You need two decks: the Backdrop Deck that you use when you give a talk and the Ambassador Deck that you create for others to flip through when you are not there.
- Your Backdrop Deck is for live performance. The story is delivered by you, and the slides are there to augment the emotional impact of your ideas.
- Your Ambassador Deck is your send-ahead or leave-behind. You are not in the room when the reader flips through it. It must represent you and deliver your story when you are not around.
Different Densities and Visual Design.
- Design the Backdrop Deck as if it were set-design for a one-person show: highly visual with images augmenting the emotion-to-be-felt at each moment. Limit words to headlines, punchlines, taglines, or big ideas.
- Design the Ambassador Deck for skim-and-dive reading, where your reader is first intrigued by the headlines and then digs into the body. Warning: If your headlines are not interesting, the reader will skim right past and never read what you are trying to share. Do not put your big idea at the end of a long paragraph. Start with the punchline. Your headlines must do tremendous, specific work.
Most people do not bother to make two decks. Instead they make a Compromise Deck that tries to do both jobs and fails at each.
If it helps, think of your two decks like responsive design, but for your story. What works on a big, horizontal monitor for web design needs significant adjustment for the vertical scroll-to-the-center-of-the-Earth design of mobile. Similarly, what works for flipping through the skim-and-dive of the Ambassador Deck is different than TED-style sit-and-listen of the Backdrop Deck. Adjust accordingly.
Enjoyed this? Get my free newsletter for more story, art, and design.