Oh no! Ellen says we'll start in a few more minutes -- that's not fair! It's disrespectful to the people who do come on time to have to wait longer. One way not to make your presentation suck - respect people's time! Looks to me that Ellen dropped the ball a bit there. Anyways, we start 5 minutes later than planned - so it isn't too bad. Looks like the chat is quite limited -- not that awesome for a webinar at this time, especially when there's a twitter hashtag on their for people to air their thoughts and it's not the most convenient thing to switch between the webinar tool and twitter itself! Meh...
There's a lot of drivel that people begin their presentations - e.g. a loaded agenda and all about the speaker. Why do 99% use a tool that's an object of such derision? Death by Powerpoint?
Most people spend less than one hour learning Powerpoint. Some times 15 minutes! They spend the next five years using the same limited skills. Those who do it fast are thought to be experts and those who teach others are called gurus.
Most people who go about creating content, go about creating it backwards e.g. the company's virtues, mission statement, etc. What does that say about the presenter's ability? It tells me the presenter's topic itself isn't the strongest thing about the talk. Similarly, bulleted slides dump down perfectly good ideas, because then speakers are speaking to slides and the slides are getting between them and their audience. That said, all Powerpoint isn't bad. "Powerpoint is a good finishing tool, but should we start with it?" I agree that starting analog on pen and paper is a good way to start preparing for presentation.
Why do people cram every word onto their slides?
- they're lazy
- they don't know any better
- and many other reasons
People don't come to see your slides. They come to hear your expertise. That said, it's not about you. They need to be convinced that you have their interests in mind. You need to get away from the computer and that sometimes means fast paced doing and undoing and often paper is best way to generates ideas at speed.
Design - a plan for the structure and functions of an artifact, building, or system. Nowhere does that say decoration. Design != Decoration
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do you know your stuff?
- Have you prepared diligently?
- Could you give the presentation without any slides at all?
"Few slides and few presenters can function properly with excess verbiage"
When you have too much text on your slides you feel compelled to read from it, and that makes you look like a complete idiot in front of your audience, because they think you're a bozo who doesn't know your topic. And 'postage stamp' like photos on your slides do your presentation no good.
There are several ways to reduce text on your slides -- one way out as Rick suggests is to first reduce your bullet points to 3-4 words each or less. Not my idea of doing this properly, but OK - I'll listen on. Rick's approach seems to be very different from mine, where I'd break up his one slide into several more slides, but I guess it's not a bad approach.
Other Reasons for Failure
People cram text on their slides because:
- they don't know any better;
- OR they are addicted;
- OR they are trying to create leave-behind;
- OR they're required to.
The problem of trying to create leave-behinds just leads to slideuments.Thanks for mentioning this, Rick. If your slide functions as a good document, then it's neither a good slide nor a good document. Rick suggests that we use the notes page to create our documents and the slides to be just slides -- that's good advice. I like Nancy Duarte's great video that helps how you understand why you should present your slides and distribute your documents and not vice-versa.
Being required to have lots of text on slides makes us as drones of presenters and it makes our audience nothing but zombies! Rick suggests a show-and-tell technique where you say something and then display it on screen. Again, not something I agree with -- I'm less forgiving than Rick.
Crafting Better Messages
Here's Rick's wisdom on making better presentations:
- Take the three-word challenge
- Bigger is rarely better
- Whitespace creates emphasis
- Does your boss need a detox program?
Animation without Embarrassment
Smart sequencing is the key to increased understanding. Abuse of animation ranks highly amongst top presentation annoyances. Flying text is bad animation. OTOH the use of animation to progressively build an image or to reveal a concept sequentially is much more effective.
Good animation promotes increased undestanting and appreciation of the topic. It calls attention to the topic, not to the tool.
The animator's oath:
- I will use custom animation wisely
- I vow not to offend the sensibilities of my audience.
- I will not use animation just because I can!
- Thinking "sequencing" when you hear "animation".
- Spoon feeding chunky data is critical to better understanding.
- You can't go wrong with fade.
I've found Rick's advice a bit prescriptive and silver-bulletish and guilty of not sharing some fundamental design wisdom that Gary Reynolds of Presentation Zen often shares. This is not to demean Rick's talk, but some of this talk isn't necessarily what I agree with a 100%, though I share Rick's goal to make better presentations. Anyways, staying up late hasn't served me awfully well tonight, but I'm happy to bite the bullet and do this again next time. If nothing, I'll reinforce what I already know.