Perfect presentation in 7 steps: slide script, but exciting!

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At presented Michael Moesslang, among others, how to present exciting, But how should a good presentation be structured at all? What does the reality look like? And how do you avoid the most common mistakes? For perfect presentation in 7 steps.

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Professor Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler Best of HR –®Prof. Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler teaches at the University of Economics and Management (FOM) in Frankfurt am Main.


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Knowledge of science

The less you see in a presentation, the better you can focus on it, the more it will be remembered. Here is the continuation of our 7 tips with concrete implementation help.

A critical word in advance: As early as the year 2004, a study group at the University of New South Wales (Australia) came to the conclusion that we are overpowering our slide presentations.

It is counterproductive to convey information in a mixture of acoustic, visual and possibly even moving forms. Information would be better understood if delivered either acoustically or visually.

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Why overwhelm us with presentations?

The reason: When text and language run in parallel, the writing dominates. The spoken word fades away and is forgotten.

But: films are not bad per se; because they meet the habits of man: man is an eye-catcher and takes visual information particularly efficiently.

reality check

But what does the reality look like? Slide presentations are often of miserable quality. It still seems to hold the prejudice that the number of slides and information correlates with the competence of the presenter.

In addition, most slide presentations are filled with far too much text and details. But the opposite is true, both in terms of the amount of slides and their content: less is more.

7 tips for successful slide presentations

Many presentation tips convey specific tricks for exciting punchlines or storytelling. I'm more concerned with the more general questions, because the variety of topics for a slide lecture makes it difficult to make specific recommendations.

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But the following schema, at least in those cases, can be a useful basis for the outline of your slide lecture, which is about presenting and solving a problem.

Avoid classic mistakes

It is all about one thing: Avoid classic presentation mistakes. So what is to be done about it? First of all, it is important to avoid the most common and worst mistake in slide presentations: Slides must not be used as handouts for the participants.

Make sure you make the effort and create two types of documents: Slides according to the following guide and participant documents, where you can put all the details, numbers or graphics.

Step 1: Clarify what your goal is

Only those who know their goal can find their way. So: think about what you actually want to achieve.

Stop and ask yourself, "If my audience could remember just one sentence, what would it be?" The answer is your goal or your core message.

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Step 2: Clarify the basic conditions

  • How much time is available?
  • How many listeners are expected?
  • What technology is available (projector, emergencyebook, Microphone)?
  • Where does the lecture take place?

Step 3: Clarify who your audience is

As with all communication formats and types, when creating presentations it is important to first think about the recipients, i.e. the audience. This is not as easy as it may seem at first, because we are all subject to the so-called "curse of knowledge":

We just know too much about our field of expertise and can not (more) imaginethat others know less. Approach your listeners by finding out as much as possible about them:

  • Age
  • Gender distribution
  • hierarchical position,
  • Relationship between theorists and practitioners
  • subject area
  • Respect for your subject (prejudices, objections, sensitivities, resistances)
  • Knowledge and experience
  • Motives for participation (voluntary, forced)
  • Conflicts of interest between participants

Step 4: gather fabric and develop a “script”

Write down your first thoughts on paper - if you are working with a PC, you are already too attached to the classic “PowerPoint mindset”. The very fact of working with a pen makes you more creative.

It is better to keep the thoughts on paper or, better yet, on post-its. If you stick it to a panel or wall, you have a good overview of the overall presentation. Use a separate piece of paper for each slide.

  • What is the topic?
  • Why is the topic important for the listeners? #
  • What is the problem?
  • How did the problem arise?
  • How is the audience affected?
  • What are the benefits of listening to the problem?
  • What can be done?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • What is the choice to make?
  • What does the solution look like?
  • Why is it the best solution?
  • What would the solution do?
  • What would be required for implementation (timely, financially, personnel)?

Step 5: Compress your collection of materials to theses

Now proceed to assign the collected material to the individual outline points. Regarding the number of foils, there are quite contradictory recommendations in theory and practice. Basically: "When in doubt, cut it out!"

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If you have any doubts as to whether a slide is required, then remember: "In really good presentations, something is shown that could not be presented better in terms of language." The quality question is: Does a slide make understanding easier for the audience, does it help to convey my content faster / better?

Frequently quoted is the 10-20-30 rule by Guy Kawasaki; it means that a slide presentation does not include more than 10 slides, should take minutes under 20, and should have a font size of at least 30 point.

Step 6: visualize your theses

Avoid all that eats reading energy, such as logos, small pictures, legends, ornaments, shadows, boxes, footers, and the like. Even my headings are not necessary in my opinion - you are finally present and explain what is to be seen.

Slides should be like traffic signs: Quick and easy to understand. So, separate yourself from everything that is not absolutely necessary.

Differences are important!

Do without a “master”: As a rule, human perception processes every image from scratch. However, if large parts always look the same, the brain concludes “I already know” and switches off.

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Design your slides differently. Only the first and last slide should appear in a “corporate identity dress” (fonts, colors, logo), in between you need variety.

Contrasts and harmonious colors

Choose a white / light or dark background. You can also choose a signal color (light green, orange) - the contrast is clear, so the writing or picture elements are easy to recognize.

Use colors that harmonize with each other - these are the colors that are in the color circle, such as orange and blue or green and red.

Less is more!

Never write more than 40 words on a slide. Typically, you will get less than 20 words. Some experts say: the contents of a film should be captured in less than two seconds.

Use a large font, at least 24, better still 30 point. This not only promotes legibility, but also limits the space available to you - so you are automatically forced to self-imposed. Also, use a large line spacing.

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Pictures and graphics

Never use more than 7 pieces of information (lines / blocks of text, pictures, graphics, symbols ...) because the working memory capacity is limited to 7 (+/- 2) elements.

Include full-page pictures (photos) without labeling in the lecture. The picture should build up tension and work for you - you will provide the explanation with your presentation. If you do not use full-page images, only small cut-outs, arrange the image elements asymmetrically, ie not centered.

Step 7: Hold a trial and correct your slides

The more important your presentation is, the more time you should invest to practice and improve it. Ask your colleagues, friends or friends for their judgment. Try to keep your speech clear.

If you are not able to do this, make a speech note, but without formulated sentences, otherwise there is a risk that your lecture will sound too “wooden” or monotonous. Finally, check whether your presentation is error-free in terms of content and dramaturgy, spelling and punctuation as well as form and readability.

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