PRESENT TO SUCCEED LESSONS LEARNED

A Recipe for Successful Slides by Paul van Hattem

Paul van Hattem is the founder and managing director of the award-winning presentation agency Mr.Prezident.

Mr.Prezident, now based in Amsterdam and New York, was founded ten years ago in Netherlands’ capital. They work with clients like the UN, Nike, PWC, and help many more people and organizations to achieve more with their presentations. Furthermore, they utilize Prezi, and not only, in incredible ways.

Paul was one of the speakers at our first Present to Succeed Conference. There, he taught us the main ingredients of a successful presentation. He had just discovered that producing a great presentation and a fantastic dish entails the same stages – idea, preparation, cooking, and serving.

Shortly said, Paul shared the secret recipe for successful slides that Mr.Prezident uses on a daily basis.

Idea

Paul began by showing us his presentation’s outline and started delivering it with a smile.

You’ll need an idea to make your story stick, and having a concept idea makes life so much easier in general. If you plan to just stroll into the kitchen, put the pan on the burner, open some drawers, and toss in anything you can find and hope it tastes okay, you’ll be disappointed more often than not.

When it comes to preparing a presentation, many people make the mistake of starting without having a concept. So, how do you get to it?

Paul recommends that you answer the following three questions for yourself: What’s the occasion? Who’s coming? And what do I want to achieve?

The occasion defines your idea – it is like your presentation ecosystem. For example, most presentations take place in a meeting room or are one-on-one. It is different if the presentation is for internal use, a business overview, or a product pitch. Is it going to be repeated, or is it a single event that needs to grab people’s attention? Defining your location helps your preparation.

Then there’s identifying your audience – is it, for example, an international or a local one? You have to see what your role is going to be – an inspirational one, of a decision-maker, or an influencer.

Here, Paul demonstrated how he narrowed down the expected audience that he had at our conference.

It will be much simpler for you to come up with a concept that is universal enough for your audience once you have those answers.

Preparation

Now that you have the idea, how to prepare your presentation? It’s time to start crafting your story and the atmosphere you’ll be presenting in.

It is critical, according to Paul, to still keep your computer turned off. Look for post-it notes and jot down all of the information you wish to include in your presentation. After that, group your topics and write down the chapters underneath. Then go over your storyline a few times – rearrange, switch, and test it. For example, what would happen if you start from the end?

After you have your storyline – create your wireframe. Create a slide for each post-it note with basic information about its content, but don’t get too carried away with the design yet!

Additionally, make sure that your speaker’s notes are not in the actual slide. Imagine going to school and your teacher writing down every word she says on the board – not a pleasant situation. Your math teacher, for example, did an excellent job of writing down just what she couldn’t explain verbally. Only write down the most important message for your audience to understand.

Paul demonstrated visually why writing down only the most important message for your audience to understand looks and feels better.

Something else that Paul suggests is adding structure indicators.

Structure indicators are elements that help you understand where you are in the story, and it helps the audience feel safe and secure. By adding a consistent element that you keep using throughout your presentation, you make sure that they feel guided in your presentation.

Here Paul shows the four structure indicators in his presentation: Idea, Preparation, Cooking, and Serving.

After all of this, you have your overall storyline in a wireframe now. The next step is to refine the appearance and feel of your presentation. Collect photos and create a mood board to assist you through the following phase.

Cooking

Now it’s time to cook up the slides.

First, decide which slides are the most crucial in your presentation. Design them first, then the rest of the deck. The decisions you make on your most essential slides will drive the design of your other slides. It is easier than to design the entire presentation at once.

He showed us his process for designing the slides step-by-step starting with the main slides rather than all at once.

Take your mood board for design ideas and put it to use. You’ll have the design guidelines for the remainder of your slides once you’ve completed the main slides.

Then, don’t overlook the importance of consistency. Consistency is either treating similar elements in a single way or creating elements that stay between the slides. The second type of consistency ensures that your audience has a pleasant journey since they know what to expect.

Now all you have to do is keep polishing. And, as Paul said, excellent design is invisible, whereas bad design is noticeable.

Serving the presentation

Last but not least, how can you make your slides enjoyable to present?

If you serve or present anything with excitement and enthusiasm, the audience or client will certainly enjoy it more as well.

So, deliver it with a smile.

Let's summarize

Paul took us through Mr.Prezident’s secret recipe for creating a presentation and design that you can’t wait to serve with delight. Start with a concept idea that suits the occasion. Then craft your story and prepare a storyline. When ready to design, go with the most important slides first, which will serve as guidelines for the rest of the deck. And always present with excitement and enthusiasm.

After following that recipe, you can rest assured that it will leave a pleasant aftertaste.

Moreover, you can also download the presentation recipe here: Mr.Prezident.

Let us know in the comments if you like Paul’s recipe for successful presentations and what is the most valuable learning for you!

And while reading is great, why not see the whole session yourself? Get the Design Track Recordings for the discounted price of €39 or all 30+ sessions for just €79!

VISIT SHOP

Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!

Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!