pacman like pie charts

Recently my friend and I, have for some reason, talked to a lot of people about presentations – and we’ve been trying to convert them all to use “bullet-point-less” presentations. For those who we’ve talked to, you’ve probably already heard this, for those who haven’t…welcome to a whole new perspective on presentations!

Late last year, through random blog reading we found a wonderful blog all about presentations: Presentation Zen. There was one post in particular that compared the different presentation styles of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates which I feel is a great introduction and gets straight to the point.

There is no particular style that is “right” but the main concept is to keep your slides simple. Don’t overload your audience with information. Don’t put a billion bullet points/lines of text into your slide. If you have everything you want to say written on your slides, then the audience doesn’t need you to be there – they can just read your slides.

…bullets tend to make our presentations formal and stiff, serve to “dumb down” our points, and lead to audiences being confused…and bored.

Avoiding boring your audience to death with your PowerPoint presentations isn’t easy. In my opinion, how you design your slides is very important (and also what you are presenting and how you say it). The approach I’ve taken is predominately to have pictures/photos and minimal words on the slides. For example, my most recent presentation was pretty much all pictures only. Those slides probably don’t mean much at all by themselves, as they were only there to help get my point across. (If you’re wondering, they were the slides I used for my Thesis A presentation about Email Addiction in the Workplace)

One of the very first questions people ask is…“Where do I get the pictures from?” Well, there are heaps of different places on the Internet that will give you all the pictures you need – for free! The two that I use most are flickr and stock.xchng. Sometimes I give Google Images a try, however most of the time the images found aren’t good in quality. There are many other sites (though some require you to pay), in fact Presentation Zen has a whole list of them!

If I still haven’t convinced you to give it a go, have a look at presentations from TED – they are awesome! Or read a few more of the many excellent posts from Presentation Zen.

edit: Found this after writing up the above post – a great video by Garr Reynolds (author of Presentation Zen)  presenting at Google about effective presentations.

  • glam

    Totally agree on info-less slides for presentation about our own findings and views. I don’t search and photgraph much so I also rely on animation to get my idea across in my Thesis A presentation, except I was limited to use 10 slides…

    On the other hand, without being present at your talk…. what are the slides about? I am guessing the paper clips at the 3rd last slide mean reports? … you are more cryptic than Carol.. don’t like you anymore :p j/k

    Did you shoot any of the photos yourself apart from looking at flickr and sxc?

  • http://psychopyko.com pyko

    hi glam,
    unfortunately didn’t get the time/chance to take any photos to use in my presentation – maybe next time :)

    lols, cryptic Carol *strangles*…For that paper clip slide i was talking about “filling in the gap in the literature and linking everything together”

    and 10 slides only? now that is hard! I bet there would’ve been heaps of people cramming in whole essays into each slide.

  • Chii

    and of course, instead of trying to find the perfect photo to illustrate ur idea, why not try actually making the photo instead! keep it a caricature of the idea, and it doesnt have to look good, as long as its entertaining and humorous. ms paint is a good candidate usually =D

  • http://chrisbroadfoot.id.au/ Chris Broadfoot

    Watch out grabbing photos off flickr — they probably have a copyright associated with the image

  • http://psychopyko.com pyko

    chii: I agree – taking your own photo would be wonderful :) you’ll need to give yourself some time though so you can find the ‘perfect’ shot. illustrating the idea is nice too – get the creative juices going!

    chris: thanks for pointing it out! if you go into the advanced search in flickr you can select differnt copyright/creative commons options.

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