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Tips and Tricks about Presentations


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This post was written by
Scott Schwertly

Scott is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3.

Think of the last time you read a children’s book. Maybe you were reading to your kids or your friend’s kids; maybe you were just browsing in a bookstore; maybe you haven’t read one for years and years. Regardless, consider how the average children’s book is written: full page spreads of pretty pictures, accompanied by a little bit of text. Typically, that text is never more than a few sentences, and more often, it’s even less than that. Children’s books are intended to be simple, easy to understand, and heavy on the visuals, which is precisely how we should approach our presentations.
A good guiding principle to find our way to all of these ideal characteristics– simple, easy to understand, visual heavy– is to include only one point of information per slide. We challenge you to embrace that perhaps daunting guideline, and if you take a moment to click through our latest Slideshare deck “Resolutions for a New Year” below, you’ll see why.

Including only one point per slide is far more simple than it sounds. The first hurdle you must jump over to accept this principle is to be unconcerned with slide count. It doesn’t matter if your deck is 15 slides, 50 slides or 200 slides; it only matters that the slide count makes sense for the amount of content in the presentation.
Notice how in the deck above, we broke “A New Year: A New Chance for a New You” into three different slides. Though it could stand alone as one sentence, it’s entirely more impactful when broken out into three slides. It helps the presentation flow nicely, and it gives the designer a chance to use three different visuals rather than just one.
Then we introduce our deck’s main idea– we’ll be presenting five quotes that will help guide your New Year. We go on to break those quotes out onto separate slides; each visually consistent, featuring the quote and an image of who said it. One quote = one point. Imagine putting more than one of those quotes on a single slide. That would be way too much text on the slide, and it wouldn’t give the audience a chance to take in and reflect on the information being presented.
We conclude the presentation with a mantra similar to that in the beginning. “A New Year. New possibilities, opportunities, chances. Make way for the new. Be your best self in 2013.” Again, each main point, each sentence, is delineated to its own slide, giving the audience an opportunity to reflect on each, and helping the presentation to flow in a quick, natural way.
Do you have a hard time keeping one point per slide in your presentation? How do you work to break up your content? 

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