Design

Tips from a designer to create a memorable PPT/Keynote

Nov 13, 2019
People in a conference with a presentation that says "Don't put here your big paragraph"

They called you to give a lecture on a subject that you master and you need to set up a creative and engaging PPT/Keynote.

First of all, it is necessary to be clear that give a lecture:

  • It's not about you overcoming your fear of public speaking
  • It's not about promoting the brand you work for
  • It's not about selling your product

The audience is gathered and the spotlight is on you. It's your time to create value and make an impact - to inspire people and question them.

Lecture by André Foresti at Share Talks POA 2018
Lecture by André Foresti at Share Talks POA 2018.

One of the great challenges for the speaker is to get the content into the audience's head. 

Years of dedication to your work, studies and experiences condensed into more or less 1h of presentation. How can you convey your message effectively? How to make the audience not forget everything the next day? How can you keep your words in their heads for one, two, three weeks after the lecture? 

Here are some good practices from a designer's point of view to create a memorable PPT/Keynote.


1. Be clear about the essence of your message

A single drop representing the essence of something
Photo @Christin Hume / Unsplash

Can all 73 slides in your presentation be summarized in one sentence? The decisions you will need to make about dividing topics and using titles and images will always come back to the essence of the presentation. With a very clear essence, people will remember you and your presentation for the right reasons. 


2. Structure your content properly

Example of a presentation structured with colors and titles

Tv shows, movies, books... all have a structure. What makes you think your PPT/Keynote doesn't need one? The structure is what will make the content stick in people's heads. It works like the grid in a layout - you feel it exists even though it's not necessarily explicit. This structure makes the audience have an idea of what's ahead, something that can be easily achieved through a visual system composed only of colors and a hierarchy of titles.

Different boxes with different things inside
Photo @Orlova Maria / Unsplash


If there's a clear hierarchy in your content and slides, people will put it in boxes on their heads - which will make it easier to remember what you've presented to use in some practical way in everyday life. Of course, memories solidify in our heads when connected to an emotion, which brings us to the next point:


3. Use storytelling to awaken emotions: people will remember your content more easily.

Storytelling is an art and some people have the power to do it engagingly. They make you laugh, get emotional, get angry. You don't need to apply the famous hero's journey, but you do need to orchestrate twists and build the climax of the presentation. 

A cinema full of people expressing different emotions
Photo @Krists Luhaers / Unsplash


You don't want to present your content in a linear and boring way: what you want is to hold people's attention. Make them question themselves about things they hadn't questioned before. Present a new point of view about a problem. The better you understand the emotions you will arouse in each slide, text or image, the greater the impact you will have on the audience.


Quick and valuable tips:

  • Use impactful statements on a slide for people to take pictures of and share on their social networks.
  • Use quotes from influential people within the area you are addressing. Even if you master a subject, you never know everything.
  • Use safety margins. If there's a problem with the equipment, your content won't be cut at the corners. 
  • Send your presentation to the event organizer for testing. If you use gifs or videos, make sure they work. 
  • If within a topic you have important items, highlight the item and make the topic smaller, presented as secondary information.
A quick tip on how to structure topics and items
  • The audience will certainly photograph the graphics and frameworks that you present. If these visual elements are complex and full of information, consider using a QR code to give people access to these images. Or tell them to contact you through some channel at the end of the talk and you send it to them. It's a good way to build an audience that generates value.
  • Last but not least, never, NEVER EVER, use big paragraphs on a slide. People are listening to what you say and the presentation is a visual complement to reinforce your message. Putting paragraphs on slides will not only disperse the audience's attention but also confuse you when it comes to communicating your message.


That was it :)

Did you like it? There's more content coming soon. Let's be friends (instagram, linkedin, it's your choice) and maybe have a coffee or a beer.


Oh, and before you leave, share this post with that friend who needs to improve his slides.

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