Old Dog, New Tricks: Upgrade Your Presentation for a Different Audience

Putting together a presentation is a lot of work.  Doing the research, finding the perfect images, getting the wording right, and tweaking the slides (often at the last minute) takes hours and hours of mental labor. All that effort pays off when you really wow your audience.  And then it’s over.  It was great while it lasted, but odds are, that PowerPoint won’t be making the rounds again anytime soon.  It was designed with a specific audience in mind, and it served its purpose.

 

Or has it?  You will have other presentations, and some of your audiences may be similar or need some of the same information.  Starting over from scratch is working harder, not smarter.  Those slides in your old presentation are fodder for new videoconferencing ventures.  Next time you set out on the daunting task of putting a presentation together, revisit the work you’ve already done.  It can be a valuable resource that may save you a lot of time.

 

Let’s do the Time Warp again

177022114When you’re giving a presentation, you’re telling a story.  Sometimes a story is best told in chronological order; other times it makes sense to skip around for context – like flashback scenes or the entire film Momento.  The order of your original presentation may have made sense at the time, but perhaps you want to tell it differently to another group of people.  Play with the order of your slides, and it may make the presentation flow better for the story you want to tell.

 

Make new content, but keep the old

One is silver and the other is gold.  Be selective about what you include from the old presentation, keeping your audience in mind.  If you’re presenting to a magazine group on the topic of print versus Internet publishing, and your original audience was outside the industry, you could leave out some of the explanatory information that those with years of experience would already know.  All the sections about what services your provide – e-book publishing, for example – could be left in.  Then you could consider adding details about industry financial trends, like moves their competitors have made.  Different topics will hook different audiences, but some information is worth repeating.

 

Extreme Makeover: PowerPoint edition

124564455Sometimes all you need for a new perspective is a new look.  If you want to infuse something fresh into your presentation, try changing the template on your PowerPoint or other platform. It seems inconsequential, but this can really change the impression it makes on your audience.  Once that’s been done up, play with the layout of your slides.  Make images larger or smaller, move text boxes around, and break up text that can be separated into distinct talking points.  The orientation of information on your slides is directly related to how well you are able to captivate your audience.

 

Move from platform to platform

Do you remember the first time you saw someone use Prezi to present information?  How cool was that?  Part of the “wow” factor is that it’s so different from a PowerPoint, which is what most people are used to seeing.  Whether your presentation is in PowerPoint or another platform, consider trying something new.  Moving platforms allows you to tell your story in a different way using unique features of the software.  Some “wow” worthy, but perhaps lesser known, options include:

 

  • emaze – an HTML-based platform that has high-tech backgrounds, including 3-D and video.
  • SlideWiki – a Web tool that can organize slides in a hierarchy structure and is ideal for collaborative use.
  • Haiku Deck – visually appealing and fun to use, this platform for Web and iPad allows creators to focus on one idea at a time.

 

Now they see it

eyesAccording to science, we are all visual learners.  You can take advantage of this fact by turning your presentation into art.  After carefully reviewing the text of your presentation, see where it might be more effective to include an infographic or a powerful image.  People take in and process visual stimuli most quickly and in that sense, pictures can deliver information better than text.  Words will still be needed in your slides, as they are a key part of a holistic presentation (images can’t explain everything, and without context may have no meaning when referenced later).  A few choice substitutions of images for words will give them something interesting to look at – and talk about.