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Marketing Your Work

How to Create a Captivating Presentation

Terrified of presenting in front of an audience? Or just a little shy? How to take your public speaking ability and slide presentations from uncomfortable to awesome.

“Creativity” isn’t the first word you’d associate with the average business presentation. The phrase “Death by PowerPoint” has been a cliché for years, but sadly the same clichés are being perpetuated day in day out – slides “designed” using hideous templates, crawling with bullet points and paragraphs in tiny fonts, which presenters then read out in a monotone (turning their backs to the audience), using interchangeable meaningless corporate jargon.

But there is an alternative – and you hold the keys to it.Сейчас Вы можете не считать себя одаренным докладчиком. Возможно, как и большинство креативщиков Вы немного стеснительны от природы и чувствуете себя наиболее комфортно, сидя за своим столом или в студии один на один с работой. Как поэт-интроверт, я Вас понимаю.

Но мне удалось превратиться из кого-то, кто приходил в ужас, стоя перед аудиторией, в востребованного публичного оратора и ведущего мастер-классов. Более того, подготовка и выступление с презентацией - теперь одна из любимейших составляющих моей работы. Here’s how I did it – and how you can do the same:

Воспринимайте презентацию как творческий проект, которым он по праву является.

Don’t think about “presenting your work,” as if the creative part were limited to the work and the presentation were tacked on afterwards. Применяйте к своим презентациям тот же уровень фантазии и страсти, как и для остальной части креативной работы. Once you do that, you’ll start discovering all kinds of interesting ways to get your message across in a persuasive fashion. Here are some tips to help you get started – and to illustrate why your creative talents are the perfect ingredients for a killer presentation.

1. Выпустите свой энтузиазм.

Everyone I’ve ever coached on presentation skills has told me they want to be more confident – but I tell them to forget about confidence and focus on enthusiasm. Уверенность может быть впечатляющей, но все же оставить аудиторию равнодушной. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, is infectious – it will be hard for audiences to resist your passion.

2. Доберитесь до сути своего сообщения.

If you’re an information architect, you’ll know how important it is to present the most important points clearly and simply, only introducing details when people have grasped the big picture and are ready for more. If organizing information is new to you, then here’s the quick version:

Сожмите свою презентацию до трех ключевых моментов, которые Ваша аудитория должна понять.

Это также делает мысль более запоминающейся для аудитории. For more detailed advice on structuring presentations, read Cliff Atkinson‘s book Beyond Bullet Points.

3. Расскажите захватывающую историю.

Next time you hear a presenter say “I’ll begin by telling you a story…” watch the audience – you’ll see them relax into their chairs. They are re-entering the pleasant “storytime trance” they knew and loved as kids. Их критический порог понижается, и у говорящего есть золотая возможность вовлечь их эмоционально, рассказывая сильную историю, относящуюся к теме.

У Вас есть та же возможность. Рассмотрите сообщение, которое Вы хотите донести. Какую проблему оно решает? What’s the human dimension? О чем оно Вам напоминает? Как только у Вас появились зачатки истории, тренируйтесь рассказывать ее себе снова и снова, пока она не заставит Вас смеяться, съеживаться от страха, вздыхать, вздрагивать или ухмыляться, когда Вы говорите. Когда подобный эффект достигнут для Вас, он подействует и на аудиторию.

Nancy Duarte‘s new book, Resonate, will show you how to entrance audiences with storytelling.

4. Восхитите их словами.

You should never try to get your presentation word perfect, by memorizing every single word – that will only make for stilted delivery. Что поможет, так это добавить парочку импровизированных фраз и странных риторических оборотов.

It’s true that “statistics can be misleading,” but saying it like that won’t get people to sit up straight. Попробуйте добавить оригинальности:

“There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” -Бенджамин Дизраэли

For a concise guide to emulating the verbal eloquence of great speakers, read chapter 4 of Max Atkinson‘s book Speech-making and Presentation Made Easy.

5. Создайте ошеломляющие слайды.

Slides are optional, but if you’re going to use them, make them great. Even if you’re not a graphic designer, it’s relatively easy to stand out from the crowd of bullet points and PowerPoint templates, by licensing high-quality images from stock sites like istockphoto and Veer, or searching for Creative Commons-licensed photos from Flickr using Compfight (just make sure you read the licensing terms carefully, especially for commercial use!). And Garr Reynolds‘ book Presentation Zen Design will introduce you to basic design principles for creating slides from the images.

And if you are a graphic designer, check out Nancy Duarte’s beautiful book Slide:ology, for a stimulating guide to the creative possibilities of slide design. Nancy and her team designed the slides for Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” presentation and feature film, so she knows a thing or two about creating slides with impact.

6. Будьте проще.

Simplicity – focusing on core themes and eliminating fluff – is the key to a lot of great design, great writing, great music, great dance, and great art of many kinds. It’s also one of the things that makes presentations powerful and memorable.

Вот все, что Вам нужно для по-настоящему крутой презентации:

  • Одна большая идея
  • Три ключевых момента
  • Одна побуждающая история
  • Одна идея на слайд (и не больше шести слов)
  • Один ясный призыв к действию

As with any other creative project you’ve executed, the challenge is to pare it down to the essentials, using your critical thinking skills.Looking at the list, you can see it’s made up of the core skills of creative professionals: crafting messages; organizing information; telling stories; choosing words carefully; and creating striking visuals. You probably don’t have all of these skills, but I’m sure you have at least one or two. Start with these, then work to acquire the others using the resources I’ve listed.

For example, I’m pretty good with words, and telling stories is second nature to me, but I had to study to learn how to develop visually striking slides. But if you’re a designer, you can give yourself a head start on other presenters by creating a remarkable slide deck, which will boost your confidence – then start working on your verbal delivery and storytelling.

The ultimate test will be your audience’s response. But a sure sign that you’re on the right track will be when you start looking forward to creating your next presentation…

К Вам

Кто Ваши любимые ораторы? Как они добиваются эффектности?

Где бы Вы могли начать вносить креативность в свои презентации?

For a FREE 26-week creative career guide sign up for Mark’s course The Creative Pathfinder. And for bite-sized inspiration, like Mark’s Facebook page here.

Comments (52)
  • Craig Hadden

    Great points, Mark. I’ve written about many of those tips too.

    One question though – why “no more than 6 words” on a slide? Seth Godin even breaks his 6-word rule himself, as the video in the post below shows. And in business (or higher ed), I don’t know how you can use just 6 words to label a simple chart that has 6 data points and at least 1 axis.

    Instead of “no more than 6 words”, I say “up to about 15”. Here’s why – backed up by data from Nancy Duarte, Garr Reynolds and Jerry Weissman:

  • Amir Elion

    Thank for these Mark. Indeed focused advise and to the point.
    I’ve been writing about creative presentation ideas as well and collected those into an app:

  • Faheem

    Good points highlighted. Especially the links to learning about better presentations and picture sources.

  • Clem

    Thanks for this concise post that pretty much resume what a great presentation is about! I’ve covered powerpoint design topics as well, don’t hesitate to give your fedback:

  • Alexander Dik

    I would like to recommend you my new app for presentations:

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