Tag Archives: PowerPoint
We were recently asked what it is that our clients most often use webinar software to do. The clear, overwhelming answer: to share PowerPoint presentations. In a BusinessWeek remix of the always enjoyable PowerPoint bash (Death TO PowerPoint – oh what a difference a preposition makes!) the stats certainly form a basis for an explanation. My favorite – for better or worse – 350 PPT presentations are delivered every second.
On the basis that 349 are terrible (my exaggeration, not BW’s), the piece offers presenters alternatives to the PPT crutch. While I loved the butcher paper idea (I’ve used it myself), the suggestions were largely focused on in-person presentations. So how to pull the PPT crutch in a webinar environment?
It’s not quite the same as having a marker in hand, but your webinar software does have a whiteboard. Your hurdle is a bit higher since your audience is in a visual vacuum if that whiteboard is blank, but if your story is compelling and your illustration/annotation is quick, it can be a powerful tool.
A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words
No matter what type of content you’re delivering, you can speak conversationally to a compelling visual. Steer clear of clip art, of course, but peruse your organization’s content library as well as Creative Commons-licensed images to illustrate your idea. The simplest schematic, chart or graph you can create can make your technical or numeric point far more powerfully than a spreadsheet with 8 point font.
Less Is More
As BW suggests, it’s not necessarily PPT that’s the problem. At a minimum, use the above ideas to reduce the number of slides in your deck and to create more whitespace on the remaining slides. If all else fails, provide your audience with the webinar equivalent (typically an emoticon of some sort) of Jones’ bell and heed their feedback.
So what’s your best tip for delivering information rather than a PPT presentation? Share it in the comments.
This Forbes piece was too timely not to share in relation to our last few posts. If, like me, you apply the 5 second rule when your kid’s breakfast hits the floor, check out Vinod Khosla’s Five-Second Rule for another idea.
From Wall Street to Main Street, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 1 Infinite Loop, more has been said, better than I could ever, about the bright light that was Steve Jobs. I’ve watched, read, heard, and generally been reminded (as if an iAnything owner could ever forget) of his brilliance, and I find myself reflecting as much on what he said as what he did. Not in a “dent in the universe” greatest hits kind of way, more in a “was the man the message?” way. If Joe Wall Street or John Main Street or Mr. President had taken the podium to announce the iPad, would he have moved – the audience, the market, the share price, the needle, us – equally?
Whether we’re executives, trainers, marketers or managers, we’re none of us Steve Jobs. But we can certainly look to his stellar example for ideas on delivering the message. For a great breakdown of Jobs in action, check out Jon Thomas’ analysis of his WWDC 2010 keynote. If you’re a more visual person, watch Jobs’ iCloud announcement just months before his death. That presentation served up the spare but powerful messaging we’ve come to expect of Apple and, if you’re an Apple type, the content was pretty great. But the iCloud announcement was just Steve Jobs doing what he always did: delivering meaningful content with the blend of proficiency, ease, frankness, passion and simplicity that he was renowned for.
Chances are you’re not announcing game-changing technology, but what’s the takeaway as a presenter? Whether for a demand generation webinar for 1,000 or management training for 20, can we borrow from Jobs for the benefit of our participants?
Distill the message. Is jargon or unnecessarily elevated language diluting your message? Could you convey it using fewer words? If so, edit.
Use relevant visuals. Are your charts, graphs and photos working to keep your slide clean and communicate your point clearly? If not, change or cut them.
You’re there for a reason. True, not everyone has Steve Jobs’ charisma. And chances are you won’t have folks camping out just to hear you speak. But if you’ve created a strong presentation, prepared for and practiced the delivery of it, can you give your participants a really great experience?
Simple takeaways from a master class, but in the words of the man himself, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” BusinessWeek interview, May 1998
He probably didn’t have PowerPoint in mind when he defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But if the shoe fits…
Small Business Computing’s Death by Powerpoint post is ten years old, but we’re still subjected to data dumpers and slide slaves, among other offenders, on a regular basis. Just last month, in fact, PowerPoint pro Dave Paradi posted his latest Annoying PowerPoint Survey results. Surprised to hear that folks loathe speakers reading slides filled with sentences written in 8 point font? CFO World even called out last year’s ten worst. We’ve all been there. The big question is: are we doing the same thing over and over again to our audiences?
Let’s stop the insanity. Over the next couple of weeks, let’s talk best practices for presentations and presenters, as well as the planning, promoting and participant experience of webcasts. To kick things off, though, let’s get PowerPoint simple.
• Simple, sans serif fonts
• Simple, dark on light text
• Simple, unanimated slides (My kids like animation. Me? Speaking of insanity…)
• Simple, relevant graphics or charts
• Simple, bulleted concepts
The first four are simple fixes, but that last bullet is where we sometimes fall down. We know the material. We want to give our audiences the benefit of our expertise. ALL of our expertise…. So here’s our challenge: economize. Even Hemingway wrote“….one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of…” well, let’s just say he didn’t think they were masterpieces. Let’s challenge every word on the slide to give our audiences only our masterpiece.