Personal Branding: Presentation skills – tailor your slides


Ned Potter is an academic liaison librarian who makes excellent use of his professional brand and also runs presentation skills training. He has written an awesome post about tailoring your presentation for your audience (be in in person or online) by tailoring your slides and we wanted to share it with you:

In my Presentation Skills training I spend a lot of time offering different ways of presenting information and ideas visually, so you can lose a lot of the words from your PowerPoint slides. After all, it is a presentation, not a document. It’s not designed to be read – or at least it shouldn’t be, else you’ll leave your audience wondering if your presence as a presenter is even really neccessary…

Then later we discuss the importance of uploading your presentations to Slideshare to amplify their impact and reach a wider audience. So inevitably the most common question which gets asked after that is: “But how will this make sense to people who weren’t in the room to hear me talk?”

It’s a tricky question because in most cases, a presentation simply can’t be fit for both purposes. Good live slides won’t make sense without the presenter, and good web slides won’t have been an effective communication tool in a face-to-face presentation.

There are basically three answers to this (that I give, anyhow):

  1. You make a different version that goes online
  2. You upload the accompanying notes or audio
  3. You accept that the online audience will have a different experience, and that’s not the end of the world

There are times when I do all three of these, sometimes all for the same presentation (bear with me…). Lets look at each one in turn…

You can find out more about how to best capture your audience’s attention over at Ned’s blog.


  1. Hey guys! Thanks for showcasing my post, I appreciate it.

    I want to stress though, that your personal brand is not a reason to do something like tailoring your slides. That’s all for the audience. Everything you do, really, should be aimed at your audience, your communuity. If you set out specifically to build a brand, I feel like that’s the wrong way around. This post sums it up for me, by Bohyun Kim:

    This quote particularly is what it’s all about:

    “It’s a mistake to think of personal branding as an end itself. A successful personal brand is a by-product of the successful pursuit of one’s own interest, contribution, and networking in librarianship.”

    So if I have a personal brand, it’s a byproduct of being passionate about the stuff I talk about, and making it accessible as possible (both easy to understand and easy to find, with as much reach as possible) by doing stuff like tailoring the slides for the online audience, as Clenda will have seen for the online version of the LIANZA keynote which is slightly different to the one I delivered in the room!

    Essentially, you can’t ever control your brand. It’s what others say about you. So all you do is can try and influence it, but the best way to do that is to just be as useful part of our community as you can, rather than specificially setting out to ‘build a personal brand’. In my opinion!

    Other opinions are very much available. 🙂

    1. Hi Ned,
      I completely agree and in fact in a couple of days we will have another post coming out that discusses this very issue. The idea that the most important factor to a ‘personal brand’ is making a contribution.

      We try and explore topics from lots of different angles and what we were hoping to show by referencing your post is that communicating meaningfully with your audience matters to how you are ‘heard’ and perceived and that this will cumulatively affect your personal brand. I definitely think the best way to have a reputation for being awesome is by genuinely giving value to your community.

      Thank you for the lengthy comment and engagement. Perhaps we can invite you to write for our website some time.

      – Kate

  2. Clenda Wockner · · Reply

    I was privileged just last week to hear Ned Potter present at the LIANZA conference around marketing of libraries. Wow! Thank you for sharing more of his wisdom.

    1. We saw the tweet-stream out of LIANZA, it sounded great!

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