Who saw your slides? Four tips on getting more shares (Part 1)
Keith Brooks 100000260A firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  learning slidedeck keith_brooks slides presenting
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Has this ever happened to you? You spend weeks working on your presentation for the big conference and when your day arrives you get into presenter mode, show up early to your appointed room and prepare to take the stage. You think to yourself, this is going to be a great session¸ and progress through your slides. Before you know it, you’ve reached the time for Q&A, you say thank you and it's over.
But wait! Your work is not complete.
You need to make sure the slides get posted properly by the organization running the conference as well as on your blog or on SlideShare (and by the way both should be feeding to your Twitter and Facebook accounts). You should also email links to all the people who asked for your slides and those with whom you traded business cards or email addresses.
What? You didn't get any business cards? No new email addresses? Not even a Twitter request? This is not good news. It means you failed, in some way, to garner enough attention for your cause or topic.
How can you turn this around? How do you make your presentation memorable? -- in a good way!
For starters, you need to be able to bring a room to your attention. If you are not a seasoned presentation writer, you may need some help. You can easily find blog posts with a list of the usual dos and don'ts, but improving elements like the visual cues and the order of your slides also takes practice. In this two-part series I will give you a list of tips on how to improve your slides so that they get the attention they deserve and are readily shared among your colleagues.
1. Learn from past mistakes
No one is perfect, and we can often explain something better or differently after the fact, once we realize we should have said x instead of y. Your slides live forever though, and they must be clear for everyone who was not in the room that day. Do your best to learn from any feedback you receive and use it to improve your slides next time.
2. Have an outsider review your presentation
We commonly ask a peer to review our presentation before the big day. But when you have someone who is not affiliated with your world review the slides, it helps you even more than when you have a coworker review them.
3. Pay attention to visual elements
You may get a bad template from a conference or you may have an open canvas, but either can be leveraged appropriately or be your downfall. I prefer an open canvas because I can do anything I want with the slides.
For example, I prefer to leverage full-size graphics, meaning they usually cover the whole screen. My front pages are meant to be an enticing preview of what is inside. And there are numerous meme sites and generators to help you create personalized graphics. Remember that attribution is a requirement, and give credit to the sites or owners of any artwork you use or create. If you work for a large entity that has legal issues with public domain graphics, use whatever resources they make available or take your own pictures.
4. Eliminate unnecessary text
If you have seen my presentation on The Art of Troubleshooting you probably noticed that there is little if any text. The downside of this is that future readers may be left with no idea of what you conveyed. There are people who use this technique to mythical proportions, so don’t go overboard with it. But I prefer to have people understand and listen to what I said, and in this case see what I delivered, so I left some details out of the slides.
Use text as necessary, but don’t make your slides look like an entire chapter was stuffed onto one page.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope these presentation tips were helpful, and there are plenty more where they came from. Stay tuned for part 2 next week, where I’ll offer six more suggestions on making your slides memorable and shareable.
Keith Books is the Social and Collaboration Practice Leader for Voicerite, an IBM Premier Business Partner. Keith has spoken at SugarCon, Lotusphere, the View Admin conferences and other industry events on subjects around messaging and social leadership. Keith has written articles, books and blogs around IBM products and solutions for over 20 years. You can follow him on Twitter @LotusEvangelist
Keith is an IBM Redbooks thought leader