This week our blog focuses on what you choose to put on a slide. Making a presentation as effective as possible involves finding the right balance between just enough elements to make a good point, but not too many that you overdo it. Finding this balance will help make your message both clear and persuasive, avoiding the unnecessary ‘noise’ and helping your audience focus on what matters.
This might seem difficult to do and it’s a skill that our teams at Maxwell Rogers have perfected over the years. At its most basic level, there’s an acronym we like to use called JEEP. It stands for “Just Enough Essential Parts” and, like the car it refers to, reminds us to focus on the essentials needed to be effective, without all the ‘extras’ we might think we need to include. The JEEP had a successful 40 year run in the US military, becoming well-known as a tough, durable, and versatile means of transport around the world. Very simple but very effective. So, like the car, we should be applying this mindset to our communications. Ensuring we stick to the bare minimum by including everything that is needed, and nothing more.
So, how do we make our presentations succinct with Just Enough Essential Parts? The first thing to do is to write down the key points we need to make to tell our story. No details, just headline messaging. Then, order the points in a way that makes logical sense and flows well. These points will then become your titles for each slide. To find out more about narrative and presenting your content in a business story, read our “business storytelling” blog.
Once you have titles, you can then start to build out your points per slide. Or, as we often put it, your evidence to support each headline message. Whether that’s using text, imagery, video or a combination, only include items that are directly relevant to the slide headline. If it isn’t relevant, move it to another slide, or deleted altogether. This can be hard to do but be strict. Take our word for it that you will have a more engaged and happy audience as a result. Remember Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech? It was only 17 minutes long. But those 17 minutes were packed with relevance and meaning and are still talked about almost 60 years later.
So, next time you’re writing your presentation, remember to look at every slide with JEEP in mind. Make sure that the combination of elements is just enough to make a good point – and nothing more. If you need help with any of your corporate communications, including stakeholder presentations, customer facing collateral, bids, or RFPs, get in touch to find out how we can help.