Mike Teixeria of DECK brought his presentations expertise to the fourth installment of the Lunch and Learn series, hosted by the Cooperative Venture Workspace. The Aug. 1 event at the Workspace attracted 15 people who learned from Mike some key elements to making their presentations more compelling and powerful.

“This is about an overall theory on how you should make your presentations,” said Mike, a Workspace member and president of DECK, the company he created in early April to help presenters — be they CEOs or TED Talk participants or anyone who’s been tasked with making a presentation — use visuals and storytelling to help them connect with their audience.

Making a presentation, according to Mike, is telling a story with a strategy. That strategy, he said, is “to move a person from one way of thinking to another way of thinking.”

He offered three general pieces of advice with detailed suggestions attached to each piece: 1) get organized, 2) design your slides, 3) focus on delivery.

Presentations are not a simple collection of slides – called decks. A lot of thought and preparation need to go into a presentation, and it starts with getting organized and focusing on who are you speaking to?

“This is a litmus test for everything that comes after in your presentation,” said Mike.

Mike said he goes “analog” in organizing his thoughts and his slides by using the jumbo-sized Post-It notes that he arranges on a wall or whiteboard – one thought to a Post-It.

That organization involves understanding the anatomy of the deck you’re preparing — including the opening, the title, points you want to make, and the call to action. With that call to action – or CTA in marketing speak, according to Mike, “You want to move the audience to take it to the next level.”

Design is important, requiring high-quality images. “Design is an investment,” said Mike, who emphasized that slides should have the following — one thought per slide, consistency, contrast, proper proximity of text/images, and movement/animation/transition.

In focusing on delivery, Mike advised rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. “It’s acting, folks,” he noted. “It’s getting up and showing the passion you have for the subject.”

He also suggested showing up early and mingling, removing physical barriers between you and your audience, keeping the lights on so they can see you, and removing signs of status. If everyone in the room is in shirtsleeves, then ditch your dress jacket. “Talk to people in the style that they’ve come to the meeting,” he advised.

Other advice for presentations included getting comfortable with a remote to move slides forward or backward (that way you’re not always hovering over the laptop), be curious about the audience, and breathe (it relaxes you and provides “air and fuel,” he said, to help project your voice).

Above all, he said, bring your passion. “This, at the end of the day, is the most important thing,” he said.

Watch for future Workspace announcements about the next Lunch and Learn!