Last week I attended a high level medical conference. Most of the presentations at the conference contained reports or information on research studies, and most of the presentations were the traditional content rich /data rich type. This can be pretty dry, but I noticed some of the presenters used simple but effective tools (in the presentation software) which helped the audience navigate through the data on the slides. You can use these tools to quickly and easily update your slides to increase the audience connection.
One of the things they did was to use “builds”. You can find the technique under animations – custom animations in PowerPoint. Designing your slide using builds can allow you to step through a list, one at a time, making it easier for the audience to follow rather than seeing the whole list at once. I recommend keeping the build effect as simple as possible. When I use builds I use a simple fade in. Spinning and whirling words can be distracting and usually don’t fit with the message.
Another simple technique the presenters used was to highlight the key data/findings in a chart by having a colored box around it; this helped the audience quickly zero in on what was important.
So if you don’t have the time or aren’t ready to completely overhaul your presentations, try taking the first steps and use builds and/or some way to highlight the key data or conclusions on your slides. I think you find that your audience will find it much easier to follow along.
Refuse to be boring