LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

April 2023
Volume 19, Issue 4

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Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Feature Article: What Are the Goals and
    Costs of Designing Memorable Presentations?

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Note from the Author

What Kinds of Training Do You Produce?

When faced with the prospect of disappointing performance results, many of my clients ask, “Is training or a different approach best for closing an achievement gap? And when you do train, how can you ensure that the training will ‘stick’ and add to the organization’s usable knowledge?”

My clients also want to know which kinds of training are most likely to succeed in the situations where training does seem to be the best answer.

So, I’ve created an overview of four main types, which I’ll highlight one by one starting today and in upcoming newsletters. (See the interactive version, below, which earned a prestigious Grand Award in the 2022 APEX competition.)

Four types of training (Learning Services Overview for Business Performance Inc.)

The four types of training are 1) informational presentations, 2) instructor-led training, 3) self-paced eLearning (also referred to as Web-based training or online training, depending on where it resides), and 4) blended learning. Each one has its merits and specific applications, as well as associated development times and costs. So, today’s focus is on the first topic — informational presentations!

For these reasons, I hope you enjoy today’s features, and please be sure to share your thoughts by leaving your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

Let’s Review a Few Presentation Basics...

What are informational presentations? Presentations are a great way to make a lasting first impression on a live, in-person or online audience. A well-designed visual story typically involves a slide deck and detailed handouts — all meant to educate, persuade, and motivate the audience.

Video player - "What are informational presentations?"Yet many people still rely on old habits and myths when designing slide presentations — the result of countless role models shaping our beliefs about what presentations should look like.

Further, the presentation software itself can encourage bad habits by inviting us to use text-heavy slide templates on the one hand, and all sorts of flowery bells and whistles on the other.

Understandably, preparing a compelling presentation requires a winning formula to achieve the desired results. Watch the short video above to find out more…

But we can say with some certainty that a far greater part of our challenge resides in how we design our messaging, as explained in more detail, next!

Feature Article

What Are the Goals and Costs of
Designing Memorable Presentations?

by Adele Sommers

Audience snoozing awayAre you tired of dull, boring, badly designed presentations?

Many people just aren’t sure of what’s required to produce a highly effective slide show, and are equally turned off by those that other people create.

Especially when the desired outcome of a presentation is to spark a certain kind of action, a lackluster message along with an uninspired delivery can result in a disappointing audience response.

Does that sound familiar? If so, there’s no longer a need to subject anyone to exhaustion from a dry and antiquated style of presentation design. Particularly in the domain of informational presentations, we should carefully anticipate what we are attempting to accomplish.

This article highlights the overarching objectives of the design process, as well as how long it takes and how much it costs, on average, to produce a so-so, typical, or remarkable presentation.

Presentation Goals: What Are We Trying to Achieve?

Man having a big ideaMany people design their presentations to educate, engage, persuade, and motivate attendees to take some kind of action. Based on the theme of a given talk, what might those calls to action entail? Common examples include:

  • Pursuing the next step in a sales process
  • Scheduling a follow-up meeting or workshop
  • Practicing and applying newly acquired skills
  • Drafting a policy to address an important issue
  • Making some other type of critical commitment

In contrast, simply producing passive awareness should not be considered a compelling reason to ask for an audience’s attention. Awareness alone would not justify the time attendees are taking to attend, or the initial investment in producing the presentation in the first place!

Overall, What Should Our Presentation Design Process Include?

The design process should carefully consider the audience’s characteristics to craft the right message and avoid overloading the listeners. My award-winning formula, “Art + Science + Story = Impact,” uses research-based storytelling and graphic design principles to communicate compelling, memorable, and actionable ideas.

Art + Science + Story = Impact!"Art + Science + Story = Impact!" (presentation design formula by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.)

This formula involves a three-part structure to set up, introduce, and embellish the presentation narrative. It “chunks” the content into digestible segments by boiling it down to just a few main topics with relevant supporting detail.

Learn more about each of the three parts, next…

Part 1: What do we want to communicate first?

Part 1 orients the audience by focusing on a challenge that the audience is facing, and then recommends a solution and call to action. In this context, it becomes clear that the audience has the starring role, and will be hearing a clear portrayal of what issues matter most and how to predict, prevent, embrace, or solve them.

What to avoid: Focusing the introduction mainly on the presenter’s qualifications, the company’s history, and so forth. You can always broach those details later. The primary purpose of Part 1 is to galvanize the audience’s attention and keep it riveted by ensuring that the audience clearly knows “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM)!

Part 2: What do we want to communicate next?

Part 2 next “develops the action” by expanding the three to four main points of the solution introduced in Part 1. The goal is to present each main point and then summarize it before moving on to the next one.

"Chunk" contents into three to four main topicsIt’s important to organize our content into no more than about three to four main “suitcases” of ideas, which will represent the overarching topic structure.

This strategy reduces audience overload by focusing on the most memorable “takeaways.”

It’s far easier for attendees to take away a short list of big ideas than attempt to carry off many disparate small ones.

“Chunking” our content greatly strengthens our audience’s ability to understand, assimilate, and recall our primary ideas, especially in a training setting. Further, the use of handouts to convey both the primary points and the supporting details gives attendees short- and long-term memory support, and thereby conserves their limited listening capacity. Handouts also act as quick-reference aids that people can return to for making decisions long after the presentation is over!

Part 3: How should we conclude?

Part 3 recaps the problem, solution, and the call to action to help the audience fully digest the story, including the main points, implications, dangers, solution, options, and so on. This short, dramatic segment sums up and concludes the presentation.

In these final moments, the sense of excitement, insight, inspiration, urgency, clarity, resolve, and other emotions that the audience ought to be feeling reaches a crescendo. These motivational elements must find an immediate outlet in a clear-cut invitation or direction to take the next step — some kind of action. Otherwise, the opportunity to channel the audience’s readiness to act may be completely wasted!

How Long Do Informational Presentations Take to Create?

In 2010, the Chapman Alliance published a comprehensive research study* on how long it takes to design and develop one hour of finished presentation-based training, from the simplest type (in the low-range category) to the most complex (in the high-range category).

Chapman Alliance research on training development time & cost (used with permission)
(Click the image to enlarge)

The time and cost to produce slide-based informational presentations is very similar to that for producing training that involves a slide deck, handouts and/or workbooks, and a structured narrative. The study breaks down the time and cost into three main categories — 1) low-range, no-frills; 2) typical; and 3) high-range, truly exceptional presentations. So, what are the development times and costs?

Low-range (average):

This level consists mainly of simple content, usually rapidly developed, possibly repurposed from existing source material, and with minimal print-based support materials. It requires an average of 22 hours to produce a one-hour session (or about $3,036, based on the average, per-hour cost of a “typical” production).

Typical (average):

This level represents the norm for corporate informational presentations that involve a slide presentation, handouts, and a structured narrative or lesson plan. The slide deck may be relatively traditional, with mostly bullet points and some graphics. It requires an average of 43 hours (or about $5,934) to produce a one-hour session.

High-range (average):

This level often entails complex subject matter, highly custom slide design, and additional time spent on developing support materials. These tend to be the most memorable, attention-getting, and actionable presentations. Since the design is uniquely compelling and of very high quality, these presentations stand apart from the run-of-the-mill, bullet-point-heavy slide displays. This level requires about 82 hours to produce a one-hour session (or about $11,316, based on the average, per-hour cost of a “typical” production).

*Data source:

Chapman, B. (2010). How Long Does It Take to Create Learning? [Research Study]. Published by Chapman Alliance LLC, available from chapmanalliance.com. Image was used and adapted with permission. The data contained in this research was collected from 249 organizations, representing 3,947 learning development professionals, who have created classroom-based and eLearning content that has been consumed by 19,875,946 learners.

In conclusion, an engaging slide presentation helps broadcast a clear, powerful message; you might have only one chance to communicate your ideas effectively.
But if you carefully plan your overarching messaging strategy, you can apply the
Art + Science + Story = Impact formula to make each presentation a smashing success!

Copyright 2023 Adele Sommers

The Author Recommends

“Brain Rules” — More Insights into How We Process Information

"Brain Rules" by John MedinaYou can find a fascinating look at the brain and the various aspects of cognitive processing in “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School,” by Dr. John Medina.

Medina is a developmental molecular biologist, research consultant, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. Yet despite the formality of his credentials, his communication style is unique and highly refreshing.

To see a series of fascinating video presentations on the 12 “brain rules,” go to Medina’s Web site at brainrules.net. Medina’s presentations are straightforward and extremely engaging, demonstrating a very enjoyable way to learn.

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

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