I'll never forget the way she delivered it.
On each slide of her presentation, projected onto a large screen on stage, was just one very large, capitalized word that stretched across the full width of the screen.
No complicated graphs showing sales figures or market share. No cheesy clip art. Not even any photos. Just one word with the one message she wanted to share at that one moment in time.
She was a riveting enough speaker to not have needed slides at all. Just to be in the presence of this dynamic, successful entrepreneur who was out to change the world was enough inspiration for me.
But her minimalistic, Zen-like presentation format enhanced the impact of her delivery. The utter lack of clutter on the screen allowed me to focus on what she had to say.
I've seen a lot of presentations since then. Some have been memorable and impactful in their own ways. Many haven't. It's telling, isn't it, that nearly twenty years later, I can still recall her presentation as if I had watched it yesterday. Yet, I can barely remember 99% of the presentations I've sat through during that time.
Over the years, I've often borrowed the essence of Roddick's presentation and injected it into my own: Full-screen photos with a simple headline or just a word in large font. Large, easy-to-read numbers. No pie charts or bar charts.
Of course, business is complex, and we often have to rely on our presentations to convey a lot of complex information. But next time you prepare a presentation, try to think of ways to deliver your message just a little more simply, more clearly, and with more impact. Imagine the effect that would have on your audience.
Like the effect Anita Roddick had on me.