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Creating Successful Leaders

Exciting new technologies are now available which turn a droll presentation into something truly captivating. Let’s face it: Power Point has been with us since Pagers. It’s probably fair to say that sitting through meetings full of pie charts, bar graphs and poorly-cropped clip art is getting kind of old.

Great Presentations Tell A Story

Data is vitally important to business. We all know it, but it’s tough to get interested in plain old numbers. To understand data, we need to apply it, put it in terms that make sense. A good presentation therefore rests upon your ability to explain the hows and whys of the data you’re sharing.

New interactive applications allow for you to do this in a manner that tells the story behind the data, gives it context, and clearly shows how it relates to each and every member of the team.

Prezi is a website which provides interactive templates that lead the viewer through a story. Here’s an example:

Their basic templates and services are free, and you can upgrade to even more extravagant applications with a fee. Here’s their website: http://prezi.com/

But remember, tools like Prezi are only as good as you make them. There’s quite a bit of potential in interactive presentations, but with said potential is also the risk of going overboard. Here are three tips to keep in mind when drafting your presentation.

Use Less Than You Think

Less motion, fewer pictures, fewer flashy effects. You want to keep your viewers tuned in the entire time, and overstimulating them will turn them off to your message. The effect of any attention-grabbing techniques should always be intentional, which leads me to point two…

Highlight The Data With Attention-grabbers

Bring attention to the data you’re presenting with motion, images and other dynamic visual techniques. Do this intentionally and sparingly to highten the overall impact of the data. Finally…

Keep The Story In The Viewer’s Mind Throughout

Weave the data into a larger narrative. Lead the viewer from one point of data to the next in logical, incremental steps. Wrap the presentation up with a larger application of said data and your own conclusions. Perhaps open it up for discussion so others have a chance to verbalize their thoughts. I make these suggestions–keeping the data within a narrative, applying it, and relinquishing the floor–for one simple reason: doing these things will help the audience remember your presentation long after you’ve finished. This is the goal of any presentation. You want to make an impact on your audience past the 20 minutes or so of the time they give you. 

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