Jan Schultink is the Founder and CEO of Idea Transplant, a presentation design firm that creates sales, conference, and investor presentations. He updates his blog every day with brief posts giving random yet practical suggestions on how to improve your presentations.
Having previously been a Management Consultant with McKinsey & Co, and made the transformation to professional presentation designer, the aim of his book was to take everything he had learnt over a period of years and put it together in one place – in effect to condense 10 years of learning into one easy-to-access book. In that respect he has succeeded. The book is very easy-to-read and has good content. Although the principles aren’t particularly new, the advice is very practical, listing websites, programmes, resources, techniques etc that will certainly help to make life a little bit easier. He’s done all the leg work for which I’m sure many will be grateful.
The ‘Quick Sum Up’ at the end of each chapter, hits the nail on the head each time:
- Remember that your visual aids are supporting what you are orally presenting – design them to help your message to be remembered;
- There are many different sources of images available – you don’t need to be a professional designer to join the club;
- The best slide layouts are often the simplest ones;
- Keep your font choices safe, so that they can be read on as many devices as possible;
- Data charts, like slides, should be kept simple. What is the one message you want them to take away from that chart?;
- Prepare for meetings by anticipating the client’s concerns;
- Listening to the client is as important as presenting to them;
- Beautiful slides won’t save you if you haven’t prepared and rehearsed;
- Don’t let the technology let you down.
His self-confessed inexperience in using InDesign however is a bit of an issue. Perhaps in the Second Edition he could resolve the issues around:
- Headings in the side columns not lining up with the body text (only an issue because he has actually written a whole section on the importance of alignment in slides so as not to distract);
- Hyperlinks not standing out in a different colour/font so difficult to see where they are unless hovering over them (and they are useful ones you don’t want to miss);
- Several typos;
- And a whole lot of impressionist artworks which are beautiful but contradict his messages re. slide design. Should my colleagues and I be spending more time debating the significance of each picture, than the actual chapter content?
So in a nutshell, thank you Jan – this book is practical and will help those who are looking for pretty specific advice. With a few tweaks it could be as good as your slides.