I just created the PowerPoint presentation for the trade show this week in Wisconsin. I really dislike PowerPoint, having sat through one too many pointless slide shows in IT, often given by people who don't know what their talking about and hide behind their wooshing slides with fancy effects. I also don't like speaking in front of people, so no wonder I have some animosity towards the tools for doing so.
My goal in making a PowerPoint presentation is to avoid the glazing over of the audiences eyes. It seems to require a minimalist approach. You want something nice to look at, but you don't want a lot of text. The worst feeling is to travel to a presentation and realize the guy could have just emailed you the PowerPoint, considering he's just reading it verbatim. They're supposed to be talking points for the presenter and visual aids for the audience. Anything else and you've got too much (I think). The key for me is to learn how to pace my undocumented talking about a topic with the time allotted, while having some good interaction with the audience.
My best ever presentation was for a speech class in my senior year of college. I was also taking bodyguard classes at the time for a career I never went into (don't ask), so I combined the two, giving a talk on bomb identification. This was in 1992, so you could talk about bombs without Homeland Security running an armored personnel carrier into your living room and sending you to Cuba. For the presentation, I arrived to class a half hour early and hid homemade bombs throughout the room.
These bombs used batteries and various triggers attached to flash cubes. One used a mercury switch, so when you tilted a pack of cigarettes, it went off. Another used an old Russian wristwatch that went off at a certain time as the metal hands closed a circuit. Another was a collapsing circuit bomb that went off when the batteries died or you got clever and tried to cut the wires to the explosives (flash cube). As I presented the speech to the class, I walked around and revealed the hidden bombs, under chairs, behind the TV, duct taped under the podium, and set them off, using their mechanisms with an exciting flash. You couldn't even talk about something like that nowadays without law enforcement coming down hard on you.
Powerpoint presentations work best as outlines, with certain key facts and quotes that you don't dare get wrong. You then use the slides as your springboard to talk.ReplyDelete
Arguably, one of the best users of presentation software is Steve Jobs. Here is a short article on how to pump up your presentations: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/apr2006/sb20060406_865110.htmReplyDelete
I think I'm on the right track. My handout is 16 pages of dense reading (for afterwards), but my presentation is about 10 slides, mostly with visual aids.ReplyDelete
"having sat through one too many pointless slide shows in IT, often given by people who don't know what their talking about and hide behind their wooshing slides with fancy effects"ReplyDelete
You wouldn't happen to be referring to a certain person, named after a Persian king (circa 522 BC to 486 BC) trying to explain the interaction of Exchange and voicemail, would you? ;)
He does come to mind. In his case I mostly felt sorry for him, rather than annoyance.ReplyDelete