When presenting to a group, here are five tips for using slides as an emotional, provocative tool to enhance your personal connection to your live audience. In no time, you will be ready to present your own TED Talk.
Open with one emotional image. For instance, share a picture of a child. Then tell the story of that child and how your organization helps.
Andy Goodman’s newsletter also provides some helpful insights for choosing between different types of images.
Or you can open with a metaphorical analogy. In Lightbox Collaborative’s Take Charge of Your Editorial Process as Air Traffic Control, Lauren Girardin makes a poignant air traffic analogy to illustrate how difficult it is to manage the launch and flight of your editorial content. People relate to an analogy like this and it allows you to share how your organization can help overcome this kind of adversity.
This is a great technique for engaging your audience with a little suspense. Set up a moment in a story, then let the slide knock it down for you. For instance, “We started with an annual revenue goal of $200,000, and by using targeted techniques, by the end of the campaign… (click to reveal “$2M”) we had achieved ten times our goal.”
When we pressure our audience to consume many slides, we lose an essential, emotional audience connection. Venture capitalist and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki created his “10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint” because he could no longer stand the overload of unnecessary data in entrepreneurs’ pitches. Here’s the rule: your PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain a font no smaller than 30 points.
Rehearsing out loud is best, but if you can’t practice out loud, rehearse the entire presentation quietly in your head, stepping through the slides as if you are speaking out loud. Do this many times. You want the slides to be an extension of your story, not cue cards for a robotic delivery. You don’t have to memorize your presentation, but you are the driver and the PowerPoint is your vehicle, not the other way around. After all, it didn’t write itself!
At the end of your presentation, focus on answering the question “Why.” As Simon Sinek author of Start With Why says in his TED Talk, "people don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." Why is your mission important? Why does your organization matter? Focus less on the past (“We’re super great because of all the super great things we’ve achieved!”), and more on the future (“We believe if we do this, we can make people’s lives better, maybe even change the world.”)
For more advice, I also recommend Six Effective Storytelling Techniques That Can Help You Engage Your Donors from Forbes.
Remember, if you focus on simple emotional images of heart, struggle, and triumph, you’ll be amazing. No dread, all TED!