A presentation is a live event, isn’t it?

live event

I read the phrase “live presentation” on a website the other day. I thought… isn’t a presentation always live?

We use the word presentation to mean the live event and the visual supports for that event. This leads us to the phrase “Can you send me your presentation?” Sending someone a set of slides that they can “read” without the presenter’s commentary suggests they are “slideuments” (see sidebar – Slideuments Anonymous).

It’s interesting that we don’t use this concept with other live events.Take theatre for example, if someone asked you to send them the play you saw last night, you would think they were out of their mind.

Go to SlideShare.net “World’s Best Presentations” contest (http://tinyurl.com/2eglj7c).  There are some beautifully crafted slides and some important messages, however, are they really presentations?

What do you call these series of images with words on them?  I once suggested we call them a “slideshow”, like the Huffington Post does (www.huffingtonpost.com).  Arte Ranganathan of Metamorph Training  (www.metamorph.webs.com) has suggested “presocuments”.

I think it’s time to find a term for this form of visual communication. It’s also time to change how we think about presentations; they are much more that a collection of slides, they are a live experience.

“When we begin to change our vocabulary, we begin to change the way we think.” – Brains on Fire

Joe Pops

Refuse to be Boring – Join the Revolution

I’ll just throw a few slides together…

We know that “throwing a few slides together” can lead to a less than memorable presentation. Yet people do it. Is it because they don’t understand the impact a presentation can have?

Or is because they have only learned to design presentations in the traditional style

  • bulleted slide
  • after
  • bulleted slide
  • after
  • bulleted slide

There is a new presenting style that is revolutionizing presentations.  It is more engaging and will have more impact with your audience. Garr Reynolds www.presentationzen.com and Nancy Duarte www.duarte.com are some of the people who are leading this “revolution”. The speed at which you adopt the new style may depend on how important you view presentations.

In her book Resonate – Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences; Nancy Duarte talks about a survey done by Distinction Communication. Of the executives surveyed, 86% believed that “Communicating with clarity directly impacts my career and income”, yet few seemed to do the preparation necessary to ensure “communicating with clarity”.

I did a survey of my colleagues across North America last year. I asked them “How important is your presentation to the success of your projects?” Over 80% rated their presentations in the “very important” to “mission critical” range.

What do you think?

Do you believe presentations are “mission critical” to your projects?  If you do, you may be thinking about changing your style.

The challenging part

The challenge you will  face is making the transition from the traditional to the engaging style. There are so many things to consider, so many things to do.  I have spent the last few years working at making the transition. To paraphrase something I heard – changing your presentation style is not an event but a journey.

This blog is about making that journey.

Joe P

Join the revolution – Refuse to be Boring.