As a leader in the aerospace and defense industry, Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Co. of Simsbury, Conn., is no stranger to giving client-based presentations. Mike Voisine, new business development director, brought us the company's presentation slides with a common request: to create a set of updated slides that are easy to customize. In addition, he wanted a convenient way for the presenter to interact with the audience.
To promote interaction, a presenter must have slides and content that reinforce and encourage audience feedback throughout the presentation. Creating slides that ask questions gives the audience an opportunity to express their interests, opinions and feelings about your subject.
With that goal in mind, we built stopping points for interaction into the slides. We created a question area on the bottom of each slide. The presenter does not have to use the question area on every slide, but this design approach gives the presenter an opportunity for interaction whenever he wants it.
The opening slide illustrates how to immediately engage the audience. The key question for the audience appears with a mouse click at the beginning of the presentation. This instantly sends a message to the audience that this will not be a 30-minute monologue. From the beginning, the presenter encourages audience members to talk about their interests. This is also helpful for presenters who aren't comfortable or don't have a lot of experience engaging an audience. The question on the slide does the hard work, getting things started.
The second slide's goal — to establish company experience in the field — isn't related to interaction, so instead of a question, a map graphic outlines company locations. The third slide outlines Ensign-Bickford's successes and programs. The question lets the audience indicate what it wants. Again, this provides an entry point for the presenter to learn what the audience needs and to adjust the message accordingly.