20 x 20 Presentations

One of things I quite often get asked for is help with a PowerPoint presentation. This can vary from setting up a template that reflects my clients’ — quite often new — look and feel, or translating complicated slide content into something visual and easy to understand, to transforming a ‘death-by-PowerPoint’ presentation into something the audience would find engaging. In this last instance, I am almost always working with my creative partner Judi Coe — the writer Yin to my design Yang. We have been given raw presentations of 50 plus slides (no kidding!). The client knows this isn’t looking right (thank heavens!), so comes to us for help. More often than not, the detail can go into the notes (or the bin). We then go back with a stripped down version — but all the creative writing the client has done is hard to let go, so we will end with a compromise. But — Hurrah!! — the audience gets to stay awake!

‘Death by PowerPoint’ in danger from PechaKucha!

For those of you who write PowerPoint Presentations, have a look at PechaKucha — it is how you would want a PowerPoint presentation to be if you were in the audience. PechaKucha is a format devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture, and has grown virally into a global social phenomenon. The idea is simple — the PechaKucha 20×20 format — 20 slides, preferably as visual as possible, with an end-to-end story delivered by the host, each shown for 20 seconds. It is engaging and captivating. Go to the site and check out a few; PechaKucha, it could change the way you construct your next presentation!

My top 5 tips

1 Keep it simple — there are always notes and handouts for more detail

2 Keep it short — you will stay engaged and so will your audience

3 Keep it visual — relevant images add interest. Using diagrams help explain a complex idea

4 Keep it interesting — don’t just read what is on your slides verbatim

5 Practice — try recording yourself, on your phone will do — you can easily see what works, and what doesn’t — you’ll also have a good idea on time