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!
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.