Need to improve your presentation? Looking for some inspiration? You need to think a little bigger, then. It’s not about an onslaught of information, impressive animations, an assault of images* or – the biggest crime – more text on each slide.

* (although if they’re original/beautiful you can be onto something there. I took the photo above. It probably only relays about 10% of the awe I felt looking out over London at 8:30am from a great height, but it’s a good start).

Instead, you need to get to the heart of the very concept of presentations themselves. Why do so many people stand up to speak in front of other people, anyway?

To persuade them.

It’s about moving the audience to actually do something. So, the key point is to identify what you want them to be thinking at the end.

Here are some bad examples which the presenter would not intend to happen:

‘Wow. Blandness and boredom have been redefined.’

‘Eh? Are we done?’

Instead, you want to aim for this kind of thought in the audience’s minds as you close:

‘I must tell everyone I know about this.’

‘What a hero. I want to hear them speak again.’

No amount of info, graphical slickness or animated gifs will achieve this. What you need is a grand cause, a story and a reason for the audience to get involved.

Last week I was part of a 2-day pitching boot camp for new games developers for Games London. It took place on the 32nd floor of a building in Liverpool Street, which itself was pretty inspiring. They all did really well, but one person took my advice regarding involving the environment: they described how, much like the venue being elevated above the chaos of London, their game would take the player to a peaceful place of relaxing gameplay. They moved me with a simple technique (the fact it was one which I’d taught them earlier in the day impressed me further).

What you need to do:

  1. Look for the main theme of your presentation or pitch. It could be something simple and obvious, such as clarity, honesty, or collaboration (you may only discover it when you’ve finished your first draft).
  2. Find a metaphor, image or aspect of the location which you can use to make your material relevant.
  3. Show some passion and emotion for your subject.

That’s it.

Think big, it’s the way to inspire people and convert them to your cause.

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