Useful Tips

How to make presentations, or why not everything takes off? Part 1


Rule 7. Simplify

Most people think that making a presentation on a white background is boring and unprofessional. They are convinced that it is worth changing the color - “magic” will occur and the customer will immediately accept the order. But this is a fallacy.

We try to “embellish” the slide with a large number of objects, although we can explain its essence in one word or picture.

Using illustrations and a minimum of text, we help to convey our thoughts to the audience and capture their attention.

Less is not boring. The design of a one-dollar banknote is more than 150 years old, and from year to year it only gets better.

It is constantly visually changed, leaving only the most important on the bill. Today, a banknote is beautiful in its simplicity.

Rule 8. Rehearse your performance.

If you don’t have time to prepare a presentation, why should the client spend time on it? How will you go to the gym? What do you say first? Your laptop will have ten percent of the charge, and where do you expect to find a power outlet? Will you rehearse several scenarios and your speech?

The answer to all questions is one: you need to prepare for important meetings and presentations. It is not enough to create a presentation with cool content and images, you need to be able to submit it. At the performance, you must be understood, heard and accepted.

Imagine: a person comes into the hall and begins to rush about - either the 1st slide, then the 7th, then back to the 3rd. He worries, worries, forgets. Do you understand anything? I don’t think so.

People feel very good about other people. When you are not ready, not sure - this can be seen from a distance. Therefore, my advice: rehearse your presentation at least three times in front of a mirror.

Meet on the cover

Imagine you came to a meeting, impressed everyone with a cool presentation, added to your friends on Facebook the one to whom you "sold", and you have a flower or a skull on your avatar.

Firstly, it is strange. Secondly, after two weeks, when you write to a person in the messenger, he will not remember your face.

Open the messenger. If on an avatar you see letters or a person who has his back turned to you, do you remember the face of the interlocutor without his name?

No matter how cool your PowerPoint presentation is, if you have a picture in poor resolution on your avatar, they will forget about the presentation.

Remember that your Facebook profile sells while you sleep. They come to him, read, look for something interesting. The visual layout of your page is very important.

May I ask you to do one thing? Upload your avatar on Facebook on a white background and make a cover that will contain your photo and a brief description of what you do.

Over time, you will understand that “meet on the cover”, and get a specific result from communication.

Presentation by mail: 5 life hacks

Presentation to the audience is significantly different about the one you need to send by mail.

What I advise you to pay attention to before sending the presentation to the client:

All the techniques that I described in the article work. Use them, implement them in presentations, and become better than yesterday.

Five books that I recommend reading to anyone who wants to make spectacular presentations:

Visual aids

The idea of ​​using PowerPoint and graphs to enhance the effect of a presentation is based on the fact that people absorb information best when they simultaneously hear and see it. A common misconception regarding visual material is to include absolutely everything in it to make your idea more understandable. In fact, it’s better to include a graph with a small data set in the presentation than to show everything, but not be able to make it clear. A brief explanation of the graph or chart is all you need.

A good graph does not contain much data, but a lot of information can be extracted from it. Effective infographics contains several semantic layers. Qualitative visualization examples are saturated with data, but not to the extent that their relationships are confusing.

Visual and Graphic Design Specialist Tips

Edward Tufty is an information expert specializing in the visualization of quantitative information. He revolutionized the views on the visualization of information and how to present it. Here are some of his recommendations.

1. Charts are more effective than tables, as they reflect data changes and significant trends.

2. Instead of drawing more graphs, combine more variables in one graph. Take Napoleon’s campaign in Moscow as an example. The graph will show 6 variables: army size in numerical terms, temperature in degrees, geographical location. In addition, the number of soldiers reflected in the thickness of the line (1 mm corresponds to 6,000 people) and the names of the main battles that led to heavy losses will be indicated there.

3. Use graphs in which one variable correlates with another, as they are more informative and readable.

4. Schedules must be true. Falsification of data makes a bad impression and immediately raises the question of the truth of the entire study and the rest of the data.

5. Context is the medium in which data takes on meaning. Without explanation and visual means, the data mean nothing. The power of large data sets is the amount of useful information that can be extracted from them.

In this diagram, the user can choose what type of information he needs based on his own interests and time frames. Since a lot of information has been collected here, the designer used color and symbolic notation of important parameters in order to simplify the search and not overload the circuit with unnecessary details.

6. Saturation of information. The coefficient connecting the amount of ink used for the printer and the useful data on the graph proposed by Tufty shows how informative the graph is. He proposed a ratio, in the numerator of which is the amount of ink (or pixels of the screen image) required for the image of the data without which the graph will lose its meaning, and in the denominator - for the entire graph, including labels, frames, grid lines, etc. Ideally, the ratio should be maximum (tend to 1). The essence of this coefficient is to minimize informational “garbage” and unnecessary details, but it also says that one should not underestimate the ability of an audience to interpret data. In the above Napoleon example, some variables and data values ​​are immediately apparent, others to a lesser extent. However, over time, the viewer or reader is able to extract more and more information from the graph, which makes it more valuable and dynamic.

7. Density of data.

8. Charts of high information content. It should be noted that once a common theme was illustrations in scientific manuscripts. However, as Albert Biederman noted, statistical graphs separated from text and tables with the development of printing technologies.

9. A serif font is better than a serif font (although this is a moot point).

Based on all these tips, Tufty identifies three main attributes of excellent graphic expression:

2. Clarity and accuracy.

3. The maximum information reported in a minimum of time.

Some helpful tips

1. Always repeat the question you are asked.

2. Answer simply. Give an answer in essence, and not general vague phrases, do not complicate, so as not to confuse the audience even more, do not attack the questioner with criticism.

3. If you do not know the answer, say something like: "Unfortunately, at the moment I do not have an answer to your question. But I will try to find out, and we can discuss this in the future."

4. Answer the question, even if the answer has already sounded in your speech. A person could miss something important, but you do not want to leave him in the dark.

5. Answer only those questions that, in your opinion, are of most interest to the audience. Remember that your time is limited and you have the right to make decisions yourself.

6. Remember that sometimes you may know someone who is better able to answer the question than you. You may not be the direct author of the work, but you know someone who has studied the topic much more deeply. If so, tell the audience about this and advise you to contact him

7. Questions and answers are part of the presentation. This is one of its segments, and not an optional addition during which people can voluntarily leave the audience. It has been noted many times that just at this stage, people learn best by interacting with the speaker and going into the finer details of the study.

8. Conclude your presentation by once again focusing on the main thing (this may be a paraphrase of your central thesis or conclusion).

  • Include feedback in the form of a survey or questionnaire.
  • Some speakers include a survey or questionnaire in their presentation to get audience feedback on a specific topic. One of the ways that you can offer is voting via SMS. Students send messages containing the response number from the proposed options, data can be displayed in real time. Abroad, this technology is already used at universities to assess engagement and increase the effectiveness of training, when a teacher traditionally gives a lecture for an hour or a half and immediately leaves the classroom, while no one says a word.
  • New presentation software such as Sl>

Think and talk, listen and talk

Think before you speak. Remember that the more you listen to the audience and understand what she thinks about, the better you can convey to her what she is interested in. Be a good listener, and you will be able to control the pace of your speech and keep the attention of a large number of people.

The ability to listen is connected with the ability to control your pace, accelerate or pause, so that people keep up with your thoughts and understand the essence of what has been said. If you are used to speaking fast, work on slowing down your speech. If you, as a rule, speak slowly, especially if you are a foreigner, always keep in mind what thought should be next in order to avoid unnecessary "hmmm" or "let's see what we have next ...". Learn to speak aloud and always keep in mind the following thought. Remember that in any public statement, you control the audience and you can decide for yourself what to talk about and what not. It’s up to you to choose the right pace so that people can extract as much from your speech as possible.

  • How to cope with nervous tension?

1. Direct it to creating positive, creative energy that will allow you to convey to the audience your enthusiasm and interest in the topic.

2. Relax before the presentation. If possible, get a good night's sleep on the eve of the performance, and dress to impress.

  • Pay attention to your pace. Give the audience enough time to examine each slide, extract information from it, and understand how it relates to what you are talking about.
  • Be careful when preparing a presentation so as not to overload the audience with information. Form an adequate understanding of the topic with the audience so that it is ready to accept new knowledge.
  • Improvise! You should know your subject so well that you do not have to rely on slides. Slides, images, papers, notes, handouts, and other items you need as a reminder. They should not create restrictions within which you should speak.
  • Do not forget the K.I.S.S. - "Keep it short and simple!" ("Make it shorter and easier!"). If the presentation is too long or too complicated, listeners lose interest.
  • Use handouts if necessary. This is especially useful to mathematicians if the topic of the presentation includes complex calculations.
  • Gather all the necessary information about the place of your speech (technical equipment, your place in the conference program, the expected number of students and their level of education, the time allotted for your presentation).
  • Learn from other speakers! Learning the techniques used by high-class professionals will help you in your presentations.


  • Do not apologize if any slide is completely understandable or contains data that is not well understood. Instead, quickly explain why you need it and move on to the next.
  • Never drag out a presentation! This is the worst way to complete it, and by then you will have lost the audience’s attention.
  • Make sure that the programs and computer equipment you need for the presentation are compatible with the equipment installed where you will conduct it. Do not put off this question until the last moment.
  • If you use a presentation in PowerPoint, you can set a certain speed for it to avoid going beyond the allotted time. If you find that you devote a lot of time to concepts that are not directly related to what is expected of you to hear, tell briefly that you can skip the rest, and make a brief conclusion, outlining the main idea.
  • Take care of organizing visual information, colors, fonts, and logical structure. The external impression of the presentation is often no less important than its content.
  • Avoid trying to explain something without proper data, evidence, and research that can prove it. Gain the confidence of the audience by basing your presentation on real facts and discoveries in your area. Although your main goal is to inform and clarify, it is possible that you will have to force your skeptical listeners to accept a certain point of view.

What do you need

  • Elegant and neat clothes suitable for the climate and for your environment
  • Your presentation and related hardware and software
  • Perhaps a projector for a large screen
  • A backup copy of the presentation file on a separate medium in case your device breaks down or is incompatible with the equipment in the audience.
  • Cards with reminders during the report
  • Laser pointer (optional)
  • A glass or bottle of water (no chewing gum!)

Additional articles

Why do you need to make presentations?

The first thing to be puzzled is something like this: “What the hell do I need to do something?” Of course, depending on the context, the wording may change: from the banal “what the hell?” Or “do I need it?” And ending with a mercantile "What will I get from this?" And ask yourself a similar question is a must. Fair.

To make it easier to find the answer, here's a quick tip: if you are not a notorious loafer who just wants to rub his tongue, thereby satisfying his physiological and mental need, then the key word for you is “sharing”.

Sharing is the exchange, sharing, voluntary flow of fluids and information flows from one place to another. As a rule, the saturating motivation of the report is the fact that you need or want to share something with someone.

As an option: you need to tell something, because your job responsibilities include the preparation of plans and reports, or, say, without the defense of a thesis you are refused to issue a diploma. You want to tell something so that to convince someone of something or make the audience look differently at some things.

Between these two issues ("why?" and "for what?") there is a subtle difference. The first is more about introductory, inducing, and binding factors (“Share because. "), the second - rather motivating and projected for the future (“Share to. ") In practice, both are often relevant, however, the prevalence of one or the other is also important, since it can determine the presentation format and the restrictions imposed.

For example, a report at a scientific conference or the defense of a thesis, as a rule, involves a rather strict format of presentation and the corresponding structure of the report and presentation, starting with the statement of the task and ending with conclusions and future plans. Speaking to investors with a presentation on a given template as a bureaucratic procedure can also involve very specific blocks in the story, usually without kittens and other pranks.

On the other hand, if you share experience in an informal circle of close friends or speak to colleagues at an industrial it-conference where you can allow yourself liberties or you need to work with an audience, then your space for maneuvers is greatly expanded. It can be just a conversation with sketches on napkins, and waving hands without slides. And here you can sometimes be a little disgraceful, of course, in the framework of decency :)

Therefore, I repeat, when preparing for the report, it is important to answer two questions: why do you need to share information and what do you want to achieve. В принципе, думать над ними можно в рамках дихотомии: что вы потеряете, оставив сокровенное при себе, и что вы приобретете, неся свет мысли в массы.

Теперь, когда вы знаете ответы на оба вопроса, вы готовы сформулировать цель вашего выступления. На мой взгляд, такая цель обязательно должна содержать выхлоп — некоторый результат, проецируемый на будущее ваших слушателей.

Представьте себе, что прямая линия в центре на картинке выше — это отрезок вашей жизненной линий. At some point (left point) you tell your report: here your life line intersects with the lines of all your listeners. Next, the presentation will end and your lines will scatter in different directions.

The goal you formulate for your presentation should be about how the life lines of the audience or your own will behave in the future. For example, with your performance, you can provoke their intersections - be it sales, joint projects, other events or just new useful contacts you can follow on Twitter :) With some of the listeners, perhaps
you will never intersect directly in your life, but your presentation can affect their behavior patterns, way of thinking and attitude to certain objects and circumstances - for example, the image of a company or events in society. Or, another useful exhaust: your own line may change - as a result of feedback during or after the report.

Concretization of future changes in your or external life lines is the goal of your performance.

A useful model for formulating the goal is to find the answer in the form of 5W + H: who, what, when, where, why and how. Who are you going to influence? What do you want to change in their lines? When and where should these changes occur? Why will your “who” change their lines and how exactly will they do it?

Of course, in practice, this may turn out to be too difficult an exercise (you probably have itched your pen for a long time and opened PowerPoint with the first slide?). Therefore, do not overdo it in casuistry of answers to strange questions. The simple “I want to share my experience so that the students do not make my mistakes and become better about our company, thinking of it as a progressive it-company” - it already sounds quite convincing.

How to prepare a presentation?

With a goal in mind, it's time to move on to preparing the presentation. Hm. I think it's time to close your PowerPoint and set it aside for a few days. Preparing a presentation is a long and painful process that can drag on for days or even weeks. Of course, if you have so much time. In practice, it also happens that you need to make a presentation “tomorrow”, then this whole process is shortened to several hours, which is not very good, unless you know in advance what exactly you will tell, to whom and why.

I must say that the latter is a completely traditional scenario in the life of an evangelist who needs to convey the same idea to different similar audiences. In such situations, as a rule, it is enough to refresh memory and comb the presentation, taking into account the context, updating individual slides and updating information. As a rule, this means that the preparatory work of serial performances has been carried out earlier - and it is not much different from everything that I will talk about later.

So, you need to prepare a unique or serial performance. What to do? Get ready!

1. Put yourself in the soup

First of all, you need to immerse yourself in the topic of the planned speech, cook in the topic, reason on various related topics, talk with colleagues, collect information, ... do something.

Be distracted, jump freely on related topics, look for parallels.

Your task is to seed your brain, encourage it to start thinking about the performance and what exactly you will be telling.

2. Add spices and firewood

From time to time it is important to add spices to the soup and firewood to the fire. Look for tasty details, browse through potentially interesting materials while continuing to “pump” your brain with the topic of your speech. This all strengthens the connections between your neurons and allows the brain to more and more clearly “see” the space for speech: the whole picture as well as individual bright touches of the future history.

While you are shoveling mountains of information or just studying something, perhaps related to your topic, but, by the way, it’s not necessary - take notes, write down everything that can come in handy later.

For example, when I was preparing to speak at the “Toaster” conference with a story about the evolution of the web, it so happened that in parallel I read several books about the evolution of wildlife (in particular, “Parasites. The Secret World” by Karl Zimmer), which in general well intersected with the topic of the planned report. The more I plunged into both directions, the more I saw interesting analogies that could be drawn between the evolution of various creatures and the evolution of the web.

All such interesting things and goodies were recorded in a notebook and marked with bookmarks in the book:

Later, individual finds successfully interwoven into the report:

At this stage, it is also important to be aware when the cooking process should end and it will be time to proceed to the next steps. If you have time, you can cook. If there are a few days left (before the performance, sending slides or any other important control mark), you need to round off.

3. Speak

The next important step is to start talking about the topic of your presentation, to speak both in separate pieces, and try to tell the whole thing that you want to convey to the audience. Moreover, the key task is not to learn how to speak, for example, doing this exercise in front of a mirror, but to put into verbal form everything that is spinning in your head. Build verbal form logical connections, transitions, questions and appeals to the audience.

Do it yourself with yourself. Discuss individual details with colleagues, friends, acquaintances. Make your brain think about your performance. The more you do this, the more free speech and thought flow will be, and, by the way, the easier it will be for you to answer questions from viewers. Strengthen the connections between the neurons of your brain :)

An important point in “speaking” is that, going through this procedure, you can in practice (your own experience) see and hear the problem points:

  • blockers in which you don’t know what to say or how to formulate a thought,
  • loops in which your thought begins to repeat, and you revolve around the same idea and cannot jump further,
  • time absorbers in which you start to talk a lot and go too deep into details.

Celebrate all such moments for yourself. Simplify your speech and articulate your thoughts more clearly.

4. Draw a structure

Now that you have more or less a story structure in your head, try to fix it. I usually use simple lists or mindmaps, or other sketchy compositions. As a medium, a regular notebook or sheet of paper, and a whiteboard, and just any application with the appropriate functionality that will not distract you from additional actions are suitable.

For example, when I was preparing to conduct a design workshop for Windows Phone at some point in my notebook there was a list like this:

It is important to note key topics, sort, prioritize, arrange the order of presentation and ... figure out the timing. In the example above, I had 3.5 hours for a master class, which could be conditionally divided into 21 slots for 10 minutes (3.5 hours = 210 minutes), respectively, I had to leave about 21 mini-themes.

As a result, this also affected the final presentation accompanying the event:

Another example: when I was preparing for the report on UserExperience'11, having a fragmentary picture in my head (including due to the fact that I had to make presentations and write articles on similar topics), I wrote in key notebook key topics that pretty quickly transformed into the 5A principle (Accessible, Adaptive, Agile, Async, Attractive):

In the subsequent stages, it remained to translate this into a presentation and make a report:

And here is what the intelligence map of this article and the corresponding webinar looked like:

So: speak and draw.

5. Repeat

Fixation and development are interconnected and mutually supportive processes. It is often difficult to immediately tell the entire contents of the report, or at least fully present it in your head. In this sense, fixing on paper (or another medium) is an excellent tool for the development of thought, as it allows you to visually display the key points of the story. Such supportive phrases and concepts also allow you to keep focus and not get distracted very much from the main exposition.

Therefore, in practice, you can move iteratively: think, talk about the report, fix it. Try to talk more, taking into account the fixed plan - see what happens. Further expand, deepen, make adjustments or rewrite everything completely from scratch. Repeat the cycle until ready.

From time to time, you can also return to the second step: to be distracted for a while, broaden your horizons, look for additional details and give the brain the opportunity to continue to think on a topic in a passive mode.

What is important to remember about structure and composition?

If you were previously interested in the theory (recommendations) for creating presentations, you probably met with such a scheme:

Perhaps you met her in some other variation. For example, they could tell you about 5 bullets, the minimum text size and some other “important” parameters.

My practice shows that all this is useful only in the first stages, when you have little experience, since it allows you to avoid very childish stupidities and mistakes. However, further, if you have a head on your shoulders and you are not without sanity, forget:

The truth is that there is no one single and universal approach for all occasions, suitable for all types of presentations. He is simply not there. Therefore, the only thing that can save you is logic, common sense and a sense of taste, backed up by experience.

But if there is, these are some general tips and understanding of some important aspects of the functioning of the living brain. Let's talk a bit about this.


In any work (book, movie, opera, etc.) there is some composition - the structure of the narrative construction, leading the viewer from the beginning to the end of the story, maintaining interest in it and guiding to the key ideas that the author wanted to convey (composer, writer , director, etc.).

In the work, one can conditionally single out several acts that describe the introduction to the situation, its development up to the key action and the completion of the story. During his journey, the hero goes through a number of important stages, meets challenges, undergoes transformation, and ultimately wins:

Of course, in practice, the specific outline of one story will always be different from the outline of another. There will be a different plot, different timing and different proportions. Somewhere you will share bitter experience, and somewhere you will share successful solutions. In some cases, you will tell one specific story throughout the story, while in others you will have many small ones connected by some common idea.

In general, it should be noted that you can look at the composition scheme in different ways, noting for yourself certain important nuances:

Firstly, it turns out to be important to “suspend” the story on some anchors (hooks) that will support the presentation and help the viewer to navigate what is happening and track the dynamics of development. These are reference points that establish the context. In practice, for example, they can be references, reminders of what was told earlier and what role is played by what you are going to tell now. It can also be some cross-cutting line permeating your abstract reasoning.

For example, when I made a presentation on Software People about development under Windows 8, such reference points were a visual division into 5 parts (“5 main points that you need to remember”) and a cross-cutting topic “who you need as a team” :

Secondly, for the story to develop towards the main idea of ​​your story (the culmination of the story), you must periodically push the viewer up. These can be both supporting historical intermediate ideas (for example, in the report on the evolution of the web that I talked about above, such stories were analogies with the evolution of wildlife), and some points of attention (attractors) that concentrate the audience’s interest before the next jump.

Thirdly, your story may require a certain sequence of presentation, gradually introducing the listener to the course of things. You will have a foundation in which you can identify the starting point, problems that need to be dealt with, solutions, as alternatives facing the hero, the choice and resolution of the story, as the climax. A kind of pyramid in which each subsequent layer is based on the previous one.

Mix themes

Another important point is the interweaving of stories, when you have parallel storylines, or you need to interweave different manifestations of a key topic or different types of content (for example, pictures, videos, demonstrations, etc.) during a story.

In this case, you can consider the line of your story as a spiral, sequentially passing through all the topics that are subject to plexus into one story. With this approach, you can clearly track the development of history, and make sure that you do not miss the insertion of important related ideas.

For example, preparing a key opening report for HTML5Camp:

we kept such a scheme in mind. The main story revolved around the evolution of the web and the juxtaposition of web applications and native applications, leading to the conclusion that the boundaries between these concepts are gradually blurring. The key topics were: web development, web standards and Internet Explorer + development tools.

The story began with the evolution of the web, went on to the evolution of web standards, then projected onto the Internet Explorer development cycle. The second cycle began with the juxtaposition of the web and native development, moving on to challenges on the web and ways to solve problems, projecting onto the capabilities supported by IE and the necessary development tools. The third cycle talked about trends in the IT industry and their intersections with the web, switched to the importance of standardization and ended with investments in IE, including in the mobile version. The final fourth cycle described the conference itself: from different topics and different speakers to a reminder of the next DevCon'12 conference.

In general, our keynote had a more or less classical structure, although perhaps this is not immediately obvious from the description above. Gradually moving from one topic to another, including during the demonstrations, the idea developed that today's web is increasingly catching up with the desktop. The culmination of history was at the end of the second cycle, when, summing up the search for answers, Alexander Lozhechkin said that web technologies and the browser not only catch up, but also become a platform for native development, hinting at Windows 8. Then followed two short final cycle.

Your structure may differ from the classics. For example, you can invert the presentation by starting with the result and then talking about how and why you came to it. Whatever your presentation, the most important thing is that the structure is in principle:

And about time

I already mentioned about 10 minutes when I talked about preparing a workshop on Windows Phone. Perhaps you managed to be puzzled, what is the reason for this figure? So, our brain
gets tired when they shove the same thing into it:

Therefore, from time to time it is necessary to attract the attention of the audience, changing the topic, context, telling stories, moving from words to demonstrations, videos, etc.

Hence an important conclusion: it is necessary not only to build the structure of the story, but also to break it into pieces for about 10 minutes or less, each of which will “re-gain” the attention of the audience. Of course, if only your story lasts more than 10 minutes.

As you know, the same idea can be conveyed:

  • in one tweet
  • short minute “elevator pitch”
  • in 5 minutes, as is done in the Ignite Show,
  • in 20 minutes, as in TED,
  • in 30 minutes, 45, an hour, two.
  • etc.

Your thought may turn out to be quite scalable in time, however, its perception by the audience may begin to suffer simply because of the peculiarities of human perception of information. Therefore, as soon as you jump over the threshold of 10-15 minutes of a monotonous story, your viewer begins to fall asleep - and he needs to be awakened. In this sense, do not forget to especially mark the points where you will focus the audience’s attention and make sure that they are enough to maintain interest in the outline of your report.

Finally, before we move on (in the second part) to PowerPoint and making presentations, I can't help but recall the Seth Godin pyramid:

History is more important than slides. Yes. If you do not have a single story and no structure, this is bad. Of course, you just can poison the jokes, but this is probably not what your viewers came for. At best, they will remember some good jokes. If you talk too much and get sprayed, it's bad. No one will remember the main thing. If you forget to attract the attention of the audience, everyone will just fall asleep.