“Millions of presentations are now given every day with the aid of PowerPoint or other slideware. Yet, most presentations remain mind-numbingly dull, something to be endured by both presenter and audience alike.” Garr Renolds (Presentation Zen).
Presentations are not about endurance (i.e. how long can I bore you before you walk out), they are about sharing information orally and visually. It is all about communication. This being the case then presentations should make a point (one single point) and then explain why that point is important. (Otherwise why do I want to hear it?) That is it.
“Communication is the transfer of emotion.” Seth Godin.
In 2007 Seth Godin wrote an e-book on Really Bad PowerPoint and How to avoid it. He hoped that it would it would make people think about their presentations and that things would get better. But he recently posted it AGAIN, because things have got worse. It is not 100 per cent identical the one posted in 2007, but you would have to read both to determine that.
So the three parts of a presentation are:
- 1. Slides with visuals that support or reinforce your words.
Remember slides are an aid to the presenter; they are not the presentation. If they are the presentation, then you might as well stay a home. Especially as I can read quicker than you can talk. I am going to be extremely annoyed, irritated if you treat me like a 5 year old and read to me. So don’t. I want you to talk to me and show me. Get me involved in your talk, excite me, educate me but do not read to me.
- 2. Cue Cards (these are your notes)
Remember your slides are not your notes so don’t put everything you want to say on your slides. Put 6 words on your slides and put your notes on your cue cards. They are in your hand so know what you want to say – just in case you forget or get side tracked during the presentation. Or if you go blank.
- 3. Report. This is what you leave behind.
This is not a print out of your slides which are irrelevant without the presenter. And the report is not your cue cards. The report is the detail of your presentation, plus everything else that you had to summarise, simplify etc to make you slides work. It covers the main points of your presentation in-depth and in detail.