Dear Eyeful,

I have a problem… my slides. I’ve had feedback recently from some internal audiences that they hate them!

I won’t lie – I was surprised! I’ve read a number of books and use a couple of styles, either keeping them very simple and clean or using my PowerPoint knowledge to add lots of cool animation (because it’s fun but also to keep the audience engaged!). I thought I was doing the right thing but my audiences obviously disagree.

Where have I gone wrong? Any tips?

Yours, a little confused,

Beth

Hi Beth,

We feel your pain! So many people fall into the trap of focusing their precious time and energy on their slides rather than building a fully rounded presentation; complete with a key message, a strong story structure and the all-important call to action. Only when you have these elements firmly in place should you start developing a slide deck that helps you visually share your message and deliver a presentation your audience not only likes but also remembers.

To help you with what should be the final phase of the process, we asked a couple of our most experiences designers to chat through their approach to slide design (along with the pitfalls to avoid!). So, if you’ve ever wondered how/when/if you could ever use that peculiar Origami Bird transition in your presentation, this video is for you!

Best of luck with your next presentation!

The Eyeful Team x

Video Transcript

Alex Warwick: I believe that the best presentations are really the ones, which have a strong story to them. Strong stories are best when they have really powerful visuals to back them up. One example I can think of this is, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a job for the police, and their vision for the next ten years. So we worked with them and came up with 20 minutes of narration to tell this story. We storyboarded it really, really well. That information then came to me, and I’ve spent a good few days on turning all those great storyboards into something digital, and visual. The use of line drawings, which have been created in Illustrator, and all of that comes together nice and smoothly and tells this 20 minute fictional story really well.

Phil Evans: I think for me it’s a matter of your understanding with the client and the brand guidelines, and that can only come over time of working with that client. Working out what is a guideline, and where your hard parameters are. Once you know that, you know where you can add the creativity. It is us challenging clients a lot of the time.

Alex Warwick: For a designer, we use animations and transitions, subtly, consistently – that’s really the key areas. Certainly when I’m teaching PowerPoint, I reiterate time and time again about the need for subtlety, professionalism when using them, and consistency all the time. You can image over 50 slides, if you using lots of different animations, and lots of different transitions, it just looks a little bit messy.

Phil Evans: I think, as long as they’re used sparingly and used correctly there’s a place for everything. Except, for the origami bird transition.

Stay tuned for another presentation problem coming next week! If there is a specific problem that you are experiencing and you’d like a solution from Eyeful, just email your problem to eyeful@eyefulpresentations.com.

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