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.


3 Replies to “I’ll just throw a few slides together…”

  1. Good points raised RTBB JP, we usually do blindly follow the powerpoint template microsoft has provided. Your passion for the topic is evident, keep up the good work. I look forward to tips that you have to share. CLM

  2. These comments remind me of an article called Computer Slide Shows: A Trap for Bad Teaching by W.R. Klemm published 2007 in College Teaching 55(3)p.121-124. Klemm makes some great points about how teachers often misuse PPT and that encourages ‘information dumping’ as opposed to learning.
    He suggests that presentations should motivate students not put them to sleep, point them to good reference material and experts not give them all the information, engage them in active engagement not promote surface learning.
    I see this a lot both in my learning and teaching. I often fall into the trap of doing too much talking and not enough listening, making slides too much focussed on the information and not enough focus on the concepts or message. Klemm suggests that inserting a blank side often in the presentation will remind the speaker to let the audience take over. Keeping the last slide on the screen can be a distraction.
    Here is a question: What is the main difference between a presentation given in a lecture format in a class as compared to a presentation given in other situations (such as a sermon, sales presentation, general interest presentation, political speech, continuing education conference, etc)?

  3. Maybe the main difference between types of presentations is the “blend”. I think presentations fall somewhere along a spectrum, from the purely informative to the purely persuasive. Informative presentations are logical and are based on facts and figures (a lecture for example); persuasive presentations are emotional and are based on stories (a sermon for example). I believe the majority of presentations are a blend of the logical and the emotional. My current thinking is that how you determine the right blend for your presentation depends on the objective of the presentation, the message you are trying to deliver and your audience. I am planning to explore this further in a future blog post.
    What do you think?
    Joe Pops

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