When does expressive equate effective?

Does ‘expressive’ already suggest ‘effective’?

Not necessarily.

After all, there are different kinds of “expressive” and expressiveness converts into effectiveness only when what you say/show connects directly with the target audience (TA) – resulting in the desired outcome.

Three scenarios come to mind:

i) You throw all your time and energies into the design, and spend the presentation time blindly reading what’s on screen, rather than adding to it with voice inputs that reveal true knowledge of the subject. (We’ve noticed this happens a lot with eager young employees who are keen to showcase their PPT skills!)

Result: You wow your TA visually, but leave them underwhelmed when it comes to insights and analyses.

ii) You save your best material for the verbal aspect of your presentation. So your slides are nothing more than place-holders, or digital equivalents of flash-cards, which outline the various sections, and then do not detail them! Instead, you quote statistics, research, case-studies et al, leaving the audience to stare at five boring slides, while trying their best to keep up with your 50-minute verbal narration.

Result: You’ve lost a big opportunity – all your hard work and research is now merely a string of words in the head – easily forgotten when not married with visual support, infographics, charts et al. (This is true especially in the digital scenario, when sometimes unstable internet means the presenter’s voice dips in and out, and effective communication depends even more on the visual/written/animated content on screen.)

iii) You employ an over-dramatic or over-specialised approach, convinced that this will win both the audience and the pitch. You throw in all the flowery phrases, buzzwords, and insider jargon you can, while whizzing through the slides, without pausing to reflect whether your verbal spiel makes sense to your TA.

Result: You’ve lost them even before you have a chance of winning them over.

What all three scenarios have in common is a failure to crack the slide/spiel balance.

In other words, no matter how visually or verbally expressive a presentation, it won’t be effective until it hits the right buttons, makes the right connects, achieves the right balance.

– Says slideXpress

How? That’s what we’ll return to in our next post.