Over the past few years, we have not only had the fortune to observe, but also work with some of today’s greatest presenters. As time passed, we found our own process to emulate some of the presenters we admired. We discovered that:
HIGH QUALITY DESIGN AND SIMPLISTIC VISUALS
AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE
It may seem easy, but it wasn’t always this simple.
In the beginning stages of Big Fish, we tried to create content and design at the same time. On paper, it seemed efficient enough, but in reality it was a huge mistake for two reasons:
- We could only design as fast as we could write, and vice versa.
Because we tried to create content and design at the same time, delays became time-consuming and exhausting. In the end, we didn’t give each individual part of the presentation the attention and effort it needed.
- We never put all our effort into making a great outline or a beautifully designed presentation.
We split all our efforts, and we couldn’t give the presentations the TLC they deserved and needed to meet our standards. Our sole focus was on design, when we should have dedicated more time to the client, content, and delivery. After all, you could have the best-designed slides, but if you can’t present them, they’re useless.
In our second year, we realized we weren’t reaching the standard of quality we envisioned in the beginning. In the end, our standards and time management suffered because of our original process. That all changed when we took on a project with a determined client and realized a much better process.
Our client, the CEO of a mid-size talent-recruiting agency, was speaking at a conference and wanted to impress the audience. We were tasked with improving a script provided to us by creating slides based off a new and improved script, while training the client for the big day.
So, once again, we began trying to design the slides while writing the new version of the script. This time we realized there was a problem: The core message wasn’t clear and lacked a call to action. To save time, we decided to put a hold on design until the content was completely rewritten.
This was uncharted territory for us, but we felt it was imperative to our success. Because of this, we focused on building a simple, yet inspiring, outline packed with stories. After this, we finally had a finished product and were able to move on to design.
Our client worked with the content daily, and knew what they wanted to say, which allowed the slide design to be mainly visuals and minimal text.
The process became simpler, quicker, and more visually appealing, because we took the time and care to ensure every aspect of the presentation was the best it could be. Our client was also easy to coach because of their extensive knowledge of the content, which let us focus more on developing their delivery style.
At the end of the their presentation, the client called to thank us for helping them deliver “the best presentation of their life.”
And thus began the Big Fish creative process.
We learned it’s much easier to focus on making each individual aspect of the presentation the best it can be, before bringing the whole project together. By doing this, we were able to see the project as a whole much more clearly. Content began to serve as guide for the whole presentation, rather than an afterthought. This process gave our clients more opportunity to practice the presentation with the content and design fully finished.
We found, through some tough experiences, it’s crucial to follow each step, sequentially, for three reasons:
1) Building engaging content provides a foundation and call to action for a presentation.
Content is king in the presentation world. All efforts in this stage should be focused on building and crafting the most engaging story and vision possible. Doing so will make it easier to see your presentation as a whole, as well as enable you to see and drop any parts that may be confusing for your audience.
If any parts seem difficult to comprehend, simplify your presentation. After all, how can your audience believe in a message that they don’t understand? This type of simplistic approach allows you to connect with your audience on a much deeper level and makes it easier for them to feel like a part of your story.
2) High quality and simplistic design can change the world.
After you have prepared the content and provided a foundation for your presentation, it’s time to consider the aesthetic. The aesthetic should connect with your audience, so focus on how your design will make your audience feel, rather than trying to make a design that “looks nice.” However, never forget that a beautifully designed presentation needs you to tell its story.
3) Powerful delivery is the final step in delivering a message that can create change.
Powerful delivery means strong body language, confidence, and presenting content that’s easy to understand and relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly important that a presentation is nicely designed, but doesn’t replace the most important aspect of your presentation: YOU. When a presentation is over, the audience will remember the presenter more than anything else.
Some people believe the biggest differentiator in a presentation is the audience, but, while they may be important, we disagree. You and your message are the most important differentiators. After all, your message is what brought everything, including the audience, together in the first place. It takes a special presenter to deliver a powerful message that not only calls the audience to action, but also inspires them.
Though these steps may sound daunting to some, the payoff is worth it. If you put in time and dedication to the craft of presenting, it will help you on and off stage. If you have the strength to conquer the number one fear in America – the fear of public speaking – it will give you the confidence to conquer the next hurdle life throws at you, whatever it may be.
If you like this post, we elaborate on our process and much more our upcoming book, The Big Fish Experience. Preorder your copy today!