Interview on Creating Presentation Story : Yancey Unequivocally

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Yancey UnequivocallyYancey is the Founder and President of Empowered Presentations that is an award-winning presentation design firm with clients all over the world.  Pacific Business News recognized Yancey for “40 under Forty Class of 2011”, Nominated for “20 for the Next 20” in Hawaii Business Magazine.

Yancey is a true leader in her community, serves her church ministries, and is enthusiastic to help people achieve anything and everything they desire! A look at Yancey at work in pictures:

Yancey with CoryYancey on Stage


In this email interview with Arte of Presentation-Process, Yancey talks about her experience in creating presentations that tell a story and how they created their award-winning presentation. Read on to learn their presentation secrets…

Arte: Thank you for taking time to complete this interview. I know you have been busy. Can you share your background in creating presentations?

Yancey: I am an entrepreneur at heart.  After graduating with a B.S. in Management Information Systems, I moved on to get an MBA in Network Security.  I quickly realized that I wanted to own my own company.

Over the years, I have spoken at many events and trained on stages with over 1,500 in attendance.  I have also been a guest speaker on many WebCast shows all over the world.  So that is my experience with presentation story telling and as a business owner.

Arte:  Your presentations focus on telling a story. Can you run us through the process you use to come up with the story line especially for your popular ‘Smoke’ Presentation?

Yancey: Creating presentations take time and a lot of it; especially an award-winning presentation like our “Smoke- The Convenient Truth” and many other presentations we create internally for our own marketing and for our clients all over the world.

Smoke Presentation:

SMOKE – The Convenient Truth [1st place Worlds Best Presentation Contest] – EP

Presentation by Empowered Presentations, Presentation Design Firm – Honolulu, HI
The main point I would like to share with you is it that there are many distinctions between types of presentations.  You have a LIVE presentation, a VIRAL presentation (online), presentation to be delivered over webinars, one-on-one presentations, and many more. And all of these types are created and delivered in different ways.

Our online presentations are developed with Empowered Presentations’ Explanistory™ structure. First, you find one main point or theme you want to share. In our Smoke presentation we wanted to design a story that would be impacting; not just about us or what we do. We wanted a topic that would resonate and create change. And that is what we did!

Interview on Creating Storyline

To create an impacting presentation story line, your message needs to come from a higher purpose; not with strings attached intentions or in it for yourself way. This way your storyline can be well received all over the world. We start with blank slates every time we create a story line. It helps the team be creative, learn from each other, have fun, and design an organized process that is helpful in the next step in development. This step is start to lay out all of the key messages you want to share.

Rule of thumb is no more than 3 or 4 points because most of us we cannot remember more than this so it is best to keep it simple and organized. That way your audience will not be confused; a confused mind does nothing.

Another step is make one point per slide. Allow the slides to tell the story for you since you are not presenting live with an audience. Just remember to have fun with the development of the presentation story and make it simple enough that a 10 year old can understand it.

Related: See Slideshare Presentation Horror Story Contest Winning Entry here

Arte: What is a common error you have seen presenters make in this regard?

Yancey:  I have seen many presenters do a LIVE presentation in front of a group at a seminar then immediately upload it to any presentation sharing site online, social media platforms, and any and all of their portals they use to share their slides. In my opinion, this is not purposeful and does not demonstrate the highest value to your audience.

You can upload your slides, but make it more story-like first. So, here is the better option. Your LIVE presentations should not have many words on the slides at all because you are going to say what the content is for each slide. Your ONLINE presentation needs to have SOME words so your audience can run through the slides like a story in a book.

If you want to set yourself apart, do not be like most presenters who have documents on slides. Your audience doesn’t want to be bored with data on the slides, bullets, text they cannot read, and tacky clipart and animations, you can always have a separate print out that you can email or print with all the data you need to share.

We have very high-tech presentation we do for clients that think at first they need all the data on the slides, but then after consulting they realize that their presentation should be more like a story rather than data.

Even our clients that are doctors, engineers, investors, and so on, even though they are data-driven and numbers, they still use our style at EP because it is more engaging for the audience and their experience is way more impacting and memorable than using data slides.

We provided all the information and tools to our clients that they do need if they decide to use data on their slides; we simply create a separate document style presentation that they email or print out. This document still isn’t very text heavy but is still not appropriate for actual slides.

Related: 5 Steps to Present data better

Arte:   So then, how do you differentiate a presentation when you create Live Presentations for your clients?

Yancey: None of our clients nor our own presentations have been the same really. Every client and our own presentations will go through our step-by-step process, but they have different purposes, audiences, information, and much more so the outcomes will all be different. Most of our clients’ presentations are VERY different from our own presentations because our clients are more for LIVE presentations.

One of clients, Carmine Gallo, author of Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Power of Foursquare, had created a LIVE presentation. Then he advised us that he wanted to upload this presentation online. We knew that the presentation we created for him that was for his LIVE presentation would not be effective as an upload virtual presentation because it was not self Explanistory™ and the audience wouldn’t understand what the presentation meant by simply viewing it online.

A lot of the content was missing because Carmine is an excellent communicator and doesn’t need all the TEXT on the slides. So, if he uploaded the LIVE presentation, hardly any text would be on the slides hindering the viewer to know what the presentation was about if it was stand alone without him speaking. Therefore, we created an entire different presentation story than his live presentation so he could effectively communicate it all over the world without him actually having to be there to deliver it. This presentation received over 186,000 views on Slideshare already and it was only uploaded in Oct 2011.

Arte: Some of the images used on your slides are very strong. How do you ensure that it fits into your presentation story? 

Yancey: Absolutely, you want to ensure the images are strongly impacting. Picking the perfect picture or graph is our most time consuming element in our design process. A picture is worth 1,000 words, so if the meaning of your words does not match your pictures, then your entire message can be misinterpreted.

My best advice here would be take time to find the right picture that goes with the content. When possible and time permits, do not pick just the first picture you can find and most of all do not use symbolism. If you do not have a design eye or the time, I recommend to hire out photographers and graphic designers.

Arte:  Do you consciously work towards having presentations with a noticeably different look and feel?

Yancey:  At EP, we have a brand that we live by and all of our presentations match that brand. So, yes, it is very conscious when we are designing our presentations. We recommend that anyone should have a matching brand or theme so people can recognize who they are. We have many people that can spot out a presentation designed by EP! It is the greatest feeling when you get a call or email saying I know you must have done the person’s presentation that I just saw at this event because it felt like an EP presentation. Your presentation is an extension of your brand!
Related: How to develop a presentation story step-by-step

Related: The right way and wrong way to create visual presentations

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