presentations

Good Presenters are Great Storytellers. Presentation Exec Shares His Tips

Ramon Ray sat down for a video chat with Lou Giacalone, COO of Beautiful.AI, to discuss the company’s newest tool. This tool will be of special interest to all of you out there who have struggled with creating visually strong presentations. It allows non graphic designers to create more eye-popping presentations without the time and stress that normally goes into creating a PowerPoint, for example.

Lou sums up the popular feeling about presentations well -

“We're thinking about persuading people to do things. We're thinking about stories we want to tell to get people excited or motivated and we're not necessarily thinking about like ‘Oh, this is the best representation for how this should look’...”.

Ramon and Lou dove deeper into the nitty gritty of what it really means to present, and how many people are using their presentations as a ‘data dump’ instead of helpful support tools. According to their conversation, research has shown that people cannot both listen to a presenter talk and read the information on the presentation - it’s always one or the other.

“...it's about having that confidence about your story and then bringing in visuals that reinforce that or again, convey ideas that are harder to tell with words…” - Lou Giacalone

So how do you create a presentation that tells the story, without taking away from the story you are telling the audience? How do you present, and use your presentation as your support, without taking away from your words?

Lou says the key is to keep the presentation simple, and use it to backup your story, rather than tell it. And, this tool from Beautiful.AI will help you accomplish just that. Using the ‘emphasis’ feature, you can create slides with several different points or stats, and this feature will emphasize the most important one for you, so that you when you’re speaking about it, your audience can stay focused.

“...and that's what we're trying to get out, is all the stuff that you've been trying to force yourself to learn and adapt to and again, overcome your own skills deficit whether it's design or storytelling [...] we're here to make that jump a lot easier…”

And, without being solely focusing on the presentation, you can better interact with your audience. Lou says that there are three ways to help create a stronger impact, and leave a lasting impression:

  • Making eye contact
  • Smiling
  • Interacting with the audience

Unsure how to interact with your audience? You aren’t doing stand-up comedy or a magic show, so the key is to really be simple about it. Walking around, gesturing to someone, asking a question, or using someone’s name (if you happen to know it) will keep your audience focused on you and what you’re saying.

Presenting to an audience - students, investors, colleagues, a boss - require you to share knowledge in a way that will pass information efficiently. Lou also advises against using jargon or acronyms, saying, “You gotta make everybody feel like the message is for them and if you're using language that they don't understand, then that's no good and it's unclear.”

Another tip to keep in mind while presenting - slow down. We’ve all sat through presentations where the speaker was going too fast to be able to absorb anything. It leaves us with our heads spinning and without a  clear understanding of the information that was presented. Speak slowly, pause where needed, and allow your words to have impact.