Sometimes all you need is some practical pointers to up your game. And that’s just what SF IABC members and guests got recently from the webinar “Tips on Powerful Presentations” with Leon Finkler, visual design strategist and communicator with 10+ years helping corporations translate complexity and jargon into storytelling and inspiration.

No matter what stage of your communications career you’re in, now and then you have to create a great presentation — whether it be for yourself or a leader or initiative you’re supporting. In his webinar, Leon walked us through advice to enhance our visual storytelling and creative problem-solving. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Keep it simple. This advice underlies everything else. Simplicity saves time and helps you focus on the content. Use one central visual point instead of making the audience try to understand what your design is telling them. A visual or infographic rather than a graph or chart can tell a better story.
  2. Draw the audience to the presenter, not the slide. People can either read a slide or focus on what the presenter is saying — another reason to simplify as much as possible.
  3. Divide your time in half. When you plan your presentation, prepare to spend one to two minutes on each slide. If you have an hour, plan on slides for 30 minutes.
  4. Lead with design and negotiate. If you are tempted to put too much on a slide, or your client insists on having the infamous “eye chart,” put purpose first. Sticking to best practices will set you or them up for success. You may be able to land on a middle ground. 

Some other tidbits:

  • Use a font size no smaller than 18 points.
  • Take advantage of the SVG (scalable vector graphics) icons in PowerPoint: drag them into your presentation, edit the colors creatively, convert to a graphic and use in other documents.
  • For inspiration, Leon suggests visiting the Behance site for designers or other visual arts sites.

Keep Leon’s pointers in mind and see what a difference they can make in your visual storytelling.

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We offer webinars, networking events and more geared to help you enhance your career no matter what stage you’re in. Get practical tips like these, dive into strategy, build your leadership skills or meet other communicators from across the spectrum of the profession. Join or renew today!

Dani Townsend is vice president, Communications, for the San Francisco chapter of IABC and leads Employee Communications for CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer.