I have become a big fan of Wired’s online content, particularly their How-To pages. Recently, they featured this how-to: Make a Presentation Like Al Gore. Presentations are a powerful way to get your message across both verbally and visually, and knowing how can further your career and your ability to communicate.
The slideshow presentation on global warming that Al Gore featured in his An Inconvenient Truth is the most successful and widely seen, probably ever. For this reason, more than a nobel-prize garnering and big step forward for climate change issues and ecology, as Wired points out, the movie is also an example of the efficacy of a well-prepared slideshow presentation.
- Know your audience.
Who will be watching this? What actions or conclusions do you want the audience to make? The entire design, and of course content, should stem from your answers to such questions.
- Know when to use a slideshow, and when a distributed document is just as powerful.
- Memorize the message.
- Keep your face to the audience.
Don’t make your audience watch your back. It will reflect poorly on you and diminishes your impact.
- Use type over 24pt.
- Use high quality images.
- Pay attention to image rights.
- Choose the right tools.
According to Wired, there are two primary presentation tools: Apple’s Keynote and Microsoft’s PowerPoint. PowerPoint has stronger animation features, whereas Keynote typically handles video and Flash better.