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  1. Adopt a beginners mind

As the old saying goes, in the experts’ mind there are few possibilities, in the beginners mind the world is wide open. Take a step back from what your presentation is about and think like a beginner.

  1. Start analog

Don’t worry about how to present, think about what the central idea is. That can be done with pencil and paper. Think about the central idea, not the tools and content and the look and feel.

  1. Clarify your intention

Design is a process, a series of choices and intentions. What is the intention of your central idea in the presentation? What design elements can you bring in that support that intention?

  1. Check your ego at the door

This presentation is not about you and what you can do – it is about the audience.  Look at the central idea from their point of view. The initial presentation challenge is to become empathic with the audience.

  1. Think communication

Design is about making things clear with as much economy and simplicity as possible[1]. Once you have a central idea, understand your intention and can think like a beginner in the audience, then what are you communicating? What should the receiver of this presentation receive? How can you deliver that message with as simple a look and feel as possible?

  1. Tell a story

Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning is the set up – who is involved, what is the context. In the middle – something happens, there are changes to those involved or the context around them. And in the end there is a resolution to whatever happened. Your presentation is better designed if it tells a story.

  1. Simplify

Simple messages conveyed simply. You may have heard the 10-20-30 rule but the best presentations I have seen usually have slides with one word on them. It is a central idea, the one word may be simply stated but it is crafted well. By that I mean the font, colour position are attractive and command attention. But it is only one word.




[1] Reynolds, Garr Presentation Zen Design, Berkeley CA: New Riders, 2010