Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No PowerPoint

… is better than bad powerpoint.

Stephen J. Gill on How to Use PowerPoint:

Having viewed many TED presentations, I had the mistaken belief that leaders were finally learning how to use PowerPoint (and other presentation tools) effectively. Recently, however, I’ve attended presentations by very smart people (doctors, lawyers, CPAs, professors, etc.), who are leaders in their organizations, who insist on putting as many words and numbers on a slide as possible. Because I want to hear what they have to say, I don’t read the slides. And, besides, I can’t read and understand that fast. Their slides become a distraction rather than a tool in helping me draw meaning from what they are saying. It would be better if they didn’t use PowerPoint at all.


Let me repeat the suggestions from Eleni Kalakos:

  1. Use very few slides.
  2. Use very little text.
  3. Use big, legible fonts and striking colors.
  4. Use one striking visual instead of text.
  5. Practice the presentation aloud - with props and technology - until it becomes second nature.
  6. Bring back-up notes on paper in case the technology goes kerflooey.
  7. Use one big, bold bar graph or pie chart instead of a slide full of numbers.
  8. Use the "B" key on the computer to temporarily blank out the screen to assure complete attention when making a crucial point.
  9. Ask for guidance and direction from a professional coach.
  10. Always - and above all - connect deeply with the audience, one human being to another.

Garr Reynolds also offers some excellent suggestions in his blog post, Top Ten Slide Tips.

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