Presentation Tips with Ed Fidgeon-Kavanagh

Scriba is more than just a stylus: it’s a handy presentation remote that provides discreet haptic feedback when you’re running out of time and lets you annotate your presentation on the fly to better communicate your point. Since we love great presentations here at Scriba we asked Ed Fidgeon-Kavanagh, Chief Presentationist at Clearpreso, for his top presentation tips.

Use The Tool That Works Best For You

Presentations are an exercise in getting a message from your head onto a screen, it’s not really any more complicated than that, and as such there’s not really a “right way” to go about doing it. I think that people should just the tools and methods they’re most comfortable with whether that be Powerpoint, Keynote, a flipchart or indeed no visual aids at all. Life’s too short to waste time trying to use tools that suit someone else.

Give A Shit

“It’s either a hell yeah or no” — Derek Sivers

Throwing together a crappy presentation is easy, conversly creating a great one is actually really hard and will take a lot of time and effort. So a key factor is that you really give enough of a shit to put in those hard hours. If you don’t care or you’re not excited about the story you have to tell then just don’t bother, a crappy presentation is almost always worse than no presentation at all.

Steal Design From All Around You

“Good artists copy; great artists steal” — Steve jobs

When it comes to designing presentations most people recreate what they have seen before. This is why slide design hasn’t evolved much past the much hated but oft seen slide with endless tiny bullet points. Because of course, that’s how presentations should look right? Wrong.

To end the cycle of crappy presentations it’s necessary to abandon powerpoint-world and consider examples of good design that can be seen around you in day to day life. Billboards, posters, magazines, websites and even pamphlets in the post all offer better examplesdesign elements to inspire you than almost all powerpoints. There are lots of ways to archive the bits and pieces you come across, I take endless screenshots of great design I see online, and snap photos of design I see in the physical world around me. These all end up in a folder I have titled “Inspiration”. At the start of all new projects I have a flick through that folder to get my creative juices flowing.

Stay Away From Gimmicks

Most slide software now comes with a dizzying array of animations, transitions and other sparkly design gimmicks. In general it’s best to steer clear of all of these completely as they almost universally distract from, rather than compliment, your messaging.

Attempting to bring your boring content to life with “exciting” gimmicks just doesn’t work. And in general if the best thing about your presentation are animations and transitions… you should really start from the beginning again!

Slide Count Is Completely Unimportant

Fr. Ted “Would you like your pizza cut into 6 or 8 slices?”

Fr. Dougal: “Oh just 6, I don’t think I could eat 8”

People have a strange psychological relationship with “slide count”. I often hear clients tell me that they need a “max 10 slide presentation because I don’t want to bore people”. This adherance to a strict, and totally arbitrary, number of slides actually almost always actually ensures the boredom they were looking to avoid because in the quest to hit the magic number people start cramming 3 slides worth of material into one slide making for a set of slides which are cramped, incomprehensible and completely unengaging.

The best advice here is to broadly keep slides to one idea per slide. Less is more when it comes to content on an individual slide, which may mean you have what seems like a gigantic number of slides, in practice though they’ll take exactly the same amount of time to deliver, but will be much more effective and engaging.

As Chief Presentationist at Clearpreso, Ed helps people deliver exceptional presentations.

Scriba is a revolutionary, award-winning stylus that is designed to fit your hand. Find your creative flow with unique Squeeze-Motion technology: Scriba controls line weight and app functionality by bending in response to your touch — just squeeze. Available now on Amazon. Find out more at