Many speakers use graphic design, but few actually use slides that add to a speech. We spoke to Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design in Silicon Valley, who created the slides Al Gore used in his Oscar-winning 2006 film: An Inconvenient Truth.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I run a design firm that helps with the messaging and graphic support for some of the best brands and top leaders in the world.
Are slides important when delivering a good speech or presentation?
Visuals are a way to emotionally connect with your audience. There are lots of types of media trying to grab your attention so having some sort of visual device helps your audience to remember your points and creates a better connection.
I”Don`t start at the computer, step away, brainstorm, sketch, create tonnes of ideas and then narrow it down to the best ones.”
Is there a magic formula for designing slides?
You should approach everything differently. As soon as it gets formulaic, it ends up being a cliché. Don`t start at the computer, step away, brainstorm, sketch, create tonnes of ideas and then narrow it down to the best ones.
How many bullet points should I have on my slides?
It depends on what you`re trying to communicate. Have as few words up there as you need. If you have bullet points, maybe keep it to one word per line, or even just put one word on your whole slide.
What about clip art?
That`s a tricky one. Everything in your presentation must add value and meaning. Sometimes people want everything to animate, gyrate, bounce and hop all over the screen but if it doesn`t add value then don`t use it. If everything is animating there is no opportunity for contrast, and that`s very important too.
Have you heard of ‘Death by PowerPoint’?
Yes, and it has killed a lot of things. I`m starting to hear people talk about banning PowerPoint from their company. This is pretty extreme. You don`t have to kick it out, look at Al Gore. Just use it to your advantage.
What are the pitfalls?
People can sacrifice content for design, or design for content. They have to work together and not compete.
What do you look for in a presentation?
I look for someone who can put together a really great structure and has passion. The passion isn`t just in the delivery. Passion is in the image selection and the graphics too. I have to feel that they`ve cared enough to have done a good job.
\”I look for someone who can put together a really great structure and has passion. The passion isn\`t just in the delivery. Passion is in the image selection and the graphics too.\”
Who are your favourites in the world of presentations?
Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, is an iconic presenter and uses the medium really well. The difference between a good presenter and a bad one is the relationship they have with their slides.
When it came to Al Gore and `The Inconvenient Truth`, people don`t realise that he had done the presentation over a thousand times before making the film. He knew the material so well, that his relationship with the slides was incredibly strong.
I`ve also had the privilege of working with TED this year. TED is a conference featuring some of the greatest minds and topics on the planet. Anyone who is on the TED website is a great speaker.
This article was written by BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)