Everyone loves simple, and yet it’s so hard for us to pull off. So let’s take some cues from the industry that does simple best: movies. Here’s how you can steal from movies to create more powerful presentations by being simple.
- Get it down to the core – Movies start with only 3 or 4 key scenes and every other scene has to further the story or it’s thrown out. Ask yourself what 3 or 4 key things you want your audience to come away with? Then, take all your slides out one at a time. Unless you can’t get those key points across without that slide, leave it out.
- Kill your babies – That’s the Hollywood expression for having someone else help you cut. The director kills the screenwriter’s babies, and the editor kills the director’s babies. But they all do it to strengthen the story. So once you’re done hacking, get someone not on your project and tell him or her the key things you want your audience to come away with. Then let them kill your babies.
- Add context – Every data point or idea can be expressed through the people it affects, the way it affects them, and the places or situations they’re in. In other words, characters, plot and setting. Place your data or ideas in that context and your audience will understand far more quickly.
- Show instead of tell – Speaking of quickly – movies communicate so much in so little time because they use visuals and action, not just words. See that big screen behind you? Fill it with images. Use video to show action. Just like a movie, you’ll express so much more in far less time, and you’ll make a bigger impact.
- Hit them in the heart – The other reason movies leave out useless information is to fill it with emotion. You can too. Even in business, people make decisions emotionally, and if you evoke emotion, you’ll have believers. To get emotion, turn your characters into heroes by giving them a goal and challenges. Show their pain, show their struggle, and show their desire to triumph.
It will take practice, but once you start your presentations with simplicity in mind, it will actually be quicker for you too. And who doesn’t love that?
To find out more, sign up for the blog. If you do, you’ll be one of the first to hear when my new book Get to the Heart comes out.