Make It Memorable Blog

There’s One Simple Thing That Can Make Your Presentations, Meetings, and Slides Better.

People often ask how to make presentations more engaging, slides more professional, and meetings more productive. Countless books full of advice have been written to address each of these concerns, but none of those suggestions matter if you don’t have one thing: time.

The biggest mistake a presenter or meeting facilitator can do is waste their participants’ time. We’ve all sat through meetings we did not need to be in, and we’ve all been in presentations that we’ve wanted to sneak out of. Don’t be that presenter.

If you spend 1-5 hours implementing some of the guidance below, it will save 5-500+ hours in total. Sure, that means you have to carve out a little extra time in your already tight schedule, but your participants will thank you, you will add value, and be appreciated for creating meetings or presentations that catered to your participants. Most importantly, you will achieve the goal of why you’re presenting or running the meeting, which is unlikely to occur if you do not take the time to think about your objective.

Think about your audience and what they need/want to hear. Take the time to decide how to present, run a meeting, or design your slides based off of what they need/want. There are some suggestions of how to apply this below.


  • In a presentation, your participants are often not forced to be there, so you want to be more engaging than you would be in a meeting.
  • In a presentation, participants want to walk away with tangible next steps.
    • Are you giving information? Give them ways to apply what you’re teaching. You can do this through tips, handouts, and examples.
    • Are you selling a product or pitching a service? Show them how it will make their lives easier and how to go about buying/subscribing. Tell them a story where they are the protagonist, so they can picture how much better their life would be with your product/service.
    • Are you reporting on facts, finances, or studies? Explain how the numbers effect your participants/the company and what is the take home message. Don’t just list data and figures but highlight the points that are relevant and explain why they’re important.
  • Budget an extra 3-4 hours at the beginning of a presentation to outline, review, and storyboard your presentation. This will automatically make your presentation more engaging, memorable, and persuasive.
    • Take the time to outline your content before you open PowerPoint, see where your gaps in content are, think about the order (we remember first and last most), and decide how to make your slides (or at least the most important ones) visual.


  • In a meeting you have a goal to accomplish, and your participants should be there to help achieve that goal. That may be to give input, approval, or context. To make sure your participants in your meeting feel valued, create an agenda, so you do not go over time and need to create another meeting.
  • Think about what your goal is and how to achieve it.
    • Are you imparting knowledge, explaining a new best practice, or showing participants how to complete a process? Think about what your participants already know, explain how the new knowledge is similar and different from the old practice, and don’t get too nuanced or detailed.
    • Are you gathering information, asking for opinions, or getting approval? Make sure that your introduction and explanation is succinct enough to leave time for questions but detailed enough your participants do not need to ask unnecessary clarifying questions.
    • Do you have the right people in the room? Do you need all of the people that are in the room? Do not hold meetings that could easily be an email. Do not hold meetings where an individual only needs to be there for 5 minutes. In that case, invite individuals in only for the time needed.
  • Take 30 minutes to an hour before your next meeting to think about what your objectives are and how to best achieve those in the time allotted.
    • Create an agenda with time slots and stick to it. Doing this, will allow you to lead meetings that accomplish goals instead of wasting time.


  • Slides should be used to help achieve your goal. Slides should not be used to make your presentation or meeting prettier. They should not include tables that participants only need to see one cell. And, slides should not be used just because you feel like you have to use them.
  • Outline your content first. By doing this, you won’t have slides full of text, so your slides will immediately be more engaging without any extra work.
    • By gathering your content first, your slides will probably come last or almost last in your timeline, but not last minute.
    • Then, give yourself an extra 1-2 hours to design your key slides, you’ll have a slide deck that looks more professional, is more memorable, and enhances learning instead of contributing to cognitive overload.
      • Make your main message on each slide stand out. Do not fill the slide with pictures or clipart if that is not helpful to your message.
    • If you’re creating a keynote, plan to spend 15-30 minutes per slide.

Upcoming workshops on how to make presentations more memorable and influential:

Presenting Better Virtually

In our current virtual world, many of us are on back-to-back Zoom calls and are experiencing extreme Zoom fatigue. Pre-Covid, you would have walked from one meeting room to the next when you had back-to-back meetings. Now, you switch rooms with a click of the mouse, giving you no off-screen time. 

To counter this, schedule your meetings to end 5-10 minutes before the hour. Stand up, walk away from your computer, stretch, and grab a fresh cup of tea. 

There are plenty of days, I don’t want to turn on my camera, but it’s important for accessibility and camaraderie to do so. Want to make sure you look the best on camera? Here are a few simple steps:

  1. Move your camera to eye height or above. For ergonomic reasons, your monitor should be at eye level anyway. You can buy a stand or just use a stack of books to raise your computer to the right height.
  2. Make sure you are facing a window, not away from it. Backlighting makes it hard to view your face, and it will make the camera struggle to keep the exposure right.
  3. Light your office (or the corner of your bedroom) with multiple lamps. Place them in front and on the right and left of you. If you have lamps that do not have a shade, have the light face a wall or the ceiling to bounce the light, creating a softer, diffused look.
  4. Any microphone is typically better than your built-in one. Even the headphone/microphone combo you may have for your phone. If you are presenting a lot, consider investing in a lapel mic, which you can buy a decent one for $50.
  5. Think about what is behind you. Sometimes your options are limited, but you can often find a corner of a room with a blank wall behind you. Look for places to set up that have light in front of you and a blank wall (or bookshelf) behind you.
  6. Stand up when presenting webinars virtually. This allows you to use gestures more freely and project your voice better.
  7. Combine these together and you’ll be looking a lot better on camera!

Upcoming workshops on how to make presentations more memorable and influential:

Reworking The World Health Organization’s Infographics

The WHO (World Health Organization) has been working tirelessly around the clock to present accurate, up-to-date Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and trying to combat misinformation around the virus. Recently, they have posted a series of infographics on their myth busters page. They present a myth and highlight why it is false.

Infographics have become one of the main ways in which people communicate data to the layperson, and there are guidelines for doing it effectively. Infographics should:

Four standards of infographics are using easy to understand images, breaking up the information in bite-sized chunks, produce content in a way that can be easily digested and shared, and adhere to the standards of visual communication.

These are ways the guidelines above could be applied to the WHO’s myth buster infographic:

  • Choose images that directly relate to the text.
  • Change the low contrast color scheme to a light background and dark text or a dark background and light text to make it easier to read. 
  • Remove the large paragraphs of text-heavy content and present it in bite-sized chunks. 
  • Save the infographic at a large enough resolution that it will not pixelate.
  • Make sure your content adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
This image points out areas that could be approved upon in WHO's myth buster graphic.

An example of  the WHO’s mythbuster infographics found on their website 

The color contrast fails accessibility standards. 

Using the same content as the WHO, I redesigned the infographic to better adhere to infographic guidelines. By doing so, it should help it better reach its audience and be more impactful.

  • Since this is in English, and we read left to right, I started with the myth on the left. 
    • This is the introduction and the reason why the infographic was made.
    • I broke up the sections into myth (left) and fact (right).
  • I made “myth” and “false” large, so just by glancing at the infographic you understand this is not accurate.
  • I included imagery with each of the main points.
  • I broke the text up so there were no large paragraphs to read.
  • I changed the colors, so it is accessible to everyone, keeping their blue.
Redesigned version of the WHO's myth buster using the principles of visual communication discussed earlier.

Make It Memorable’s redesigned version of WHO’s myth buster series

By applying these principles, one is more likely to produce quality infographics that will be shared, reach the target audience (even the 285 million people reported to have visual impairment), and fight misinformation.

Danielle Hennis redesigned this infographic to remember others that visual principles when producing infographics matter.

Domestic Violence Increases with Quarantining

For those lucky enough to not know what it’s like to feel unsafe in your own home, the stay-at-home order might feel like a burden or make you feel a bit cagey, but for women and men living with abusers it could mean life or death.

It’s been known and reported that domestic violence increases when families and partners spend more time together (think school holidays, summer, and Christmas), and past research on natural disasters has shown that domestic violence increases with natural disasters. During the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, domestic violence increased by 20% in the city and 40% in rural areas. The stress of a disaster and money issues that come with it leads to an increase in domestic violence.

COVID-19 is no exception to that. In China, domestic violence reports doubled in January 2020 and tripled in February 2020, and worldwide, there are reports of violence increasing:

  • South Africa had 90,000 reports of gender-based violence within the first week of lockdown
  • France has seen domestic violence rise by 32%
  • India had doubled the number of gender-based violence reported within the first week of restrictions
  • Australia saw a 75% increase in online searches related to domestic violence

Across the United States, there have been domestic violence calls to the police department increasing as high as 70% in Victoria, Texas. With New York reporting an increase in 15-20% and New Jersey reporting an increase of 24%.

Currently, with shelter-in-place orders, some shelters have closed their doors. However, many hotels are working with shelters around the world to provide housing to partners leaving domestic violence. Within the U.S., some states have started offering remote restraining orders. Currently, the list includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

While it may seem harder in these COVID-19 times to escape, if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you/they are not alone. There is help available:

If you think someone you know may be being isolated or in danger, review the resources available and reach out to them. Most importantly, help them make a safety plan and provide support in whatever way you can (monetary, shelter, an ear to listen, etc.)

Need to Talk?

National Domestic Violence Hotline
24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages
Text LOVEIS to 22522

The hidden deadly threat of COVID-19: Domestic Violence infographic. Domestic violence during Coronavirus could be shown through withholding medical supplies including handsanitizer, threatening to cancel insurance, isolating you and preventing communication, and being violent. If this is the case make a safety plan and reach out to 1-800-799-SAFE.

Danielle Hennis created this infographic on how COVID-19 impacts more than we may think. Domestic violence is a hidden threat to women and men everywhere.

Living with Mental Illness in the Age of Coronavirus

Spending way too much time on Twitter looking at the novel Coronavirus updates, I felt overwhelmed and a bit disheartened with most of the information. There was little information available about the virus itself, and when there’s little reliable information people tend to catastrophize.

The average person doesn’t read peer reviewed articles. They don’t even finish reading news articles. We have short attention spans, and don’t want to read. This is why infographics are perfect. Infographics are short, easy to read, and have visuals that help people process the information.

Unfortunately, a lot of the visuals I saw from predominant sources seemed to miss the mark. Their call to action was wash your hands and stay inside no matter what the question was. Homeless? Wash your hands. Anxious? Everyone’s anxious right now stay inside. Single parent working from home? Sing happy birthday twice as you wash your kids’ hands. I’m not discrediting their message, but it was missing the audience’s question.

Call me odd, but I love research, and I love taking large quantities of information and turning it into something that’s meaningful. I also love designing. I like taking data and turning it into something that’s relevant to the audience at hand. So, I set to work. I downloaded every single peer reviewed article I could find on Covid-19. I then downloaded Rapid Reviews, Correspondence, and Comments from scientists at reputable journals. Realizing, I was still missing crucial information, I looked at articles published about SARS, MERS, Ebola, and other pandemics to see what might be relevant. I organized the pdfs into folders based on topic and then searched for leaders in the field to fill in the gaps.

The first one I made is on mental health. 10 million people in the USA are living with a serious mental illness, but when you search for mental health and Covid-19, you get information that is for the general public experiencing anxiety, insomnia, and stress. I’m not belittling that. It’s real. However, someone who was already living with mental illness probably has it compounded, right?

Advice for someone with pre-existing mental illness should be different than advice for the general public experiencing stress during this time. I read through dozens of peer-reviewed articles, took pages of notes, that a whittled down into the main ideas, and made the first infographic in the series. If you don’t want to read the research but want to look over some easier to read articles, NAMI, APA, and SAMSHA all have great resources.

Overall, what’s the main takeaway? You may be more at risk if you are living with mental illness, but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. You may not be able to control the virus, but you can control your actions and your mindset. Reach out if you need help, but more than anything: reach out to those who may need help if you don’t. We’re all in this together.

Want to talk?

Disaster Distress Helpline

  • Call 1-800-985-5990 
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at
  • TTY 1-800-846-8517

En Español

  • 1-800-985-5990 oprima “2”
  • textear “Hablanos” a 66746
Infographic on how those with mental illness may be at greater risk of Covid-19. This is because individuals living with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are 2x more likely to develop pneumonia. The stay-at-home orders are particularly challenging for those with anxiety, depression, OCD, Autism, Addicition, Eating Disorders, and Bipolar Disorder. And since the begining of the pandemic crisis hotline calls have increased by 15-200%. You can stay healthy by ensuring you have enough medication, setting a routine and following it, staying in touch wiht your mental health providers through telehealth, schedule self care into your routine, join an online support group, stay in the present with mindfulness, and connect to your network. If you are not currently experiencing mental illness, make sure to reach out to those in your network who may be.

Danielle Hennis created this infographic on what individuals living with mental health can do to keep themselves safe in this time of crisis.