Monday, September 6, 2010

Worst. Presentation. Ever.

I have just sat through the most astoundingly, mind bogglingly bad Powerpoint presentation I have ever seen!

It was a novel, not a presentation. Each slide was dense with prose and the presenter read the content to me. It felt like Play School for adults hosted by a talentless drone with the imagination of a cardboard box!

Seriously, it was so bad that after the presentation I asked the guy how he was going to make good the 90 minutes of my life he consumed with this dribble.

Its just not that hard guys. Really!

Watch any presentation by Steve Jobs, they are great and I don’t mean when viewed through an Apple Reality Distortion Field they're great object lessons in good presentation, from content to delivery. No matter what you think of Apple and Jobs, give the man his due, he gives great presentation!

Let me explain some of my rules for what makes a good presentation:

  1. Don’t read your slides to me. I am an adult and I can read - sometimes I don’t even have to move my lips.
  2. If I can understand the content of your presentation just by looking at the slides - its a document.
  3. A good picture is worth a thousand words - a cheesy image makes you look, well, cheesy.
  4. Less is more.
  5. Consistent look and feel is good. A different wipe and effect on every slide is not.
  6. Just because you think you are a good presenter doesn’t make it so.
  7. Good presentations take time, bad ones suck forever!
  8. Engage me.

Now I’m not saying I’m a great presenter but I think I do a good job and I’ve given a few presentations in my life where I haven’t put people to sleep.

A presentation is you making a pitch, don’t give the audience your document in bullet points, engage them with your delivery and explanation. Tell them a story that makes them buy into your vision.

A long time ago Aristotle came up with a brilliant concept that he detailed in Poetics, this concept is the secret to great presentations and I’ll let you in on it. The secret is that every good story has a beginning, middle and end. As a presenter you are telling a story. Your story. The story that you want to tell your audience.

If you don’t buy into your story no one else will. Instinctively you know the difference between The Godfather and Attack of the Killer Tomatos, the difference between a good story and a really bad one. Its no different with a presentation.

Your presentation can either be a story that inspires your audience or one that puts them to sleep.

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