional sensory areas like descriptions of weather, feelings, vacations. Things we relate to on a human level.

When you give talks, what topics do you cover? (can you include links to any of your Haiku Decks for us to embed in the blog post?)

From Lagos, to London to Austin to Cairo, in addition to assisting my clients in crafting their own dynamic presentations, I speak at conferences all around the world on a wide-variety of communications and confidence topics.

I’ve presented on helping science and tech professionals connect with broader audiences to improving work-life balance, developing your professional and personal brand and taking control of your body language.  Crisis communications. The power of story-telling. Employee engagement. How not to sound like a robot. If it has to do with communications, I’m there!

I like my slides to be enhance and embroider what I say.  The themes of my images add another layer of interest to my talk.  Here’s my deck that recently backed me up for a lively, interactive presentation before the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. You’ll see, I chose a lot of funny, vintage shots for this one.


Network Dublin Body Language Nov 2016 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

But I don’t always.   My recent work/life balance presentation used shots from Cirque du Soleil as I talked about how we can all learn to “juggle.” Get it? Ha. Never mind. I promise, it was a fun presentation too. Oh, and I actually juggled three oranges at the end of it. Really. And didn’t drop.

As a public speaker, what are three things you do to get ready for a successful presentation?

I use the “AIM” approach and coach my clients to do this too.  AIM stands for Audience, Intent, Message.

First, really analyze who is in your audience. What are their hopes, dreams and fears? How can you best connect with them?  Put them first!  Then narrow your intent to a single action. What do you want your audience to really take away from your presentation? Too often, I find presenters don’t have this clearly defined and they try to do too much.

Finally, after deciding around points one and two, I craft a story to deliver a message that connects, captivates and is clear.

If you’re message isn’t memorable, then what was the point?

What’s your process for pulling a talk and accompanying slides together?

After I complete my AIM analysis, I think about the hook or the one or two stories I will weave throughout the presentation.

For instance, even if you’re going to be presenting a quarterly progress report, think about how much more fun – and therefore memorable – for your audience if you open with a personal or relatable story.

Like, you can’t believe you dinged your car over the weekend and how different the three estimates from three different mechanics were.  Then you segue from that – to the different projections your company heard from various investors – or something like that.

Then at the close of your numbers report, you refer back to you opening anecdote and reveal to your audience how much your car repair is going to cost and which garage you chose. Or that you just bought a new car? Or something.  This is called “the donut” approach to writing, and a simple, but useful device to retain your audience throughout a presentation.

People start to listen more and connect more because they can relate to the personal hook. Plus they’re shocked you’re not just jumping in with the typical “blah blah numbers, numbers.”

How did you first find out about Haiku Deck? 

Great question. I found PowerPoint extremely difficult to use.   There were too many choices and I was going bonkers trying to make my slides look professional.

I’m no graphics designer, but I knew that my arial font on a generic template looked icky.  Everything was looking too ‘PowerPointy.’ Exasperated, I Googled “Alternative Presentation Platforms” and Eureka!

I’ve been Haiku Deck Pro going on three years now and have created nearly a hundred unique decks.  I love it.

What reaction do you get from your audience when you speak at a conference or address a group? Do people notice your slides? 

I am always noticed as one who stands out from the norm.  The upbeat, fresh style of Haiku Deck matches my delivery style.

While I now have a graphics team I can farm things out to, I still make my own presentations because I don’t have to wait for the team to turn something around or try to imagine what look I’m going for. I can do it on my own more speedily – and still look like a graphics team did it!

The professional look combined with ease of use make Haiku Deck a game changer for me – and my clients.

How would you describe Haiku Deck to your clients?

I recommend Haiku Deck to all my clients. I tell them it’s super-easy to use and they will shake up their next employee or investor meeting or whatever  in a way that is extremely positive.  Every client who has tried Haiku Deck has thanked me.

What advice can you offer to Haiku Deck’s community as they think about their next public speaking engagement?

If you have taken the time to create a beautiful slide deck with Haiku Deck, you owe it to your audience to deliver in the same way. Practice out loud. Get off script. Tell stories to personally connect.  Have fun!  And get presentation coaching. Connect with me! Okay, I know. Shameless self promotion.

In short, Haiku Deck helps you “be the movie, not the book” – and that’s what all audiences hope they’ll receive when they sit down for a presentation.

Thanks, Gina, for taking the time to share your wisdom with our community! To learn more about using Haiku Deck to create expert presentations, visit www.haikudeck.com or download our free iOS app from the iTunes app store.

8 Teacher Presentations for Winning Back to School

For many teachers in our neck of the woods it’s already time to start thinking about back to school. So much to do! So much to say! So many presentations to make! As you think about how to introduce yourself, break the ice with your students, jumpstart your curriculum, lay the groundwork for your class, and meet the parents, we’re thinking more than a couple of teacher presentations may be in order. Lucky for you, Haiku Deck is here to help! Not only do we offer qualifying educators and students 50% off via our education discount, but here are 8 teacher presentations for winning at Back to School:

  1. Make a deck to introduce yourself to students, parents, and colleagues. We love this one from teacher Mindi Vandagriff.


Who is Mindi Vandagriff? – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

2. Have your students create a Haiku Deck to share their summer adventures. Here’s an example that educator Shannon Lewis made to inspire her students to make their own.


What I Did This Summer – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

3. Create a Haiku Deck to introduce your curriculum, weekly schedule, or to share announcements. Staci Ballard made this deck to orient her students on the first day of class.


Ballard UNIV prezo – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

4. Collaborate with students on a class constitution or agreement. We were particularly inspired by this one from Susan Hennessey. 

Our Classroom Constitution – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

5. Use the Haiku Deck Curriculum Night Presentation Template to get a head start on a professional-looking presentation to “wow” the parents. To copy/edit/remix this presentation, just click the link above and look for the ‘copy’ button beneath the slides on the playback page. 

Curriculum Night Template – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

6. Incorporate Haiku Deck into student-led conferences. Many teachers have  students create their student-led conference guides using Haiku Deck. We’re not going to share any examples of that here, but the presentation below from Kathryn Hogg aims to inspire and prepare her class in advance of student-led conferences. 

Student Led Conferences – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

7. Create your own educational manifesto. This one from Haiku Deck Guru Simon McKenzie has racked up over 20,000 views since he first shared it online in 2013. 

The New Mind Set – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

8. Inspire your class with a Haiku Deck biography or quote collection like this one from Anna Stirling. You can even download as a .pdf file and print out the presentation to decorate your classroom.

Inspirational Quotes – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

How are you winning at Back to School with Haiku Deck teacher presentations? Drop us a line so we can share yours in the featured gallery! Just send a link to team@haikudeck.com. Hungry for more educator resources? Remember to visit our Education page at www.haikudeck.com/education.

 

4 Presentation Tips for your next Fundraiser

When you think about fundraising, do you find yourself dreading the presentation more than the fundraising itself? Do you find yourself spending more time fixing the font, the text, and the clipart rather than working on the actual content of your slides or practicing your pitch?

With thousands of nonprofits turning to Haiku Deck for help in creating their fundraising presentations, we’ve come up with 4 key principles that can help your fundraising presentation be more effective.

  1. One Idea per Slide

Your audience can not read text-heavy slides and listen to your words at the same time. Presentation and fundraising experts agree that minimizing the information on each slide, helps the audience focus on the narrative.

“Presenters often use [their slides] as a support for themselves. The effect is that they use a lot of text on the slides, which is detrimental to the information-processing by the audience,” says Brigitte Hertz1, author of the research paper ‘PowerPoint Slides as Speaking Notes.’ Text-heavy slides actually make speakers more nervous about their presentations.”

International leadership coach and fundraising trainer Marc A. Pitman says, ‘I’m increasingly becoming a fan of using one image on a slide… The results have been extraordinary. My audiences used to get a glazed-over information overload look; now they’re leaving my talks energized and seem to be getting much more from them.’2

2. Have a conversation

Don’t let your audience be passive for too long during your presentation. Start your pitch with a question that gets them thinking. Ask for a raise of hands often as you walk through the presentation.

Ask the audience questions and get them to make bets about what they think is right before giving them an answer. At the end of the talk, repeat the main points, but encourage the audience to summarize it for themselves. When people explain key points back to themselves, they learn much better than when they just hear it,’ says Art Markman3, Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin.

No matter how short your time on stage is, the best outcome for you is when the audience remember you long after they’ve gone home.

3. Share a story

While it is important to share information about your organization and related data, keep in mind that your donors are going to have a hard time remembering most of it after your presentation is over.

‘As a general rule, people are not very interested in talks about organizations or institutions (unless they’re members of them). Ideas and stories fascinate us; organizations bore us—they’re much harder to relate to,’ says Chris Anderson4, curator of TED. ‘Don’t boast about your company; rather, tell us about the problem you’re solving.’

Listeners will remember and act upon stories that bring emotion and humanity to the organization’s work. 

4. Research your big donors

Think back to the thank you letters that you’ve received, and the ones that you remember. How was it that you remember only a handful of letters? Chances are that those were the ones that reminded you of a personal experience you’ve had.

‘Identify who your audience is and what their connection is, or might be, to your story. That way, you can focus on what words and images will resonate with them, rather than what works for you,’ says Alice Ferris, founder of GoalBusters, a consultancy that helps small to mid-size nonprofit organizations.

Research your donors prior to your fundraiser (without being too creepy) and come up with a hypothesis on why they’re interested in helping your cause. Have they donated to similar causes in the past? Addressing this during your pitch will help you stand out from other similar fundraisers that your donors might attend.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at other nonprofit presentations at www.bit.ly/hdnpo

Did we mention that we offer a 50% nonprofit discount? Send us an e-mail at nonprofit@haikudeck.com to get set up.

References:

1 Here’s Why No One Is Paying Attention to Your PowerPoint Presentation by Martha C. White

2 Fundraising Secret #37: Use Powerpoint effectively by Marc A. Pitman

3 Getting an Audience to Remember Your Presentation by Art Markman

4 How to Give a Killer Presentation by Chris Anderson

10 Tips for Nailing Your Next Conference Presentation

We understand that making a presentation for a big meeting or conference can be more than a little anxiety provoking- that’s often why people turn to Haiku Deck in the first place. Regardless of the software you choose, we’ve combed our creative community to find best practices from conference keynote speakers, meeting organizers, speech writers, and others… All as part of mission to make presentations 10x faster and easier. Hopefully we can make them 10x less nerve wracking too. From figuring out what you’re going to say, to designing your presentation, to delivering your talk, these tips and tricks are just what you need make the most of your next conference presentation.


10 Tips for Nailing Your Conference Presentation – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

  1. Consider your audience first. Too often, speakers start by asking, “What do I want to say?” Instead, experts recommend that you think about what your audience hopes to get from your presentation. Even when you’ve got your own important agenda , putting your audience first it will help you frame the message to better connect and have greater impact.
  2. Create an outline. Organizing your ideas in an outline before you get down to presentation creation is a great way to save time. Not only do outlines force you to get your thoughts organized, but this way you avoid the distraction of formatting and image selection before it’s time. Think about the one important thing that you want your audience to remember at the end of your talk. Try to organize around this theme and build your outline to support your big idea. Of course, once you have your outline, you’re welcome to use Haiku Deck Zuru to convert your outline into a deck. Most of the time, Haiku Deck Zuru will get you 50-80% of the way from outline to presentation in just a few minutes.
  3. Boil it Down… 1 idea at a time: Perhaps the biggest mistake conference speakers make is trying to share too much all at once. Remember: Even the most important and interesting information has to be shared at a pace that the audience can absorb. Think of your slides as billboards on the side of the highway. They should include few words that reinforce the ideas that you’re sharing. If your slides have too many words, your audience will have to choose between either reading what’s on the screen or listening to you. Our brains cannot read detailed information on a slide and listen at the same time, so try not to force your audience to make this choice.
  4. Choose evocative images: The research shows that people remember pictures better than words. When your slides include evocative images that illustrate your idea, it creates a tool that your listeners can fall back on for remembering what you said.  That’s why beautiful imagery is at the center of Haiku Deck presentations and why we recommend choosing a mix of images to stimulate your audience and deliver impact.
  5. Tell a story: More than anything, Listeners remember how you make them feel during a presentation. That’s because humans are hardwired to engage with and remember stories more than other information. Creating an emotional connection between your idea through a well told story is the number one way to make your conference presentation more powerful. If you can illustrate your story with relevant imagery or a physical artifact, all the better.
  6. Engage your audience: One great way to engage an audience or to reengage an audience in the middle of your talk is to ask a question or encourage audience participation. Talking with your audience helps to draw them in and breaks the pace of a talk, even if just asking for a “quick show of hands” can make a difference. Encouraging the audience to ask questions or discuss via social channels like Twitter can also be a good way to extend the reach of your ideas beyond the room where you’re speaking.
  7. Think about transitions between topics: Even the best outlines can have some rough transitions as you move from one part of your talk to the next. The best way to handle these transitions is to practice them in advance. We also recommend thinking the use of stories and audience engagement as tools for moving the audience from one part of your presentation to the next.
  8. Remember the Golden Rule: Do you like listening to someone read off their slides word-for-word? Neither do we.. Same goes for tiny font, mismatched colors, obnoxious animations, and horrible clip art. If you’re using Haiku Deck, we know you’re not doing this, but just in case you’re new here, please do your audience a favor and treat them the way you wish to be treated when you’re the listener.
  9. Craft a strong finish with an inspiring call to action: If your speech ends with, “…and that’s all I’ve got, any questions?” then you’re doing it wrong. In addition to summarizing your big idea as a reminder to listeners, think about ending your talk with a provocative question or call to action. Inspire your audience with a solution that can be achieved with their participation.
  10. Share your deck  through social media: To get the most from your hard work, be sure to share your deck through Twitter, Facebook, email, and any other channel you can. To maximize the reach, remember to include the event hashtag to achieve maximum visibility for your work.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share with your our Killer Speech template, embedded below, which anyone can open, copy, and edit as their own.


Killer Speech Template – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Conference Presentation Tips for attendees, speakers, and organizers

If you’re speaking at conferences or events this season, we know conference presentations are never easy. Your audience will thank you for using Haiku Deck to simplify your message. But even if you’re not the one taking the stage as a keynote speaker, there are tons of ways to make the most of a conference experience using Haiku Deck to learn, spread ideas and build your network.

As we look forward to this month’s I.S.T.E. conference (see you there?), we wanted to share some tips and tricks to help conference presenters and even regular conference attendees make the most of the experience.

Before the Event

Haiku Deck is a great way to drive awareness and excitement for a conference ahead of time. You can easily embed Haiku Decks in your blog or website and share them on social channels. Don’t forget to use the event’s hashtag! Here’s a Haiku Deck we made to build buzz for the ISTE2017 conference:


ISTE 2017 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Tips and best practices:

More “before the event” Haiku Decks:

During the Event

You can also use Haiku Deck as a fun and unique idea-sharing tool, to capture quotable gems and circulate them with your networks.

You can create a Haiku Deck recap of a particular talk, like this one by Haiku Deck Guru Wendy Townley at the ALT Summit:


Alt Summit SLC 2013: Personal Branding – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;
Another approach is to create a “highlights” Haiku Deck, with sound bites from a wide range of speakers. Here’s an example we made while sitting in the audience at the XConomy Mobile Madness Northwest Forum:


XConomy Forum Sound Bites – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Tips and best practices:

  • Consider creating the first few slides of your deck to set context in advance, so you can give the speaker(s) your full attention.
  • If there’s an event hashtag, keep an eye out for photos attendees have taken that you can incorporate into your deck, or sound bites you might have missed. (Bonus: Tweets are usually short enough to fit on a Haik Deck slide.)
  • You can even make a Haiku Deck of sound bites if you’re following along virtually, via Twitter and an event hashtag–I created this one, of the closing keynote at IntegratED PDX, on the train since I couldn’t be in the room during the talk.

More “during the event” Haiku Decks:

Post-Event Haiku Decks

There’s no better way to share what you’ve learned, key observations, trends, or things that inspired you than with a Haiku Deck wrap-up for your colleagues who couldn’t attend. As you review your notes, you can build a deck that captures your experience, like this one by Haiku Deck Guru Simon McKenzie:

How to Enrich Conferences and Events with Haiku Deck

Click to view the full Haiku Deck with notes

Tips and best practices:

More “After the Event” Haiku Decks:

The Main Event

Of course, if you are up on stage, and you are using Haiku Deck for your slides (Hai-5!), don’t forget to share them with the event attendees using the social share and embed buttons–and with us! Send a link to your deck to gallery@haikudeck.com, and we’ll consider them for our Featured or Popular Gallery.

3 Ways to Amplify Your Presentation’s Impact with Photographs

“Pics, or it didn’t happen.”

In our digital world we are increasingly immersed in photos, and we can’t get enough of them. Photo sharing is the most popular activity on Facebook and Google+, and an average of 350 million photos are added to Facebook and 60 million to Instagram each day. Through photographs we communicate our experiences and observations, capture treasured memories, and and evoke powerful emotions.

Of course, photos can mean business, too — many presentations incorporate photographs of some kind, though there’s an art to choosing and using them well.

Method 1: Deepen Meaning

The most satisfying presentations have a powerful central idea, and photographs can be an ideal way to bring that unifying theme to life visually, and vividly.

Thematic Imagery

For example, when we launched our Web App, the central idea was that we were bringing Haiku Deck to the cloud. In our Haiku Deck press release, I used images of clouds and water in various forms throughout to reinforce the message.

Amplifying your presentation with photographs: Cloud imagery Amplifying your presentation with photographs: Cloud imagery

Amplifying your presentation with photographs: Cloud imagery Amplifying your presentation with photographs: Cloud imagery

Contrasting Imagery


THE HAIKU DECK WAY – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
for a talk I gave on innovation, I used pairs of contrasting photos throughout to express visually how we break free from the confines of convention — for example, tiny, closed windows followed by open, colorful windows to illustrate different attitudes toward customer feedback.

Amplify your presentation's impact with photographs: closed, tiny windows to express a closed attitudeAmplify your presentation's impact with photographs: bright, colorful windows express an open attitude

Similarly, to illuminate our unique approach to brand ambassadors, I contrasted a photograph of uniform, monochrome lights with an artful image of one-of-a-kind lanterns.

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Death by PowerPoint, Deconstructed

A Comprehensive Guide to Diagnosing and Fixing the 15 Worst Slide Problems

Last time we checked, there were 13.3 million Google search results for “Death by PowerPoint.

     13.3 MILLION.

And more likely than not you’ve experienced it — that sinking feeling when someone says “Let me just fire up my slides,” you see a hodgepodge of bullets and clip art framed in an overbranded corporate template, and you know instantly you’re not going to get the next hour of your life back.

Death by Powerpoint example

Death by Powerpoint Exhibit A, via Boing Boing

It’s worth noting that we have nothing against PowerPoint itself — in fact, PowerPoint can be used to create some incredibly awesome presentations, if you have strong design skills or you know someone who does.

But let’s face it — as a culture, we’ve developed some pretty bad, and pervasive, habits in the PowerPoint department, and the truly excellent ones feel like the exception rather than the rule.

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Presentation Boot Camp Recap

I just wrapped up a series of three webinars, Presentation Boot Camp for Power Agents, with our friends at TruliaPro. I have attended plenty of webinars and given many talks to audiences of all sizes, but presenting a webinar was an entirely new experience.

What was hardest to get used to was…the silence! I wasn’t nervous about talking to 1,000+ people, but I realized how much I depend on visual and audio cues to develop a connection with my audience, to read how things are going, and adjust. It was as disconcerting as the first time I rehearsed my Ignite talk with the slides timed to auto-advance every 15 seconds. But, just like the Ignite talk or any new presentation experience, practicing was the key. By the third session, the host and I had developed a comfortable back-and-forth dialogue to keep things moving, even though we’ve never actually met in person! (Hai-5, Jovan!)

Session 1: Three Keys to Presentations that Wow


Presentation Rehab & Workshop – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

In the first session, Three Keys to Presentations that Wow, we covered some presentation best practices that are central to Haiku Deck, but that can be applied no matter what presentation tool you’re using: in a nutshell, keep things simple, beautiful, and fun. We also touched on the #1 mistake that most presenters make (and which I’ve certainly made myself in the past), which is treating your slides like content-rich documents instead of visual aids to illustrate and enrich your message. Using the Haiku Deck Notes feature is a great way to avoid this pitfall.

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Notes: An Easy Way To Make Your Haiku Decks More Awesome

Note: This post has been updated to reflect the new publishing flow in Haiku Deck 2.0, which affects how you view your deck online to create Notes. If you haven’t updated your app, please be sure to do that here.

As a Haiku Deck user, you’re already on the leading edge of awesomeness. But we all know there’s always a way to be thatmuchmore awesome, so we want to be sure you know about a quick way to take your Haiku Decks to the next level of awesome: add Notes to the web view of your deck.

If you’ve ever felt like you can’t quite fit what you want to say on a Haiku Deck slide, or if you’d like to try a ridiculously easy way to incorporate best practices into your presentations, trust us–you will love this.

3 Reasons to Add Notes to Your Haiku Deck

1. Add Helpful Detail: Haiku Deck focuses your message by limiting the text on each slide, but if more detail or supplemental resources would add value, Notes gives you a place to do it. Here’s an example of a great Haiku Deck made exponentially more awesome with Notes (props to Bill Risser of Phoenix):

Facebook Friend Lists: Sample Haiku Deck with Notes

Click to view the full Haiku Deck with Notes (and pick up some great Facebook tips, too)

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Presentation Inspiration: Guest Q&A with Nolan Haims

Over the past few weeks we’ve enjoyed collaborating with Nolan Haims, VP and Presentation Director at Edelman and author of the excellent blog Present Your Story, a fantastic resource for presentation inspiration and best practices. Nolan has been keeping us on our toes to make sure we’re not unleashing the wrong kind of zen presentation style into the world. We are grateful.

Q&A with Nolan Haims

Haiku Deck: What’s your presentation design philosophy in a nutshell? (Or, for super bonus extra credit, in a haiku?)

Nolan:

Design content

Not just frames 

Around that content

[Haiku Deck note: This is technically more of a lune. But if we’ve learned anything from Nolan, it’s that there’s always a way to further simplify. Why have 17 syllables when 12 will suffice?]

Back to Nolan: The majority of presentation design continues to be focused on templates and unintegrated elements like clipart and random rectangles of imagery thrown on slides. Presentation design is too often thought of as template design, but a heavily designed template is just a frame around your actual message. I would love to see more people spend their energies and talents laying out and designing content, focusing on information design and a visual communication of the actual messages on a slide by slide basis.

Haiku Deck: What most makes you cringe in a poorly designed presentation?

Nolan: Too much content in on-screen presentations. Simply stated: the more that is on your slide, the less your audience will absorb—or even read in the first place. Studies have shown that students learn more when presented with less. It should be the same for presenters’ audiences. This means ruthless editing and often separate, more detailed print documents. Both of these things take time, which is why I think most people simply avoid them.

But, know when your presentation is actually a print document. There’s nothing wrong with creating a detailed textual document using PowerPoint—just know the difference between that and an on-screen presentation.

Haiku Deck: It’s not every presentation expert that recommends making your presentation like a Twinkie. Could you elaborate on that a bit?

Nolan: Oh, the Twinkie bit! When I train and coach, I tell people that they should have only two goals when creating presentations: 1) clarity and 2) stickiness. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you or your message is, if an audience doesn’t clearly understand your message and then remember it, your efforts are all for naught.

Much of presentation design is rightfully focused on the clarity part, but when it comes to stickiness, the most effective way to get your audience to remember your messages is to wrap them in stories. Charts, graphs, text, and pictures don’t last. Stories can live forever.

So, think of an idea as a Twinkie’s filling: on its own, it might be delicious, but it’s hard to digest, and it won’t last. But wrap that idea in a delicious cake wrapper—a story—and it will last forever. Just like a Twinkie…


Make Your Presentation Like a Twinkie – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

A fantastic book on the stickiness of stories is Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick.

Haiku Deck: What’s the best presentation you’ve ever seen, and what did you love about it?

Nolan: I love Don Draper’s Kodak Carousel pitch from Season 1 of Mad Men. He makes use of many techniques that business presenters are hesitant to employ, but would be smart to incorporate:

  • Brevity: The pitch lasts just a few minutes.
  • Emotion: A good presentation should be a healthy mix of the analytical and emotional. While Don’s almost 100% emotional presentation style is probably too much for most non-fictional presenters, I think most presentations would be aided by more emotion.
  • The Personal: Every picture is a personal one of Don’s family—no stock handshakes, no guys climbing mountains; as with the emotional, most presentations would benefit from more personal touches.
  • Stories: Don tells a personal, visual story of his own life; it not only leaves his audience literally speechless, but will no doubt be remembered for years—only a story can do that.
  • Limited Text: “Kodak Introduces Carousel” is the only text on screen…

Haiku Deck: What advice do you have for Haiku Deck users who want to create strong presentations?

Nolan: Well, you could create a great Don Draper-like presentation with it, for sure. I think that Haiku Deck can be a good tool for creating a highly distilled presentation and in many ways keeping the focus on the presenter rather than the slides. Slides should always just be the backup singers—the presenter should be main attraction. But avoid the temptation of randomness and incessant metaphor in choosing imagery. If you’re selling widgets, but all your audience remembers are pictures of lemonade stands, handshakes and relay races (“teamwork!”), you haven’t created anything very sticky. Consider literal imagery when possible: How about a picture of your widget’s manufacturing process instead of one of a Swiss watchmaker?

More Presentation Inspiration

For more presentation inspiration, be sure to take a spin through our Presentation Pointers Pinterest board and our Featured and Popular Galleries, which highlight new awesome examples every week. You can also access the Gallery any time, right from the app.

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