I had to spend some time mapping out my calendar for the next month and I realized that I was giving five conference presentations/webinars in the the next three weeks. I present a lot, but this is a heavy load even for me. No wonder my to do list comprises of nothing but outlining and slide design.
Speaking of slide design, I realized something as I was working on my second (third? - it's hard to remember) deck this week. I can throw together the design and written content of a deck in about an hour. (SlidesGo makes that part of my life so much easier.) When it comes to inserting relevant images... that is where my time disappears. A task I think will take 30 minutes ends up taking hours.
For example, I'm giving a presentation to our local consortium about outreach. The slides themselves took me 45 minutes to make. It took my FIVE hours to decide on which pictures to use and I'm still not done. I have to stage and take two pictures when I'm back in the office tomorrow.
The reason this is such a time suck is mostly the content I'm discussing. This presentation (and many of my presentations) are about outreach. Visuals matter in outreach. People will remember the pictures long after they've forgotten the written content. Plus, visuals convey unspoken messages. When I created a video on integrating sources, I made everything cooking themed to show that we all mix ingredients together differently. People can take the same resources but adapt them for different kinds of projects.
I also try my best to be representative - particularly when I am using stock images. It's so easy to pick people who look like yourself in photos. I try my darnedest to be comprehensive so everyone sees themselves at least once.
Finally, I am picky when it comes to slide balance. I want the images to visually balance the text. I also don't like it when text or design elements obscure items in the photos. This means I am constantly trying new pictures, cropping images, and tweaking things until they look just right. This presentation on taking better pictures took me over TEN hours to put together. Not only was I trying to find the right images, for most of the slides, I was limiting myself to only pictures I had taken myself. I didn't want to be critiquing the work of others in a public forum.
How do you design presentations?
I finished reading Majesty by Katherine McGee yesterday. The ending was unexpected but not entirely surprising.
I’ve decided I am going to read a chapter in Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds by Greg Milner. Then I will jump to another book I grabbed from the library.
*Books shared here are affiliate links for Bookshop.org
The view under the ice. [Colossal]
What color is the sun? [WaPo - gift link]
How the library can help curb impulse shopping. [Lifehacker]
Always a big fan of comedy wildlife pictures. [The Guardian]
The process of art is the point. [family scripts]
A mix and match recipe for trail mix. [Budget Bytes]
Stunning sculpture work. [Colossal]
The chase for profits hurts everyone. [Planet Money]
Bureaucratic paperwork saves lives. [The Daily]
Next time you hit the clothing thrift stores, try these tips. [Life Kit]
To improve things, remove what causes friction. [Hidden Brain]
What’s happening at the US southern border. [The Daily]
What at home DNA tests can and can't tell you. [Short Wave]
The problem is parking culture. [99% Invisible]
Wear sunscreen - everything else is pretty much pointless. [Science Vs]
I was sold on watching Man on a Ledge because of Elizabeth Banks. She is one of those actresses with surprising range. In this movie, she's a police negotiator who is trying to talk a man off a high building ledge. She quickly realizes there's more to this case than meets the high. This film had a great supporting cast, namely Sam Worthington and Jamie Bell. [Netflix]
I am so doing this with my child when she is older. [@xenatine]
For my weekly lunch meal prep, I made chickpea Waldorf salad. It's pretty easy to chop up and toss everything together. I served mine with wheat thins in lieu of putting it on a bed of spinach. It's hearty enough to satiate on its own without a side accompaniment. [The Kitchn]
We tried out a new vegetarian dish this week. Mushroom and broccoli stir fry noodles was quick to toss together on a week night. (I even had to run out to buy more soy sauce and we were still eating close to our normal dinner time.) The recipe suggests broccoli florets. We used those this time but we're going to use chopped broccoli next time. We like the smaller bites. The sauce on this is well balanced but you can easily up the heat by increasing the amount of chili garlic sauce you incorporate. [Budget Bytes]
Pasta is art. In this case, it’s almost too pretty to eat. [@pastasocialclub]
Yes. Yes, I am getting old. You need to play around with You’re Getting Old so that I don’t feel alone.
Me second guessing all my slide deck design decisions and editing until the last possible moment.
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I get such overblown ideas about presentations and then regret it when I have to actually create them. I once did a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-themed presentation about information privacy and security--which was a big hit, but was SO MUCH WORK because I had to consider every possible "choice" and make sure there was a storyline that corresponded to it that was still on-topic. Sometimes simpler is much better!
This book is so old I was in grad school when I got my first copy. I figure if this is not in your stacks, you probably know where to find one!
Working in the guv’’mint, I have less worry about graphics because we have to present in a branded template. So in addition to well chosen images, I also use classic lyrics or poems on the theme - trying not to overuse Robert Zimmerman’s thing about times changing. Then the photo can also be of the artist.
Even classic business texts (Naismith, Megatrends; Reid/Trout, Positioning, even Machiavelli The Prince have made there way into my decks).