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Creating great decks: The Origins, the "Why", and 12 Tips to Make Yours Better.

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A big part of what we do is in the story we tell and how it’s presented. You’re probably thinking… decks, decks, and more decks. We hate em’, yet we love the good ones. There’s a certain formula that is used for every impactful story, speech, slide, and keynote. In this presentation we take a step back and really try to look at the elements of an impactful presentation. We've codified all of what goes into making a great deck, starting with the origins, the why, and ending with few tips to help elevate yours for whatever purposes they serve.

Published in: Design

Creating great decks: The Origins, the "Why", and 12 Tips to Make Yours Better.

  1. 1. Creating great decks. T H E O R I G I N S , T H E “ W H Y,” 
 A N D 1 2 T I P S T O M A K E Y O U R S B E T T E R .
  2. 2. Every presentation has a
  3. 3. The 6 “whys” I N F O R M I N S T R U C T E N T E R T A I N I N S P I R E / M O T I V A T E A C T I V A T E / S T I M U L A T E P E R S U A D E
  4. 4. They impact the way we view life.
  5. 5. Don’t believe me? They impact the way we view life.
  6. 6. Instills faith
  7. 7. So, where did it all start?
  8. 8. 15,000 BCLascaux Cave paintings
  9. 9. 2100 BCEpic of Gilgamesh
  10. 10. 300 BC Aesop’s Fables
  11. 11. The exchange of stories is a behavior engrained within us
  12. 12. Ok, what’s the point?
  13. 13. We swim in a sea of
  14. 14. Wait, they’re not the same?
  15. 15. Nope.
  16. 16. Character (s) Things happen to this set of characters Happen in time, or through a beginning, middle, or end. Exist in a place. Have an underlying theme. Stories have a few things…
  17. 17. Consists of a deliberate structure Instills a way of looking at the world But, a narrative is more. Overarching concept or structure that gives meaning How thoughts, visuals, and events are arranged for impact
  18. 18. “slides” have been a thing for a long time
  19. 19. designed & composed by craftsmen for a hefty price
  20. 20. The challenge: Make your point using as few slides as possible Fast forward to today…
  21. 21. The craft is dying.
  22. 22. A narrative + a point creates more impact than slides full of facts
  23. 23. The left The right Understands language Processes data Logic Facts Numbers Art and creativity Responds with emotion Intuition Doesn’t process language Holistic thought
  24. 24. A successful deck activates both sides
  25. 25. 01
  26. 26. 01 // Define a process “Quality is not an act, 
 it is a habit.” – A R I S T O T L E
  27. 27. – Have a process. Feel free to show it. – Start with post-its, a google doc, the adobe suite, an empty notebook, whatever works best for you. – Focus on the point you’re trying to make. – Then, think about it across a timeline. – The slides come last. (People are probably cringing) 01 // Define a process
  28. 28. 02
  29. 29. 02 // Know your context “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” – E L I E L S A A R I N E N
  30. 30. – Tailor your presentation and its contents to your audience and its key players. – Determine the emotions or feelings you want your audience to have. – Use a relevant information style, visual, analytical, technical, etc. – Have a bigger vision of where your deck will end up. Will everyone hear you present it? Is someone going to see this presentation with no context? 02 // Know your context
  31. 31. 03
  32. 32. 03 // Create a Narrative “A computer is a lite brite for bad fu*king ideas.” – G F D A
  33. 33. – Think before you type. – Have an underlying idea, perspective, or structure that will support a point you’re trying to make. – Connect the dots for your audience at a higher level. 03 // Create a Narrative
  34. 34. 04
  35. 35. 04 // Start where you want to end, then work backwards. “Aim for a button and miss by two inches. Aim for a shirt and miss by two feet.” – A M E R I C A N S N I P E R
  36. 36. – Define your endpoint. – Boil it down to a TLDR; – Now , this is your point to aim for. – Working backwards will help you build your narrative structure, while keeping sight on the point you’re trying to make. 04 // Start where you want to end, then work backwards.
  37. 37. 05
  38. 38. 05 // Lead with the problem “Sell the problem you solve. Not the product” – U N K N O W N
  39. 39. 05 // Lead with the problem – Leading with a problem grounds your audience. Anything you say after that sounds like a solution. – Starting with a conflict makes it easier to sell a solution. – This sets a baseline to compare your thinking / execution against.
  40. 40. 06
  41. 41. “If you are trying to get information across to someone, your ability to create a compelling introduction may be the most important single factor in the later success of your mission.” – J O H N M E D I N A 06 // Introduce your idea
  42. 42. – Pretend your audience doesn’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Because they don’t! – Introduce the why behind your idea or point your trying to make. – Ease into it. Lead with inspiration, a concept write up, sizzle, or mood. – Think of this as the climb to the summit (big reveal), but you don’t want to rush it. – Use this to build anticipation and level set your audience so everyone understands. 06 // Introduce your idea
  43. 43. 07
  44. 44. 07 // Create peak moments “Getting to the top has an unfortunate tendency to persuade people that the system is OK after all.” – A L A I N D E B O T T O N
  45. 45. 07 // Create peak moments – Building anticipation gives these moments impact. – You’ve emotionally captured your audience. – You’ve started with the problem and now is the time to offer your fresh thinking. – Sell in this moment. Your audience is vulnerable.
  46. 46. 08
  47. 47. 08 // Minimize “Make things as simple as possible but no simpler.” – A L B E R T E I N S T E I N
  48. 48. 08 // Minimize – If you can say it with a visual, do it. – If you have to say it with words, do it. – Throw 1,000 words on a slide and a single one has no meaning. – Ask yourself with fresh eyes, do you really need that section? That slide? That last paragraph? – Simplify until there is nothing left to remove. Then, you’re done. – Actually, K.I.S.S.
  49. 49. 09
  50. 50. 09 // Have a visual language “To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” – M I LT O N G L A S E R
  51. 51. 09 // Have a visual language – Select a typeface with various weights, maybe a second one if needed. – Use color to drive the eye. Keep your palettes small. – Use a grid, or at the very least line sh*t up. It’ll make it easier to read and understand. – Negative space is as important as the content. It gives the eye relief. – An image says 1,000 words. If it occupies less than a quarter of the slide, do you really need it? Keep them large and impactful. AND HIGH RESOLUTION. – Just because you can use a ton of animations and effects, doesn’t mean you should. Have a purpose.
  52. 52. 10
  53. 53. “Nothing is anything by itself, only in relation to other things.” – R O B E R T L E V E R S // Establish a hierarchy10
  54. 54. // Establish a hierarchy10 – Visual Hierarchy (Size and Scale, Color and Contrast, Typography large to small and spacing and proximity. – Start with 3 type sizes (Headline, sub-headline, and body copy) Build out other sizes as needed. – Visual breaks (divider slides and negative space) – 1 key theme or takeaway per slide
  55. 55. 11
  56. 56. “Sometimes the most simple conclusion is also the most correct.” – J U L I E G A R W O O D // Conclude11
  57. 57. // Conclude11 – You walked your audience through a lot. Give a TLDR; recap and keep it short. – Repeat your core message . – Provide your recommendations. – Ask for specific action, and make it clear. – Open up for questions and answers. – Be remembered.
  58. 58. 12
  59. 59. “Are you aware that rushing toward a goal is a sublimated death wish? It's no coincidence we call them deadlines.” – T O M R O B B I N S 12 // Don’t procrastinate
  60. 60. – No one wins when waiting until the last minute. Not clients, not teams, not you, no one. Your presentation certainly won’t win anything either. – Keep coming back to it with fresh eyes. – Give yourself time to rehearse and refine. – Hitting CMD + S and walking into your meeting is instant, but the impression you leave with a sh*tty deck lasts a lot longer. 12 // Don’t procrastinate
  61. 61. We make decks because people crave stories. And, a deck with a narrative sells sh*t.
  62. 62. There’s 12 steps to make your next deck great…
  63. 63. 1. Define your process
  64. 64. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context
  65. 65. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative
  66. 66. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards
  67. 67. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem
  68. 68. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea
  69. 69. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments
  70. 70. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments 8. Minimize
  71. 71. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments 8. Minimize 9. Have a visual language
  72. 72. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments 8. Minimize 9. Have a visual language 10. Establish a hierarchy
  73. 73. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments 8. Minimize 9. Have a visual language 10. Establish a hierarchy 11. Conclude
  74. 74. 1. Define your process 2. Know the context 3. Creative a narrative 4. Start where you want to end, then work backwards 5. Lead with the problem 6. Introduce your idea 7. Create peak moments 8. Minimize 9. Have a visual language 10. Establish a hierarchy 11. Conclude 12. Don’t procrastinate
  75. 75. Appendix
  76. 76. Resources Digital Surgeons Slide Share Slide:ology – The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations Resonate – Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences Understanding Sparklines Made to Stick Success Models Hooked – How to Build Habit Forming Products
  77. 77. Great Articles The 6 Main Purposes of Presentations Before Powerpoint: The History of Presentations Slides Before Powerpoint A Very Brief History of Storytelling 10 Tips to Make Slides That Communicate Your Idea Narrative Structure of Great Presentations Story vs. Narrative Story vs. Narrative and Why There’s Always a Better Brand Story

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