10 Tips from TED On Keeping Your Audience Engaged


Whether presenting to an audience is part of your day-to-day on the job – or something that happens only every once in a while – almost all of us are faced with having to put together a preso at some point. And while many of us may have the luxury of the corporate template produced by the company’s marketing team – not all of us have the luxury of a designer available to wave their magic wand of creativity and whipping up something breathtaking and unforgettable.

But even if you don’t have a master designer on hand – you can still make sure that your presentations are clear, memorable, and esthetically sound. In fact, it is our responsibility to make sure that they are. We’ll never convince anyone of anything, if a big huge screen is staring down at them face with a big huge boring. Or even, worse – a big huge confusing. To avoid the painful, Aaron Weyenberg, UX lead at TED shares his top 10 tips for how to create slides that effectively communicate your idea.

First, he presents tips for “the big picture”:

  • Think about your slides last – this one aligns with the adage of ‘form follows functions’ – content is king, and design is a strategic advisor rather than the lead.

  • Create a consistent look and feel – to keep your audience flowing with you instead of staying behind dazed and confused.

  • Think about topic transitions – that is, slides that are dividers should be designed the same, yet different from content slides, for example. This helps the audience understand the flow of your story, when to pause, when you’re turning right, or left, or continuing straight ahead.

  • With text, less is almost always more – this is self-explanatory, yet, unfortunately, oh-so elusive.

  • Use photos that enhance meaning – a powerful image goes a long way to touch upon emotion and engage your audience. Though don’t overdo it. The image should never detract from the content, it should support, or enhance.

Next, he covers some helpful tactical tips, including:

  • Go easy on the effects and transitions

  • For video, don’t use autoplay

  • Reproduce simple charts and graphs

  • And more

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