Michelle Mandolia on One Year After I Got Hooked On Potent Presentations
My name is Michelle Mandolia and I work in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Evaluation Support Division. At last year’s conference, I attended Stephanie Evergreen’s three Potent Presentations Initiative sessions on Message, Design, and Delivery (now available as a 3-part webinar series or as PDFs at http://p2i.eval.org/). P2i has been a game changer for me. Where I used to feel apprehensive about presentations, I feel excited to sit down to create because I know I have the tools. Here are a few tips on what helped me gain my footing once the introduction to content was over.
Lesson Learned: Start anywhere. P2i is a menu of many delicious options and you get to keep coming back for more. Start where you are most excited and most comfortable and build from there. I was eager to revamp a slide deck I had inherited. I mainly focused on design elements—making sure my photos were high quality and full bleed; eliminating bullets; and sticking to one idea per slide. Check out a before and after:
Developed into 3 Afters
Lesson Learned: Start small. For my coworker, a total redesign sounded daunting. She started with a new presentation and focused on minimizing text and making it pop. Our manager, whom my colleague was briefing, really responded to the new design. Here are examples of a previous version of a slide she used and the new version:
Lesson Learned: Just start. Ad libbing from bulleted slides is my comfort zone. Scripting the entire presentation makes for a great follow up reference document but it didn’t work for me during delivery. Now, I make my talking points into actual bulleted slides—a subtle distinction but a psychological trick that helps me present with greater ease. The slide deck that the audience sees is new and follows p2i principles but the hardcopy I use when presenting contains my speaker note slides. Here’s an example:
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