Presentations ranging from reviews to proposals are essential to business decision-making - how do you design standout presentations that propel your audience to act? Sarah edits a marketing presentation in real-time, modeling how to go from text-heavy to visually accessible. Learn simple tricks as Sarah narrates her design process.
This is a fake presentation but we are going to imagine that we work at a marketing company. And Let's set it up a little bit. So let's say we work in the marketing team and it's beginning of the year. And we are having a meeting with our colleagues to start to talk about the rest of the marketing activities for the year and some of our goals and things like that. And even if you don't work in marketing, that's fine. You'll still be able to follow along with this. So, maybe we start the meeting while in room. It probably doesn't have windows and we start off and the meeting comes with a slide like this. And we won't read the whole thing but I'll go through some of it. So our big goal for the year is we want people to describe us, the marketing company. We also specialize travel. We also have a travel company. So, we want people to describe us as the go to kind of travel like a local company. That's what people want or that's what we want people to perceive us as. So we have these six s...
trategic marketing goals. Lead generation, brand awareness, thought leadership, sales, customer acquisition, customer loyalty. Our marketing strategy is centered on email, paid advertising and social. And we're gonna with a focus on Instagram, YouTube and creating an awesome Facebook Group. We have two major goals for the year. Q1 we want to grow our brand ambassadors programs to 35 members. In Q2, we want to have the Facebook page grow to 100,000. To achieve theses goals we're going to have these marketing initiatives every quarter, etc etc etc. That's a lot of information on that slide. And even if I gave you five or ten minutes to sit here and read it on your own a little bit more and digest all this. Chances are you're overwhelmed. You probably couldn't recite back to me. Okay, what's our marketing channels for the year or what are our six marketing goals? Because, it's a lot of text. And if we remember back to the beginning. We know that people remember visuals. Visuals really help with recall. So if I were going to redo this and think to myself. How can I take all of this information on this slide and create it in a way that's going to be a little bit more memorable? There's a couple of things I would start out doing but the main goal is really to think to ourselves. How do we make it be less texts? Because it's just too much. And the chances of hoping that someone is going to sit there and read this whole document and truly understand. I just think today, it's probably not the reality. So the first thing I would do is think to myself. Who's the audience of this presentation? If it were my marketing colleagues. Then I would think to myself. They're marketing professionals. They understand a lot of this terminology. They know what marketing channels are. Things like that. If I was presenting this to the rest of my company, non marketing people. I would take a lot more care to explain a little bit more about the why behind all of this. But we're gonna assume this is kind of for our purposes and marketing team. So what is the first thing is would do? I would focus on the content because we're not just going to go here to a blank slide and twiddle our thumbs and wonder what do we do? Cause we have no starting point. So what we need to do is first think about the. You could almost call them chapters. Like what are the chapters that are important here? So to me, I might literally just go through and do this. So, our overarching goal. Okay, so we want to make the point that we have this overarching goal for the year. And then we have six strategic marketing goals, great. That's another big point that I want people to take. And you can do this with post it notes too, sometimes I do. If I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna take this report or this document and make it more visual. I will go through and maybe not bold it like this but I'll just write out overarching goal. Put that on a post it note. Six marketing goals, that's another topic or thing I want to drive home. Then we have another step. Marketing strategy. Then we get into, okay. There's two major goals for the year, okay got it. Got ahead of ourselves. Okay, two major marketing goals for the year. Loosely related, this is all kind of related. We have two major marketing goals. Q1, Q2, to achieve these goals. I'm gonna bold this just cause, you'll see why. I need to remember to do something with that. And then in the last two quarters of the year. We're going to do whatever we're going to do. So, just in that simple exercise. And this is why I wanted to point this out because if I had given you this slide alone. And said go off and turn this into something that's a little bit more visual and easy for people to understand. You might think yourself. I have no idea where to start. And you might, like I said. Go to a blank slide and start putting, I don't know what. Boxes, maybe a timeline for the years since this is about a marketing goal for the year. The beauty is when you start with the content. Then you can start to understand what might we turn into things that are more visual? And because this is a Power Point or keynote, woops. It's a keynote. We are going to likely end up making each of these one of their own slides. And it kind of amazes me still that we see presentations where people treat this like a word document. You just put 2,000 words on a slide. So we're not going to make that mistake. So the first thing I would do. I would start a new slide and let's just make sure, okay. So we would start a new slide and that didn't go as I imagined. So we're going to trick it out and duplicate. There we go. So, we are now going to focus on that first one. So our overarching goal for the year. So slide one, let's say. I know, 2018 Marketing Goal cool. We want to help people travel like a local. So I might do something like this. And there are tons of different ways we could manifest this but the goal is that I want you to see how we take this giant paragraph and text. And translate it into a couple of slides that are going to communicate the same thing. And to the point earlier about resumes. I would say I'm sure people are thinking. Well, isn't it better to have one slide with all the information? Wouldn't making this take up three slides be kind of annoying? But I don't think so. I think it's more valuable to spread the message across and make sure people can understand it. Even if they have to flip through a couple of screens. So, I think I would do this to begin with. 2018 marketing goal, travel like a local. But I want to use hierarchy. Definitely not the office tri 400. There we go. I'm gonna use hierarchy. Even though you could think hierarchy means being first in order. Cause now we have travel like a local as the large large headline. That's our focus. So 2018 marketing goal, travel like a local. And remember, oh this is great. Remember earlier I was talking about alignment and grids. Look at this. When I'm in keynote. See that little, there. It's built in so now we know we're more at the center of when we're on a grid line. So a little side trick for you. So, 2018 marketing goal. So then what we can do. Okay, let's just do this. We're gonna font, strikethrough. And we're gonna slowly break this all down. So now we have six marketing goals. Okay got it. So now we might, let's see. Got to think how we're going to do this. Okay, six marketing goals. Six marketing goals. Goals, this is not a spelling class. Okay, six marketing goals. So we could, I don't know. Make it larger. This would be one way to do it. It works, it's not terrible. I might think about doing something like this. Drop it down to 60. I'm sure some people would do something like this. We're making a list to be helpful, text bullets. But look at that. Not enough white space. It's all jammed together. So details are like that matters. We want to indent a little bit, more, more. Where's it going? There we go. Okay, so we're going just do a little bit of evolution here. So option two might be to pull out our six. Hopefully these fit. If not we'll make the font smaller. Cool, that's getting better. It's not interesting, it's not going to win any awards but consuming it wise. If we were to try and read this entire paragraph and grasp all this information. A lot easier I think. But then cause we're trying to think like a visual designer. We could make it even more visual. Actually I already did this. So just so we can try and save a little bit of time here. I would make it a little fancier. And by fancy this doesn't mean you need a degree in design. It's really thinking about how do you just slightly get a little bit more creative with how you're laying these things out. So yes, we have the bullets here but six marketing goals. Here are the six. Maybe this is some text around each one of them but maybe if we were actually reading that text in the beginning. We had six marketing goals. We're going to focus on three of them for the first half of the year I think I said. So focusing on them for the first half of the year. Maybe these are the one's we're going to be focus on. So it maybe hard to see on your screen but we made the background of this box, this box and this box blue. But other things we could do to even make this more interesting and memorable is. Sometimes I like to add icons and you've seen a lot of icons happening throughout the lessons. But I love this things called Noun Project which lets me go and find icons. I don't have to draw. So let's find an icon for say sales. Let's see if anything comes up. Yes, now the designer in me would like to spend 15 minutes selecting icon for sales. Nothing to subject you to that but I also can't have one that's cheesy. Okay, I'll go with this one. Also I want it to be blue. So I'm just gonna go like that and then magically, if all this goes according to plan. Now we can have, whoops. Come on icon. We could have icon and then maybe. Maybe because once we start adding the icon and we realize oh wow. I don't know that we can have the icon and the sub text. Could be too much for us. So maybe we decide to ditch that. But now clearly if the story we're trying to tell on this is we have six marketing goals for the year. We're going to focus on three of them for the beginning half of the year. This would be a great way to communicate that but also in a memorable way. So that as people may be going back and reviewing this on their own. Even though they may not remember all the words you said in the presentation. When you see this. They will be able to interpret this as remembering that these are six marketing goals and we're focusing on one, two, three for the year. And maybe what I would do. Let's just use the same icon everywhere. Maybe if I really wanted to emphasize that these are the ones we're truly focusing on for the year. I might decide to just give those three the icons, whoops. We'll just use the same icon but you could imagine. And where did it go? Uh, this is my problem as a designer. My brain moves too fast and the computer can never keep up with me. So, let's see if we can grab it. There we go. And then it helps these three stand out even even more. If you could imagine that those are different icons, right. So then, let's go back to the original story we're going to tell. So okay, we have six marketing goals, great. We covered that. Strikethrough, okay now our marketing strategy is centered on email, paid advertising. The focus on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. That's good. I don't know that we really want to. But we might come back to that one. Let's go into the next one. I think it's more complicated to try and communicate this next point. Cause it's a lot, it's this whole paragraph. We have two major goals for this year. In Q1 we want to grow our brand ambassador program to 35 members. In Q2 we want to grow our Facebook page to 100,000 likes and then to achieve those goals. We have different initiatives happen. So that's a lot of information to try and communicate and if I were to try and simplify it and make it a little bit more visible. What I would start out with is first of all. I would grab the paragraph so I know what I'm designing. And then I think to myself how do I break this down? How do I condense this? What information is related that could go together? So I'm just gonna shove this here for now. Just so it's kind of there for my reference. Hopefully you're not getting dizzy watching me do this. Sometimes I get dizzy. So six marketing goals. Okay then let's say yearly goals just for a place holder. So in Q1 and Q2, we have these specific goals and within each of those quarters. We're going to do three things. So what I might do is. See if this is going to work. First of all, we know we need a section about Q1. We know we need a section about Q and hopefully as I'm kind of doing this and narrating it. I hope that as I'm narrating what I'm doing and what I'm thinking. It's helpful to you. It's not necessarily making the prettiest version of this cause I would definitely spend a lot more time making this and designing this. But I want you to try and get into my head and see the process of how I go through taking down this paragraph and thinking about. How do we deconstruct it into something that's more visual? So let's keep going. So in this paragraph we know we're talking about Q1 and Q2. And Q1 and Q2 have each of these major goals. So it's really about you can see. I'm really going content piece by content piece. So Q1 is to grow our ambassador program. This has a funny setting which is telling us to allow the font to adjust automatically shrink text to fit. We don't want to do that. We want to be in control of the text. So, 67. Let's do 47, okay. We might change that but we're not making this perfect. So grow our ambassador program to 35 members, got it. Now, we have Q2 which our goal for that is to. What is our goal? Facebook page to 100,000 likes okay. So bam, we can X all that off. Format, font, strikethrough. Let's just delete it. So now we have these two zones, Q1 and Q2. Got it, so if someone was reading this whole paragraph, that's a lot. But if they're coming to a slide like this. Oh wow, that's a lot easier I think. I hope you're agreeing with me when you're watching this too. But now let's grab. I like to reuse things. So, now if you remember back in our little paragraph. Not little, actually large paragraph. We said that within each quarter. We have three marketing initiatives, each quarter. So, what I would do is this. I would say marketing initiative one and then two, three. I don't know why I need to make sound effects but that's really how I do things. (laughing) Okay so, again. This is not perfectly designed. If you're a graphic designer, visual professional. You know we would spend more time making this lovely. But, we've taken again. We're focusing on content and principle here. So we've taken this entire paragraph, which is a lot. And condense it down into something like this. To me it's a lot more easy to read. Easier to scan as we were probably referring back to this in the future after someone has gone over it with us and a meeting in person. We could easily go back and have this make a lot more sense to us. Maybe as we're reviewing it on our own in isolation or something like that. So again, I told you we are not going to make a pretty version of all this. But we wanted to go through breaking down something that is a lot of texts and showing you how you could make it more visual. Not worrying about that this may be six or seven slides. But knowing that you are achieving the goal of hopefully getting people more interested. This bullet list, it's okay. This, a lot better. And you can imagine with different icons and things. It starts to have a lot more meaning and this. I would love to spend more time in it but we're not going to. Just cause we don't have any more time to deal with the marketing plan. We're done with this one. But I'm sure you've been in presentations where you look at the key note or the Power Point and you think back to something you've made. And you think, no one really understood that whole point I was trying to make. Or that point that person was trying to make to me. Way over my head because it just seemed far too complicated. So think about the content. Think about the points you want to make and then like I said. Grab a post it note. Bold out whatever you need to do to start to identify the messages. And then that makes the process of starting with a blank slide a lot easier. Mmm hmm, Kenna.
Thank you so much because I know whether it's emails or presentations. It's always for me at this challenge of. I've got all these things that I think I need to get out to people. But maybe it's not even needing to put up all that information out there anyway. And so I know that we don't have time to actually do this. But in terms of your thought process. My lucky day had said I would love a poster creation segment. She struggles with posters. So would you think about that in a similar way as these presentations?
Definitely, I think with posters. Let's say you're designing a poster for a Fourth of July barbecue or a cupcake special. Since we all love cupcakes now. Again, I would be thinking about what is the message I want someone to take away from this? So if I were doing this I would say what is the message? Fourth of July cupcake sale or whatever it is. What is the key information that someone needs in order to take action? Well they need to know the date, the location, maybe flavors, price. Things like that. Maybe if they're closing early on Fourth of July. So think of all the information and then organize that information. If you're doing post it notes or a wipe or whatever you do. Organize that information in the order that someone would need to take action or to kind of be convinced to take action. Like, you might want to start with the flavors first cause that might get them excited and really wanting chocolate cupcakes. And then once you kind of hook them in. This is a little bit of marketing but once you kind of get them intrigued and excited. The you give them the information they need to take action. But definitely because posters. Oh my goodness, I wish I made examples of posters but you see such terribly designed posters out there. Where it literally is one page and people feel like they need to put all the information. I mean even when you're walking on the street and I don't know why people do this. But they still put posters on telephone poles and the amount of information is just too much. So it definitely applies.
Sarah Doody is an User Experience Design Consultant based in NYC. She helps companies and entrepreneurs assess product ideas, understand their customers, and design and launch products. For companies already in market, she helps businesses reach their goals through optimizing their User Experience (UX).
I wish more people knew, appreciated, and respected the content Sarah covers in this course. Design is such a critical piece of the functionality of the tools we use every day but its often disregarded as "fluff" or just "aesthetic". Sarah does an outstanding job of establishing the importance and methodology of design for beginners. I would recommend this course to literally everyone.
This course is aimed towards people who don't make a living as a designer but are exposed to it in everyday life—even if they're unaware. Your resume? Design. Your social media posts? Design. Your spreadsheets? Yep, design.
Sarah does an awesome job giving an overview about what design is and actionable things you can do to improve. The "live design" portion is awesome and it's where she re-designs/improves documents, mostly on the fly. She goes through her thought process so viewers can learn to think like a visual designer.
I would definitely enroll in another class, especially if she chose to focus more in-depth on a few design principles for the entire class.