Thank you for not presenting!

I believe many organizations “over present”; not every piece of information needs to be passed on via a presentation.  Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a presentation is needed:

  1. Does someone need to explain the information for context, or is it pretty straight forward?
  2. Does your audience need the information to make an immediate decision? This may require you leading a discussion more than doing a presentation.
  3. Are you trying to persuade someone to do something, or are you selling an idea/concept that needs to be approved?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, then you are sharing information; a document or an email may be more appropriate – and efficient – than a live presentation.

In Lisa Braithwaite’s blog post “Do you really need to give a presentation?” she highlights 4 questions to ask yourself when deciding whether you should do a presentation. You can read Lisa’s blog at

One final suggestion – if you use PowerPoint to create the document you are going to circulate, save it as a PDF for distribution purposes. That way people will know it is for information sharing, and not intended as slides for their use in presentations.

Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring


Life by PowerPoint

My study of presentation design began in 2007.  The first books I read were Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte.  Both these books focused on slide design, so, to apply what I was learning I began to re-work the slides I use in my corporate presentations. This led me to discover the many capabilities of PowerPoint. (I believe that most people use the templates provided and do not have the time or opportunity to explore the vast array of options available to them.)

I discovered that PowerPoint is such a useful/powerful tool that I began to use it to do posters and promotional materials for a charity I am involved with.  This led to requests from other non-profit groups for posters for fundraisers, Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards and even some logos.  Although I am not a graphic designer, I really enjoy this artistic outlet.

To illustrate some of what can be done with time and creativity; I have uploaded some of my most popular work for the non-profit sector on my Pinterest account.

I have often heard the expression “death by PowerPoint”, I am enjoying the flip side – “life by PowerPoint”.

Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring

What is the cost of a presentation?

time is

“You get taught a lot of things in the world of business, but presenting is rarely one of them”

Terry O’Reilly – CBC Under The Influence

Presentations can persuade, inspire, enlighten or clarify, OR they can have no impact at all, and even waste the most precious resource – time.

What if, at a corporate meeting, there are 400 employees each with an average wage of $30 per hour who attend an hour long presentation. The “cost” of this presentation in terms of time is $12,000 (number of employees x hourly wage).  What if the main point or message of the presentation isn’t communicated effectively?  Then the organization did not get value for the $12,000 investment (plus other costs associated with a meeting).  If you extrapolate this concept to a large organization of 100,000 employees, where on average 25% of employees attend a presentation (or webinar) once a week, then the cost of less than memorable presentations could be as high as $30M per year.  I am not the first person to think this way. In his blog post, Are We Wasting $250 Million per Day Due to Bad PowerPoint?, author and presentation consultant Dave Paradi discusses just how much time and money we may be wasting with ineffective presentations.

Using the presentation “slides” as handouts doesn’t help much either.  In their article The PowerPoint Presentation and Its Corollaries: How Genres Shape Communicative Action in Organizations, JoAnne Yates and Wanda Orlindowski from the MIT Sloan School of Management discuss using presentations slides as documents. They state “PowerPoint texts created with this dual purpose typically have too much content to be effective presentations aids and too little content and context to fulfill the expectations for the report genre”.  In other words, presentation slides can have the dubious distinction of being both poor presentation visuals and poor documents.

The solution is to educate presenters on presentation design/delivery. Make it a priority; it is too important a function to be allowed to “just happen”. When organizations roll out new software there is training and support for employees, however employees deliver important information and ideas everyday via presentations and typically have no training in how to do this effectively. Live presentations can be a powerful form of communication; it’s interesting that many organizations assume employees have the skill to do them well. It is a dangerous assumption to make from a productivity and financial point of view.

What was the key message, the point, of the last internal presentation or webinar that you attended?

Boring presentations are not only ineffective, they can also be expensive.

Joe Pops