It’s Time to Go Back to Basics!

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During the last three years of the pandemic, presenters have had to adapt to a set of time and media changes. As the number of face-to-face-meetings in which we can use body language to build relationships helps win the deal, we increased the number of virtual presentations which included fewer relationship building opportunities and reliance more on the content and style of the presentation. Faster turn-around time for developing the material often meant using a less than fully polished presentation. For instance, one study found that the presence of visual clutter and hard-to-read fonts were making virtual learning harder to do.

Mark Twain is famous for saying that “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” Others have made similar comments.  Data dumps are easy to do quickly; crafting a meaningful, concise, audience engaging and impactful presentation takes longer. 

Take a good look at the material you’ve been producing for virtual presentations that were hastily designed. Is clutter, difficult to read fonts (e.g., serif instead of san-serif fonts), poor choices of color (e.g., shades of gray instead of contrasting colors) and poor design decisions which don’t drive the audience to be persuaded affecting the impact of your presentations.

I’m reminded of an investor presentation, in which the “unique sales proposition” was buried in a footnote in the second section of the presentation. Yes, it was included; but no-one remembered ever reading it.

It may be time to share your corporate design standards with all the new workers who were “onboarded” virtually and never saw them before. Economists suggest that 2023 is going to challenge businesses in the US; using presentations that are difficult to read and ultimately not compelling, will only make the situation worse.   Do so now.