This article should be read as a continuation of the previous post in our series about the importance of data visualization in business communication – a broad area encompassing our concept of Gantt Art. Our last post absorbed what we considered to be the main and most valuable points of the first half of the 2010 guide: Speaking PowerPoint, by Bruce R. Gabrielle, along with our own thoughts or additional references where appropriate. We will complete this review in the next two posts.
In Part two of this series, we’ll explore the next sections of the book. The author has quite a bit more to provide by way of suggestions, ideas and examples relative to creating a great presentation overall.
In this part of the book we found a few “gems” which we will highlight with a bold, capitalized “GEM:”
Key Points from the author’s method – Part 2
4. Organize your evidence.
While the previous guidelines provided suggestions for setting your audience up to understand the point of the content they are about to absorb, this point begins to tackle how to think about organizing the meat and potatoes.
The following are options for potential arrangement:
- Cause – Effect: Working logically from a broad set of information into more details that lead to your proposed actions.
- Effect – Cause: Placing your detailed data up front and then working into the broader set of information.
- Categorical: Breaking the material down into subject areas or categories within each slide
- Ranking: This is using a value to order content. The value could be importance, risk, cost, etc.
Let’s say we have a new product proposal for a new stylish electric vehicle that is nice to look at. Our arrangement of data might look like this if we were to use Cause – Effect:
The following are additional helpful ideas for how to achieve the ideal arrangement of your slides:
- Unrestricted blurt: writing all of your thoughts down in Word or on paper where you are not inherently limited in your space is a good way to hone your argument and plan for your final copy to be created in PowerPoint.
- Mind-Mapping: Draw a bubble around a central thought in the middle of a piece of paper, then use additional bubbles and lines to capture and connect your other thoughts, thereby building your argument. Here is a good example of a mind-map.
- Storyboarding: Gabrielle suggests creating a storyboard of your rough draft is a good way to check flow and maximize arrangement of your slides. Each slide can be represented by a notecard or sheet of paper that would include title, rough placement of elements, and specific items of emphasis. Here is a good example of a storyboard.
5. Make an emotional connection with your audience
Gabrielle discusses the role of emotion in decision-making and influence as something that needs to be thought about when creating your content. He suggests that while your slides should be based on logic, if you have a point to make you also need attempt to put the reader in the frame of mind such that they will accept your argument.
Statistics and data are dry so you need to think about what content or design choice will touch the reader’s emotions, which will lead to reduced resistance in being influenced.
GEM: Avoidance of anything controversial or that might stir up thoughts or feelings of dissent can assist with success in fostering the desired emotions from the audience.
Things that may help you reach our audience on an emotional level are use of:
• Aesthetics – think cleanliness
• Slide order
In our third and final post in this series, we’ll cover important aspects of design, and introduce the concept of information design.