Having been in the research and innovation area for a while, I’ve seen very experienced professionals delivering their content with very poor presentations. Although your content is the most important thing in the story, the way you put together your slides matters. Here are some tips for creating a nice presentation for researchers as well as others who want to deliver an amazing presentation.
1.Don’t write everything you tell
I’ve seen so many presentations given by researchers and high level professionals where everything that is said is also in writing and everything that is in writing is also being said. The font of the text is so tiny that you can’t read anything, and it looks very boring – you don’t make any associations.
This kind of approach is not very successful. Of course, you can create a presentation with all the content – definitions, stories and everything else – in case you want to send it to people. However, if you want people to engage with the content you’re presenting, you must come up with something better than text on your slides.
Here are some examples of how not to do it.
2. Bizarre & old-school pictures
Sometimes it’s difficult to understand if people are being serious, trying to be funny or hoping to be retro… Some presentations given by very respected people in the space sector, for example, have included strange and very outdated images from the internet. It’s even unclear if these images aren’t just taken from a Google search… You know what I mean, right? You can’t just take any image from a Google image search and include it in your presentation. You have to use a legal image bank, create your own pictures and images, or buy them.
Here are some examples of the images I’m talking about that were included in presentations given by very respected people from large organisations.
3. The structure of the content
There are so many great examples of inspiring, amazing and interesting presentations. I’m speaking about the delivery style. Remember that the same laws as in any other sector also apply in the research. Just because you’re talking about technology, research or innovation or something complicated for others or yourself doesn’t mean that you can’t follow the best practice presentation recommendations. Great presentations most of the time include some wow! moments, an element of surprise, and exciting stories. Also, remember that if you want people to really understand and remember what you told, structurise your content, you can use icons and nice images and just a few words.
4. Make people remember something…
Research and experienced public speakers say that people remember the first and last slides ad sentences of your presentation. Don’t mess them up! And try to make the other content memorable as well.
Here is one great video about starting a presentation. Remember, the same patterns that you apply in any other business can be applied in research! Even more so! What other sector has more exciting information than some new discoveries?!
Here is another video that gives many details about the visual information on your slides.
5. Want to speak less? Use videos
Using videos in presentations as well as in other communication is not a new trend. However, people really like it, because videos are normally made by professionals and they deliver high-quality content.
Just remember that if you use videos, make sure before the presentation that you have no obstacles and a backup plan as things can go wrong. If you use videos on the internet, the internet can be slow… the presentation room might not have sufficient-quality speakers or the device might not support the format of the video. Otherwise, including a video in your presentation might make your presentation more dynamic.
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