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Presentation Themes

An underlying motivator for presentation developers is the need to "make the presentation memorable." There are many ways of approaching this goal, but we're only going to discuss one way here: presentation themes. Presentations can be effective and memorable if the presenter incorporates a visual theme into the overall message. For example, a presentation that introduces a consulting firm that specializes in helping clients convert their ideas to finished products might incorporate a seed-to-tree theme. Prospective clients will be able to associate the consulting firm's service with the well-understood theme of life springing form a seed to a full-grown and producing tree. Of course, the consulting firm's overall message must be thoughtfully written and compelling, but a well-crafted and intertwined theme creates a visual image, which enhances impact and retention of the presentation message.

Let's look at some example themes and apply them to some common presentation messages.

  • Company that problem solves for clients and enables their companies to gain market advantage (strategic consulting?)
    • Movement, methodology, enablement: round wheels vs. square wheels, oval wheels, triangular wheels, etc.
    • Transition: metamorphosis of a butterfly
    • Expansion: puzzle that continuously adds pieces.
  • Company that strengthens client's internal operations
    • Interdependence: cogs that are independent, different sizes, and spinning in different directions moving into place so that they all work in synchronized motion together
    • Connectivity: links of chain consisting of different types of links, e.g., strings, ribbon, thin links, bolts
    • Levels of support: tree with different sized root systems
  • Company helps a company diversify
    • Adaptation: an object that morphs into several other objects
    • Geographic entry: passport that allows admittance into new territories
    • Nurture: seeds for change signified by different types of seedlings.

These concepts are not readily available on photo service websites, so it may require hiring a photographer to shoot the variations of the conceptual sequences you choose to use. Done well, the result will add another, highly visual dimension to your presentation and the impact of your message.

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Creating memorable, unique, and impactful presentations is becoming more and more difficult. The bar is continually being raised. It's important to investigate every strategic advantage. Developing a theme to weave into your presentation message may require a little effort, creativity, and funds; but visual thinking and visual presentation techniques are the current trend. It's important to keep your presentation messages fresh and current to be competitive in the marketplace.