The Weekly Wrap: May 21, 2023
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 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?
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