PowerPoint Deaths Climb in 2009: But at Slower Rate
Every year, I Google the phrase "Death by PowerPoint" (without quotes).
Exactly one year ago today, this "Death by PowerPoint" inquiry
yielded 366,000 search results - over 4 times as many results as 2007.
Today, if you Google "Death by PowerPoint", you'll see 980,000 results -- only about 2.7 times as much as 2008. The year-to-year death rate appears to be dropping.
The PowerPoint death rate keeps climbing -- but at a much slower pace than 2007-2008.Why do you reckon the rate of death mentions is slowing?
With more people participating in social media channels, the opportunity to mention this oft-parroted phrase is increasing. Could it be that the phrase itself is becoming passe?Yet why are overall mentions still increasing?
Almost a million search returns - goodness! What will 2010 yield? And what will finally put an end to the carnage? :)
Labels: design, fun, PowerPoint Presentation
Two Ways to Let Your Audience Co-Create Presentation Content
Your audience has the technology. They're carrying smart phones. They have net books or note books.
So why not let them use their snazzy tech tools
to co-create presentations? Here are two tech-driven ways to let your audience co-create presentation content.PollEverywhere.
Audience interactivity is a big part of the draw of PollEverywhere
. You ask your audience a question; they can answer using Twitter, text messages, or the web. The PollEverywhere online service instantly tabulates audience survey results in chart form in your PowerPoint presentation.
I used PollEverywhere in class earlier this week -- it took me only a few minutes to craft a few cheeky surveys using the service. Downloading the poll as a PowerPoint slide (ppt or pptx) was a smooth, one-click operation. When students took the poll, results weren't exactly immediate -- I estimated a 15-20 second lag time before the graph started moving and changing before our eyes. Not bad at all.
PollEverywhere also allows you to ask open-ended questions as well as create bar or column charts. You may download survey results in CSV format, tweak colors and font sizes, and embed polls in web pages. This tool is very simple to use, yet fun and potentially quite powerful. Free for a small audience of 30 or less, PollEverywhere also provides more robust options with its paid services for use with larger audiences.Twitter Hashtags.
In the 1990's, I would often moderate candidate forums during election years. To keep these town hall meetings civil, we would pass out index cards and ask the audience to write out their candidate questions. Audience members passed their written questions to volunteers who made sure that the most popular and well-framed questions were brought forward to my lectern.
Today's audience may warm to a similar approach that is more transparent than using index cards. Why not ask a modern audience to Tweet their questions with a special Twitter hashtag
for panel discussions? This lets a tech-savvy audience easily see the most popular and well-framed questions, while preventing boors from hijacking the Q&A portion
of the program with tiresome or poorly-framed questions. Services like Tweetchat
let the panel and audience easily visualize the scope of questions surrounding the topic at a larger meeting, forum, or conference.
How else have you used technology to encourage audience interaction in your presentations? What works well? What doesn't?
Labels: content ideas, PowerPoint Presentation, Twitter
How do you EARN attention when presenting?
"No computers or handhelds during my presentation," barks a presenter. "I don't know whether you're playing games or paying attention. For the next hour, all eyes up here, on me!"
photo credit: Ana Marta 7
I ignore this insane outburst, of course. I'm an adult. So is the rest of the audience. I take notes on my notebook PC. If the guy has something pithy to say, I might even rock it out on Twitter
, give him credit, and spread his idea further.
After his presentation, the fellow rebuked me for failing to follow his pre-presentation command. I was being rude by typing as he talked, he insisted.
On the contrary, I protested. I was there to learn from him, not to pacify his ego by staring adoringly at him while he ignored the needs of his audience.
In fact, I told him I glanced up from my computer numerous times. I looked at his PowerPoint slides, but the text was too small for me to read, so I looked at him. His body language -- back to the audience as he read the text from the slides -- didn't hold my visual interest, so my eyes went back to my computer screen. Because he was long-winded, he didn't give me any short concepts to Tweet, so his ideas didn't spread beyond the room.
I have an obligation to be a good audience member. It means that my mobile phone is silenced, so that I don't annoy others. It means that I give back energy to the presenter -- I laugh if something's funny, applaud if I am moved, nod quietly with agreement, raise my hand to ask questions, make eye contact at times, or participate in activities or discussions when I am asked courteously. Otherwise, I remain silent and take notes.
As a presenter, I note that my audience is often texting or typing while I talk. They might indeed be playing games or doing something non-work related. They also might be taking notes, learning, and sharing ideas.
It's not about me and my needs, it's about the audience. A modern audience uses modern tools. As a presenter, I need to learn to adapt my style to fit their needs. Why should the audience have to pacify my selfish needs for their attention? Why should I force my audience to stop using tools that let them learn and share information?
As a presenter, I need to EARN attention. If I'm interesting, the audience is more likely to be interested. They might express their interest in a different way: years back, they might have nodded and jotted down a note. Today, they might nod and type.
Get used to it. Don't churlishly tell your audience to PAY attention. Instead, be so phenomenally entertaining or interesting that they can't help but GIVE you their attention!
How do you EARN attention when presenting to a modern, tech-savvy audience?
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation, social media, Twitter
Crowdsourcing Presentation Content with Twitter
According to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing
is outsourcing a task to a large group of people in an open call. For example, when I was asked to present on the topic of social media & reputation management to an audience of college students earlier this month, I turned to the community at Twitter as an exercise in presentation content crowdsourcing.
Using the medium to help create the message, I posed my situation and asked a question:
Within hours, I received a dozen or so intriguing replies. It struck me that many of the replies looked -- and read -- like fortune cookies. So I felt whimsically inspired to use a prophetic design treatment for some of the Twittered replies. Ergo,
In some cases, I worked the Tweet into the overall landscape of the Twittered prophecy.
Give credit where it's due. When I showed each of the crowdsource quotations, I gave verbal credit to the contributor, stating their name, city, and occupation. The Tweet itself shows each of their Twitter " handles="" or="" thanks="">LisaBraithwaite
. The audience discussed the twittered advice. Each slide served as a backdrop for an interactive discussion.
Why Crowdsource Content?
Frankly, at the time I turned to Twitter for content ideas because it sounded like fun -- and because it would be very easy to do. I'm also acutely interested in what professionals who participate in social media circles might have to say on the subject -- and how they'd say it. Additionally, I thought that the students in my audience would also be interested in this very relevant perspective and voice, as well.
I also found four other reasons to crowdsource presentation content:1. Introduce a fresh voice.
As a speaker, you express your own point of view and personality. And you'll use your own pace, pitch, tone, and vernacular. A fresh, new voice can add both visual and auditory interest -- while supporting your key points.2. Introduce fresh ideas.
Through crowdsourcing, you may be exposed to new ideas that can enhance the content and tone of your presentation. The Twitter community gave me plenty of content to support my overall thesis -- but they also encouraged me to explore a new dynamic that may previously have gone uncovered.3. Strengthen the audience connection to the content.
Presenters often use a pithy quotation from a famous person to help convey a point. But why limit your quotations to
famous people? Getting a quote from a respected professional with a unique point of view can be engaging for the audience. Using a quote from a "real" person can make the content more personal.4. Why not?
How hard is it to ask a question to a group of people? The worst that can happen is that no one responds, and you're out a few seconds of your time! Weigh that against the best that can happen - you gain new insights into your topic that you haven't realized before. You get smarter. You get to build and strengthen ideas. Your audience benefits from stronger, more personal content. And along the way, you meet interesting people who like to talk about ideas.
What other reasons might you decide to crowdsource a presentation? And what might hold you back from getting ideas from people in the crowd? :)
(For another example of crowdsourcing, feel free to respond to this question about college graduation keynote speeches
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation, social media, Twitter
Three Transparently Phony Ways to Appear Less Confident
. Somehow, this word became virtuous in the 1980's. It remained a positive trait -- until fairly recently.
Confidence men, we called them in the 1930's and 40's. Over time, we shortened this to "Con Men" or "Cons". Overly charming, smooth. Hucksters
Cons transmit that they are absolutely positive in their correctness. Who trusts the overly confident?Bernie Madoff
and his ilk have made us collectively uneasy about confidence again.
How to appear less confident
photo credit: Matti Mattila
If you're an overly confident speaker, you might have a big problem connecting with a modern, tech-savvy audience. (Especially here in the American Midwest!) In an era of quickly produced, less-than-polished user generated content -- your confidence might seem inappropriately over-the-top.
Here are 3 quick and completely insincere ways to tone down any over-confidence you may have as a speaker or presenter.
- Toss in filler words. A few, "ums and ahhs" and nervous shuffling can go a long way to instill the idea that you're thinking about what you're saying. You're not glibly reciting a speech. You're not absolutely convinced that you are unequivocally correct. You're open to starting conversations and creating a dialog. Your social awkwardness in public speaking indicates that you're thinking. That you're concerned. That you care enough to be nervous. Audiences warm to this kind of humility.
- Ugly up your PowerPoint slides. Nothing says, "I'm overly image conscious" like professionally designed PowerPoint presentations. When it looks like a presenter spent 80 hours in meetings with a team of designers, writers, and speech coaches to deliver a one-hour presentation -- that's the take-away. That's what the audience will talk about behind the speaker's back. The message won't stick when all people talk about is how pretty the slides were and how Hollywood the storytelling was.
- Dress out-of-sync. I watched a multi-millionaire give a presentation to 200+ business people. The audience? In modern business attire. The presenter? In a sad, schlumpfly suit from the 1980's. The audience LOVED him. Think they merely tolerated his eccentric garb because he was rich? Guess again. I also watched a junior software engineer wearing an unpressed polo shirt and lumpy khakis present to a board wearing business suits. They ADORED his presentation, too.
If you're an awkward or eccentric speaker, rejoice. This is your time! Embrace your humility! Hug your weirdness!
And if you're a con artist, your audience will likely see through your naked attempts to "Aw, shucks it up" for them. After all, this is the age of authenticity and transparency
-- two achingly glorious buzzwords that shine a bright, unflattering spotlight on slick over-confidence and transparently phony faux-humility mannerisms.
Social awkwardness is in!
Nerds, enjoy it while it lasts...
What will the next wave of popularity be?
Labels: design, fun, PowerPoint Presentation, social media
The Creepiest PowerPoint Design Trend of 2009
Those were four words on four slides in a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation I witnessed last month. The remaining 700 slides in the presentation each had one word on them, as well.
OK, I'm exaggerating. There couldn't have been 700 slides in that presentation.
But it seemed like it.
In the presentation I saw, random buzzwords that the speaker used in his narrative kept fading in-an-out of the PowerPoint slides projected behind him. Oh-so-slowly.
After a few minutes, I blinked, shook my head, and looked away. I was getting too mesmerized by the slow word parade.
I was looking for meaning in those words. I was looking for context. There wasn't any.
After looking off to the right for a few moments, I focused on merely listening to the speaker while I stared at a blank wall. The presenter was telling a story about a problem his customers had, and how his product helped solve it.
It wasn't a half-bad story, so I turned to look at the speaker.
Then, I saw it.
I grimaced. I had to look away again.
Since this presentation, I've seen a few other slow-word-parade style presentations. I suspect presenters create this style as something of a mood board
to set the tone for the presentation. It can be easier and cheaper to toss word salad at people than to craft a story and work on polishing the delivery.
Personally, I find this word-mood board style of presentation design distracting and disturbing. It was hard for me to focus on connecting with the speaker or his story. I found myself thinking that he would have been much more effective with absolutely nothing in the background.
I've seen this technique a number of times this year. Let's hope this a trend that will, uh -- fade quickly!
What are better ways to set the mood for your presentation?
Labels: design, PowerPoint Presentation
Stop! In the Name of Acronyms!
That's what I'd yell if I was a police officer chasing a suspect. And apparently, I'd be wrong.
A buddy was watching a crime drama a while ago. I came in late. As I settled on the couch, a police officer was chasing a suspect.
"Stop! NYPD!" shouted the policeman. The bad guy kept running.
"What's NYPD?" I asked my chum.
"This story is set in New York. NYPD is New York Police Department. Everyone knows that."
"Really?" I asked. "If I was visiting New York, and some nut with a gun was chasing me screaming out alphabet soup. I'd run faster."
Of course, screaming out the acronym NYPD is ludicrous. If I was in Chicago, would police officers scream, "Stop! CPD!"? And if the Ontario Provincial Police yelled, "Stop! OPP!" -- suspects would probably break out in laughter.
It doesn't take any longer to say "New York" than it does "NY". Same number of syllables. So it's not a matter of speaking an acronym for speed. And it's not a department that's chasing a bad guy -- it's a solitary officer. Even weirder -- why say the name of the city at all? Isn't that redundant? After all, the suspect probably knows what city he's in!
I asked my crime-show loving friend all of these questions. He seemed annoyed.
"Because it's TV. I'm sure they say, "Stop, Police" in real life. Now can we please watch the show?"
I stopped talking, but I kept thinking about it. In real life, people can get a little acronym happy. The police officer became so accustomed to interdepartmental and collegial jargon -- he forgot that anyone outside his circle wouldn't know what the heck he's yelling about.
It's not just television show detectives that have acronym issues. As a consultant who gets brought into larger organizations, one of my first tasks is usually to crack the acronym and jargon code that insiders use among each other. This can actually be kind of fun -- like a puzzle. Or learning a new tribal language. It also helps keep my wits sharp for when adolescents and young people start talking in Instant Messaging Lingo (IM, for short!) --"OMG! POS - TTYL
So when it comes to crafting presentations or communication pieces for an external audience, consider hiring a writer or editor -- if for no other reason than to have an outside set of ears and eyes experience the communication piece. You won't believe the alphabet soup I've often encountered in external marketing presentations. It often slips by, unnoticed to ears that have grown tone-deaf to the buzz of interdepartmental acronyms.
It's really that ubiquitous. Don't believe me?
For a fun little exercise, open up any one of your recent corporate or organizational PowerPoint presentations. Do an acronym count -- it's quite likely that you'll find at least one.
And before you think, "Yeah, but everyone knows THAT acronym..." please think about how little work it might take to change it. You can make yourself more clear by actually speaking the words -- instead of chanting the letters that represent the words.
This one simple act may keep your suspects -- er, prospects -- from running away!
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Your PowerPoint Is Not Your Presentation
"May I have a copy of your PowerPoint presentation?" asks an audience member.
"What for?" I ask.
"So that I can look at it later."
"Is there something I said that isn't clear? Do we need to go back?" I ask.
"No, no. Great presentation. I just want a hard copy."
"Well, no," I answer. "My PowerPoint slides are my props. They're not my presentation."
OK, I don't actually say that last bit.
I often want to, but I don't! Instead, I usually say,
"I'm glad you liked the presentation. But public speaking is a part of my livelihood, and I give this presentation multiple times, in multiple venues. I don't want the presentation floating around the internet. I'm sure you understand. But tell you what, after about six months or so, I'll probably be done giving this presentation, so if you want to leave me your card..."
Seriously. Be a polite audience member. Never, ever ask a presenter for his or her presentation. (Not unless the presenter offers it to the audience as a download or CD or print out first. I sometimes do this after a 6 month run.)
If you like my presentation, I'm flattered. Really.
But my PowerPoint slides are usually props for my speech.
Would you go up to a juggler and ask, "Neat act! May I have your balls?"
OK, maybe you would!
But if you've been paying attention and taking notes during a speech or presentation, you won't need the PowerPoint presentation. Really.
So don't ask!
In fact, I often design stand-up presentations so that they are complete gibberish if someone looks at the slides only. Without my narrative and personality, the PowerPoint presentation usually won't make much sense. It won't help the viewer in any possible way.
I suspect that most people ask because they like the presentation. I also suspect they have personal or psychological problems! Like pack rats, they like to collect useless things. Or that they want to get all CSI on how I might have programmed an animation. Or they might be lazy and want to rip off a graph -- or cut, copy, paste a factoid or graphic -- instead of re-create it themselves.
But know this: to a presenter, it's not one bit flattering when an audience member asks for a hard copy of the presentation. It signals they weren't paying attention.
Instead, a thoughtful, polite audience member might ask, "Could you please show us the slide with X on it again? There were a few numbers on it that I'd like to reference..." or something that's slightly less offensive than asking for the entire presentation.
Really, if you're a happy audience member, find another way to show appreciation. Applause is always appreciated.
Also: be a presenter with balls. If someone asks for your presentation, learn to tell them no.
Maybe then, well-intentioned audience members will learn to quit asking!
(PS -- How do you tactfully tell an audience member, "NO!")
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Which PowerPoint Presentation Would You Prefer?
Today's PowerPoint presentation question is inspired by a Molson Canadian Bottle Label.
Would You Prefer...
- A hum-drum speaker using a scrumptious looking PowerPoint presentation?
- OR -
- A scintillating speaker using a visually so-so PowerPoint design?
Well, beer drinkers and others -- what's your answer?
In case (hah! case!) you have no idea what I'm talking about with regard to beer campaign labels, see the Molson bottle photo below. Or, if you're a logician, you can label (hah! label!) this PowerPoint Presentation Fallacy
as "False Dilemma
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Top 6 Fallacies About PowerPoint Presentations
Use emotion to connect to your audience. It's important.
Got it! Let's check that bullet point off the list!Now let's make some sense.
Beyond connecting emotionally, presenters also need to make sense. When presenters pander almost exclusively to emotion
, they often woefully neglect the rules of logic. And many presenters grease over logic with a slick style. Their audiences seem seduced by the glamorous design of the presentation -- or the pleasing, popular personality of the presenter.
It can be a fun exercise to call a "Time Out for Logical Fallacies!" Using social media tools like Twitter
, you can play a game of "Logical Fallacy Bingo" as you watch slick presenters play fast and loose with the rules of logic.
Here's how to play:
Just for grins, let's cover some examples of logical fallacies that we often hear about PowerPoint -- the tool many love to hate. For your Tweeting back channel
pleasure, I've also taken the liberty of inventing "Twitter Fallacy Hashtags" you can use when you're listening to a speech, press conference, or presentation. You can either call out the fallacy as the speaker uses them -- or simply Tweet the hashtag with the correct fallacy technique.
The six fallacies I'll cover in this post are:
- False Analogy (#Fanal)
- Post Hoc (#PostHoc)
- Contradictory Premises (#ConPrem)
- Ad Misericordiam (#AdMis)
- Hasty Generalization (#HastyG)
- Poisoning The Well (#PTWell)
1. False Analogy
False Analogy Example: "Construction workers use blueprints to guide them as they build. Doctors use X-rays and MRI images as diagnostic aids. Therefore, presenters should use PowerPoint slides as teleprompters during live-audience presentations. "
This argument, of course, is the fallacy of "False Analogy". Why? Blueprints and MRIs are created as visual aids for the construction worker and doctor. A presenter's visual aids are intended for the audience. The comparison, therefore, is invalid.
When a presenter tries to directly connect different situations and goals, they are making a False Analogy. Call them on it, or Tweet #FAnal
2. Post Hoc
Post Hoc Example: "Let's not use PowerPoint for our next presentation. Every time we use PowerPoint, the audience gets bored."
PowerPoint doesn't cause boredom. Not even close. Audience boredom is often caused by bad design, poor storytelling, a monotonous voice, insufferable presentation skills, lack of audience research, or any number of other factors. Those who blame the software tool for boredom are guilty of the fallacy of Post Hoc.
In fact, anyone who can't show a clear cause and effect is guilty of Post Hoc
and can Tweet #PostHoc. Call them on it.3. Contradictory Premises
Contradictory Premises Example: "The human brain ignores boring presentations. Therefore, a boring presentation was created by a human without a brain."
This sounds good. Heck, it even sounds right! But when the premises of an argument contradict each other, there can be no argument. If there is an irresistible force, there can be no immovable object. People with functioning brains create boring presentations. And they do so consciously, with rabid attention to boring, minute detail.
Call out "Contradictory Premises" or hashtag "#ConPrem" when you hear an example of this kind of logical fallacy in a speech or presentation.
4. Ad Misericordiam
The Question & Answer portion of a presentation is often a big Ad Misericordiam
festival. In Ad Misericordiam
, the presenter doesn't answer the question you ask, and instead appeals to your emotions or sympathy. Ad Misericordiam
is an extremely popular Q & A technique in business and political press conferences.Ad Misericordiam
Example: Suppose during the Question and Answer period of a presentation, you ask a presenter, "You said our brains ignore boring presentations. If that's true, what about all the subconscious and subliminal stuff our brains capture? Don't our brains really absorb almost everything? Isn't it proven that we can recall boring stuff with incredible accuracy under hypnosis or in our dreams? And why do we talk so much about presentations that bore us? Surely our brains notice -- and even categorize our boredom in painstaking detail!"
The presenter answers, "I put a lot of effort into making my presentation simple and easy to understand for the lay person. You're splitting hairs, muddying the waters, and making it hard for regular people to understand important concepts. I don't deserve this kind of specificity or a bitter, ruthless attack on my scientific integrity."
In the above Q&A example, you'll note that the presenter hasn't really answered your question at all. Instead, the presenter tried to rouse audience pity. The presenter also tried to shame, belittle, or humiliate you for asking rather obvious questions. In this way, the presenter committed the fallacy of Ad Misericordiam.
Feel free to shout "Ad Misericordiam
" when the presenter doesn't answer the question you asked and appeals to pity instead. Or Tweet Hashtag it with #AdMis
5. Hasty Generalization
Hasty Generalization Example: "I've seen quite a few boring PowerPoint presentations in my day. So have a lot of other people I know. Therefore, all PowerPoint presentations are boring."
In this case, there are far too few examples to reach a conclusion. You've may have seen plenty of bad PowerPoint presentations. But you've also seen some darn interesting ones! So have other people! When a generalization is realized too quickly -- you can shout out, "Hasty Generalization" or tag "#HastyG"
Remember, demanding specificity is the enemy of wacky generalizations!
6. Poisoning the Well
Poisoning the Well Example: Imagine I'm in a debate. My opponent gets up first and says, "Laura is a known fool. She doesn't have a lick of sense, and you cannot believe a word she is going to say."
Of course this isn't fair. I don't stand a chance if I'm called an idiot before I even begin my presentation. The audience is cheated out of the opportunity of finding that out for themselves! My opponent has "poisoned the well" before the audience had an opportunity to drink from it. When you see people "Poisoning the Well" -- call them on it. #PTWell
There are many more fallacies, of course. The six fallacies above are just a few examples about PowerPoint presentations. Fallacies can also be found running rampant in press conferences, media interviews, and current events.
For example, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appears to be a walking, talking fallacy factory lately! For example:
- Comparisons to Ghandi? False Analogy.
- Citing roots as a son of poor immigrants at the impeachment trial? Ad Misericordiam.
- Inviting investigators to record you, then later expressing dismay at being recorded while under investigation? Contradictory Premises, anyone?
What fallacies do you hear most often? And what lulus have you been hearing in the news or in presentations lately?
Labels: fallacies, fun, PowerPoint Presentation
The Top 5 Reasons Why You Love Bullet Points
So nobody likes bullet point presentations anymore.
Then why do some of the most popular headlines today read:
- "25 ways to..."
- "Ten Reasons Why..."
- "Three Secrets of..."
- "The Top 100..."
- and so forth?
And then, after reading these headlines that promise us some hot bullet point action, what happens?
Why, we read the bullet point articles!We are seduced by this type of headline.
We click on 'em. We pick up magazines with "magic number" headlines on the cover, knowing full well they will lead us to an article filled with bullet points or a numbered list!
Bullet points and numbered list presentations are particularly popular this time of year. End-of-the-year countdowns and top predictions are usually cheap and easy to produce.
And people seem hypnotized by the magnetic "magic number" headline.
Many blog readers cannot help but click on these "Top 10" type headlines when they see them on Digg
or on Twitter
or in their favorite blog reader. TV viewers cannot seem to resist watching cheaply produced countdown shows on cable channels that begin "The Top 100 Name-Something-Here."
After reading the article or watching the TV show with a headline that promises a bullet point presentation of information, you might feel content or vaguely satisfied. The bullet-point article didn't make you think too much. It was fun & easy to digest. Maybe it confirmed something you already knew. Or maybe you learned some concept, so that you can share your new found knowledge with others.
So why do we love bullet point articles and clip TV shows --
while claiming to hate PowerPoint bullet points?
In a 2006 Copyblogger post titled Little Known Ways to Write Fascinating Bullet Points
, Brian Clark writes, "Bullet points are maligned because most people don’t know how to write them."
So why not learn the techniques behind writing compelling headlines? And why not learn to write scrumptious bullet points that are every bit as addictive as a Letterman Top 10 list?
Done well, bullet points can be effective, persuasive, and even entertaining!
Happy 2009! It's the beginning of a new year! Audit yourself: how many "Bullet Point" shows and articles will you read this year? (How many have you already consumed?)
And how will you use the beloved PowerPoint bullet point to better engage and persuade your audience?
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation
Using Old Presentation Technology in the New Year
When was the last time you used an overhead projector and transparencies?
When I posed this question at Twitter
yesterday, I half expected scorn. Overheads and transparencies? Such old presentation technologies! I haven't seen an overhead projector since the 1900's.Turns out, I was only half right in expecting half scorn!
It seems that overhead projectors are still in use today. Here are the replies from my Twitter pals:
Note: when I post to Twitter, it automatically updates my status and publishes at FaceBook
. Friends who follow at FaceBook had this to say:Audience Reality Check.
Back in the late 1900's, I'd see an overhead projector in just about every board, class, and meeting room. The overhead projector was so ubiquitous, I used transparencies to back up PowerPoint presentations. If something went wrong with the computer or display unit, why, there was always
an overhead.I don't back up on transparencies anymore.
I just plain haven't seen an overhead in ages. (A quick Google Trends search shows a dramatic decline in the number of searches for overhead projectors
Don't believe everything you believe.
Just because I haven't seen an overhead doesn't mean that they're not being used creatively -- by very creative people! Old technologies are still hanging around -- why, just a few months ago, someone sent me a presentation on a zip disk.A zip disk!
Luckily, I had an old zip drive in the basement. This saved me the hassle of explaining FTP. Or thumb drives. Or CDR. Or anything remotely new-fangled.
As we enter the new year, which old technologies will finally fade away -- and which are here to stay?
And when was the last time you used an overhead projector and a set of transparencies? :)Link Love.
(Thanks much to all who responded on Twitter and FaceBook: Microsoft MVP Bill Dillworth
, Expression Engine MVP Michael Boyink
, Emmy nominated writer Charlotte Risch
, Public Relations Professor Barbara Nixon
, PhD Hal Richman
, Public Relations Bird Sandy C. Evans
, William Powell fan OMGFree
, Murphy's Law Breaker Lee Potts
, MotorSport enthusiast DR1665
, and Spartan Telecom Manager Nick Kwiatkowski
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, social media
PowerPoint, Propaganda, and You
This is Your Brain on PowerPoint. Our brains have 2 lobes. Loosely speaking, the left handles data, facts, and analysis. The right handles emotions, art, and intuition.
When it comes to experiencing a PowerPoint presentation, there's only so much your brain can process. You can either listen to a presenter speak, or you can try to read what you seen on the screen.
If you try to do both at the same time, you absorb less. And you become irritated with the presenter.
That's why we’re experiencing something of a fashion backlash against overly complicated, bullet-laden slides. They aren't effective. And they annoy people.
The 2008 vogue. We're seeing more PowerPoint slides with simple images and minimal words. In a way, these slides remind you of a child's book.
Simple graphics. Big words. Few words.
Sure. But there's a problem.
You are not a child. Your brain demands more!
The 2009 backlash.
photo credit: Spigoo
Let the backlash against the backlash begin! The current PowerPoint design fashion vogue is overly simplistic, and panders almost completely to the right side of the brain. Since one of our chief presentation objectives is to persuade, why is this a problem?Using only right brain techniques to persuade is emotionally manipulative.
Oh, it's highly effective, all right, but it's propaganda, nonetheless! Appealing only to the right side of the brain is less than truthful -- it lies by omission of key facts. Audiences are getting more savvy.
We're getting more suspicious. We're asking harder questions. We're tired of lying, half-truths, and crass emotional manipulation by corporate leaders, politicians, and news media outlets.
Those of us who are sentient realize that the simple and compelling imagery we see in corporate PowerPoint presentations, on TV ads, and elsewhere in the media aren't rational. Many people are beginning to resent the oversimplification. Tired of being treated like children, we're lashing back against these heavy handed attempts at brainwashing. "Propaganda Bingo" is long overdue.
It's time we started screaming out "Glittering Generality
" or "False dilemma
" and so forth when our leaders start blatantly using propaganda techniques in meetings, PowerPoint presentations, and press conferences
. After all, we played Buzzword Bingo
in the 1990's: why not upgrade to "Propaganda Bingo" in 2009?The PowerPoint Propaganda Backlash
is just one important reason to mix it up a little in your next PowerPoint presentation. Compelling imagery can help you make an emotional and persuasive case: but intelligent people will also require data and analysis for their decision making process. You’ll want to use persuade with right-brain techniques -- and also give the left brain something deeper to analyze. Social media has also made "talking back" popular.
People are becoming accustomed to criticizing presentation techniques and content on Twitter backchannels
. They're creating and commenting on blogs, and voting on Digg or StumbleUpon. Today's audience isn't quietly and politely absorbing canned corporate and political propaganda: they're getting accustomed to talking back and creating their own content.
You can feel, see, and hear the pendulum swinging all around you!
- 1987? Lotsa words. Lotsa bullet points.
- 2007? Few words. Simple pictures.
How about making 2009 the year of the middle way between these two approaches?
Or do you believe that audiences will be content to consume PowerPoint propaganda techniques for a while longer? How fast will the pendulum swing? Is 2009 the year of increased PowerPoint Propaganda Awareness?
Labels: design, PowerPoint Presentation, social media
Death by PowerPoint Watch: 2008
For three years straight, I have been Googling and tracking the term "Death by PowerPoint". I want to see how many pages the big G will deliver for this tired cliche.
In 2006, Google delivered 55,000 page
s that mentioned this oft-used phrase. In 2007, we saw "Death by PowerPoint" pages increase by almost 50% to 82,400
In 2008, we see the biggest increase: from 82,400 to 366,000
. This is over 4 times as many mentions!
Clearly, "Death by PowerPoint" (searched without quotes) is on the increase. In spite of a new and improved version of PowerPoint (2007) and the popularity of countless books and blogs
on the topic of presentation design and delivery -- PowerPoint casualties continue to climb throughout 2008.
What will bring an end to the carnage? And what kind of numbers do you predict for 2009?
Labels: design, PowerPoint Presentation
Open Source Webconferencing : Digging the DimDim Experience
Author Ellen Finkelstein
and I were collaborating on a PowerPoint presentation design and script the other day. Ellen was in Iowa. I was in Michigan. We needed to show each other our work as we talked through our concepts. What to do?
We decided to give Dimdim a whirl. Dimdim
is an open source webconferencing service that promises to host web meetings for up to 20 people -- for free. A number of other compelling features touted at the site convinced us to try Dimdim: we can share a desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk, and even record our session. The site also promises that the service is easy to use -- and no downloads.
All that and free, too? Where do we sign up? :)
So Ellen and I both started accounts at Dimdim -- although I really didn't need to do so. Ellen started the meeting as the leader. As an audience member, I didn't need a Dimdim account -- just an invitation from the meeting leader. I love that Dimdim doesn't force audience members to become Dimdim members -- that's certainly a very courteous and confident feature.
Once in Dimdim, Ellen was presented with three options: Share Desktop Screen, Share Whiteboard, and Share Presentation.
Because we're both a little feature-geeky, Ellen and I got off to a slow start with Dimdim. We horsed around with features for a bit before we got down to business. I suppose that's only natural when you're testing out a new service a few days before a holiday. The first thing Ellen noticed was that she was frequently prompted to record the session -- a terrific feature, but we didn't need to record our meeting. (I'm itching to try that feature for another time, though.)
Attempts to "share the desktop" proved unsatisfying. At first, we experienced about a 19 second lag time -- which seemed to get longer after every passing moment. Frustrated, Ellen selected "Share Presentation" and uploaded her PowerPoint Presentation. This is where the service gets high marks -- we had no trouble viewing the presentation while chatting on a phone bridge. Dimdim will allow you to upload .ppt , .pptx, or .pdf files -- limited but lovely for a moderator-led web presentation.
Ellen also gave me tools to mark up the presentation as she talked -- completely unnecessary for our purposes, but I enjoyed stamping stars and circles and writing rude remarks on certain slides. This kind of activity is more appropriate for "Sharing a Whiteboard", but Ellen and I didn't have the opportunity to check this feature out.
The next day, I led my own meeting. I uploaded a PowerPoint presentation and called a less than tech-savvy friend. Sure, I thought Dimdim was divinely easy -- but what about someone who is relatively new to internet conferencing? My friend Kimberly Lewellyn
was game. I sent her an invitation, she dialed the number, entered a unique code, and voila! Within minutes, we were talking on the phone bridge while viewing my PowerPoint presentation.
The process would have been even easier if I had known to let Kimberly into the meeting instantly instead of keeping her in a "waiting room". I changed this setting instantly within Dimdim. In a "gotta have it now" web world, why keep people waiting? (Thanks for being such a good sport, Kimberly!)
If you need to hold web meetings online, you'll like Dimdim. Very eary to use and you cannot beat the price. Skip the Desktop sharing for now, though -- it needs a little work. But if you're hanging out away from home this holiday season -- does Dimdim really need to be a business or training application? Why not get 20 of your globe-scattered friends on the phone at once -- to view slides of your family or other holiday shenanigans?
How will you use services like Dimdim?
(Ellen is the author of 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know
and the new video PowerPoint 2007: Make the Upgrade Easy
!) Ellen and I will be co-presenting at next week's web conference: Stop Boring Your Audience! Create Presentations for the Post-Template Visual Era
. Use the coupon code 20OFFDEC and get $20 off your admission. See you on December 3!)
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation, Webcast
UnConference Versus Conference
It's a Conference. But not like we know it, Jim.
The first rule of BarCamp?
Talk about BarCamp.
The second rule of BarCamp?
Blog about BarCamp.
I attended my first UnConference last week. BarCamp Grand Rapids
(There! I've fulfilled BarCamp rule #2!)
After this enlightening experience, I don't know if I can ever attend another ICAWKI (Industry Conference As We Know It).
What's the difference between a conference and an unconference?The Conference: Unmitigated Commercialization.
Most conferences are marked by:
- A carefully set agenda. Slick brochures. Ads in trade journals. Secure web page sign up. Pricey.
- Speakers, workshops, and panel discussions. Speeches carefully written, designed, and rehearsed.
- Those who present often overtly plug their companies with overblown introductions. (Eye rolling ensues.)
- Speakers pepper corporate brand names throughout their presentations. (More audience eye rolling.)
- PowerPoint slides, SWAG, and signage litter the landscape: laden with industry logos. (People adore free stuff.)
And of course, all this lovely commercialization keeps me happily employed as a consultant who crafts speeches and coaches presenters.
Sigh. Time to find a new way to make a living...The UnConference: Amazing, Open-Source Pockets of Grass Roots Passion
. The unconference approach is decidedly refreshing.
- No set agenda. Word of Mouth spread. Wikis and FaceBook pages for sign-ups. Low- to no-cost sign up.
- Limited corporate sponsorship (hey, somebody has to pay for the venue, presenting equipment, and snacks.)
- Three word introductions (Think: "I'm Laura Bergells." That's three. Or, "OK, let's start.")
- No overt product plugs: unless they are pertinent to the presentation.
- People who speak enthusiastically -- not for the ulterior motive of plugging their wares, but because they are passionate about sharing their ideas.
Slickly polished presentations at the unconference? Not so much.
More like smart, spirited, informal discussions with people who are in it for the joy of sharing knowledge -- and open to learning and building on the ideas of others.
Think of the tradition of Amateur Night at the Apollo
in Harlem: if a performer stinks, the audience judges harshly. Boos. Hisses. Howls. Out comes the hook.
The same thing could happen if you come to BarCamp and try to pitch your product!
Conversely, if you give a stellar performance, your reward is continuing the conversation with the engaging, delightful people you meet.
And that's a much better reward than coming home with a pocketful of pens and heavily processed information with a commercial bias.
So what's your preference?
Being force fed slickly produced corporate messages? Or sharing stories with people who are excited about their discoveries and can't wait to tell you about it?
The voice of your customer.
If listening to the voice and vernacular and ideas of your customers is important to your company, you might want to check out an UnConference -- coming soon to a city near you (if it hasn't already.)
Because if it's happening in Grand Rapids, Michigan -- it's not just a Coaster thing.
How will the spread of the popularity of the UnConference and Social Media impact the ICAWKI? (Industry Conference As We Know It.)
Labels: PowerPoint, PowerPoint Presentation, social media
Try The Zero Slide PowerPoint Presentation
You need boundaries.
Boundaries can make you a happier, more creative person. Give yourself a boundary like a deadline, and you'll focus on your work. Create a boundary for your workplace -- like a desk -- and it will serve not only as a functional piece of furniture, but as a visual cue to get busy.Some boundaries are better than others.
When it comes to developing your next presentation or speech, try giving yourself a boundary. Deadlines and desks are great, but here ere are four more creative boundaries that can help sharpen your next presentation:
- Limit Your Words. The winners of the Webby Film and Video Awards are restricted to 5 word speeches. Refreshing! Creative! The best speeches from the Webby event demonstrate personality and restraint. By purposely whittling away the non-essential, each word becomes more meaningful.
- Limit Your Graphics. Last month, I gave myself a goal of designing a one-slide PowerPoint presentation. It went so well, I gave myself another goal: a zero slide PowerPoint presentation. Relying on gestures, expressions, and words let my audience imagine what I dared not to show. (Note: some people call zero-slide presentations "conversations" or "performances".)
- Limit Your Print Outs. When audiences ask for a print out of a PowerPoint presentation, I usually provide a web address for them to download it online. If they really want it, they can have it. But because my slides are not my presentation, they provide very little context for my audience. Generally, I'm not going to kill a tree with a print out.
- Limit Your Animations. I'm usually so facially animated, that putting animations in my PowerPoint slides is decidedly overkill. Ditto sound effects. Earlier this week, I threw my head and arms backwards and yowled. If I made PowerPoint perform my animations and sound effects for me, I don't suppose I would have made my point!
What other boundaries make presentations more powerful?
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Imagine a Bershon PowerPoint Presentation...
Oh, you know that look. It's the look you have on your eighth-grade picture.
Sullen. Bored. Ennui.
It's a look that says, "I'm a little too cool to have my picture taken, but I must suffer the indignity for the sake of my parents."
This uniquely adolescent pose exasperates mothers of teenagers everywhere.
"Why couldn't you just smile?" they implore.
Until recently, I did not know there was a name for this expression.
Now I do.It's called Bershon.
I discovered the term when I read Design blogger Michael Bierut's post about Bershon
, and witnessed the lovely picture of his wife in a classic Bershon-y (Bershonic?) grimace. I grinned in instant recognition of the classic teen and pre-teen posturing, which heretofore had been nameless to me.
You will recognize Bershon instantly when you see it. And I am much pleased to note that the topic has its own Flickr group, appropriately titled, "I'm so Bershon
". It's a joy to flick through these images. So much so, I'm considering using them for the break slides in my next PowerPoint presentation, no matter what the topic.Note to teenagers and pre-teens everywhere:
for your next class photo, suck it up.
Make your mom happy.
Just smile. :)
And 32 years from now, you won't find your grimacing mug on Flickr.PS to Moms everywhere:
how can you use your new found appreciation for Bershon to generate even more Bershon photos from your young? ;0
Labels: fun, photography, PowerPoint Presentation
Fun New PowerPoint Add-In Is Named "Opazity"
Today, Steve Hards of SteveHardSoft Skyped to tell me the news: his fun new PowerPoint add-in
that applies a Gaussian blur to images finally has a name!
It's… (drum roll please!) Opazity
Of the three name choices, both Steve and I were in favor of "Fuzzy Touch". But we were overruled by public preference, so...
Opazity it is.Thanks for voting!
“I’m extremely grateful to the people who voted,” said Steve. “Colleagues thought I was mad to put up the options for people to vote on, but the result shows that without testing these things, you never really know what is going to be best.”Beta testing is going well.
Steve also gave me the opportunity to Beta test Opazity. The fun little add-in installed in minutes. And it took me less time than that to actually learn how to use Opazity to "blur and reveal" different images in PowerPoint.So for Beta test fun,
I quickly created a 5 slide PowerPoint presentation called "Stupid Questions" -- and used Opazity to reveal the "Stupid Answers". (You can see the lighting-fast video results
at YouTube...)Worked like a snap...easy and fun.
Steve said that he will be launching this new PowerPoint add-in product in a few weeks. If you didn't get a chance to view the demo before, go ahead and visit opazity.com
. The voting is over, but you can register for a launch alert at this new site.
Labels: content ideas, fun, PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation Applications, video
PowerPoint in the Comedy Club
You will see PowerPoint presentations just about everywhere -- churches, schools, corporate boardrooms, hotel conference rooms -- but seldom will you see PowerPoint in stand up comedy or at a comedy club.
However, PowerPoint is a prop. And a good prop comic can use PowerPoint to make folks laugh.
In his 4 minute MySpace
video, comedian Don McMillan presents you with his PowerPoint performance at a comedy club. The presentation/performance, Life After Death By PowerPoint
, is a hit with his audience.
In his performance, Mr. McMillan conclusively proves that engineers can be engaging and (intentionally) funny!Visit "Technically Funny" for more details on the corporate comedy offerings of Mr. Don McMillan.
Labels: fun, PowerPoint Presentation
Take 2 easy steps to improve presentation clarity
My 87-year old father has glaucoma. The instructions and legal notices that come with his eyedrop
prescription include several tissue-thin pages of fine 4-point text.
He asked his doctor and nurse to read it to him. They could not.
"It doesn't matter," they told him. "It's mostly legal and medical mumbo
jumbo, anyhow."If it doesn't matter: then why is it there?
Here is an easy two-step approach that can improve the clarity of any presentation:
- If a presentation element doesn't help tell the story:
get rid of it.
- And if a particular component is truly essential:
Hopefully, we will trend toward improved presentation clarity
- Larger, more meaningful headlines.
- Slimmer, simpler layouts.
- Fewer unnecessary animations and transitions.
And of course, a focus on the unique needs of the audience is heartily recommended!
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
PowerPoint Parade or Pioneer?
Years ago, Seth Godin
wrote and distributed a short, snazzy, superficial ebook
called "Really Bad PowerPoint."
On the eve of the worldwide release of PowerPoint 2007, Mr. Godin
says PowerPoint presentations have gotten worse. So he re-posts ebook highlights
in his blog, with the "vain hope" it might work this time.Mr. Godin is just kidding
. He knows that reposting
a glib remix of old advice that admittedly didn't work in 2003 is not really going to make corporate PowerPoint presentations any better in 2007.Follow the PowerPoint parade.
On the eve of a major new software release, Mr. Godin
saw an easy opportunity to safely get behind the PowerPoint publicity parade. So he took it. His latest post follows the bandwagon beat of bashing OPP - Other People's PowerPoint
(Do a Google search for Death by PowerPoint
today -- and the engine will dredge up over 1.5 million pages. And every page will tout very similar advice
likely knows that many new media communication platforms, including:
- PowerPoint Presentations
- Cell Phone Conversations
- Online videos
...are largely do-it-yourself, bootstrappy communication platforms
. These platforms put content and design in the hands of the people.You are a Pioneer!
And if you use any of these power-to-the-people media to deliver your messages -- you are a communication pioneer.
(It's why Time Magazine made you the person of the year in 2006.)
But as a pioneer: you will likely make a few mistakes.
Learn from them.
And move on.
Continue to grow the medium.
As long as there are communication pioneers, really bad PowerPoint is not going to go away any time soon.
My predictions:Power to the Pioneers:
With today's release of PowerPoint 2007, I predict that PowerPoint presentation design
is going to get a lot worse this year!Power to the Parade Followers:
predict that Google will serve up an additional quarter million "Death by PowerPoint
" pages by the end of 2008. Very few authors will discuss their own failings with the medium: rather, blog pundits will continue to critique the failings of OPP.Power to the People!
And like Mr. Godin
, you can be a new media pioneer and a successful parade-follower at the same time! People who deliver pioneering presentations will also find fault with the PowerPoint designs of others... and write all about it on their blogs or chat it up in their podcasts.
How's that for closing the new media feedback loop?
Or increasing the noise-to-signal ratio? ;)
Labels: Blogging, PowerPoint Presentation
Use Your Blog Instead of PowerPoint
Dennis McDonald tells us that he successfully gave a live presentation to an audience of professional association executives. And he used his blog instead of PowerPoint
The benefits of a blog over PowerPoint for this presentation?Better show-and-tell.
What makes a better first-grade show-and-tell experience: if I show the class a picture of my dog, or if I bring my dog to the class? Dr. McDonald was showcasing the power of Web 2.0. A series of screenshots in PowerPoint could not provide as valuable an experience as demo-ing the real deal.Richer conversations afterward.
Dr. McDonald gave his audience access to a password protected area of his blog-presentation, so that they could review information and post comments. This method is far superior to distributing an out-of-context ppt file after the show. A blog platform allows the presentation to expand, giving it more breadth and depth.
The pitfalls of blog over PowerPoint?Beware the crash.
From the wireless going wonky to the blogsite crashing (and all points in between), giving a live online presentation can be fraught with peril. Having a back-up in hand is a must for live internet presentations. And as far as back-ups go, those screenshots in PowerPoint might not have been such a bad alternative!Browser bumpiness.
Dr. McDonald had to bump up his font size for presentation legibility, and then bump them back down for navigation. This can make for a bumpy presentation! Dr. McDonald worked around this issue by using Firefox settings: the Zoom and Text Size features in IE7 would also provide an equally bumpy workaround.
If I had given this presentation, I would likely have used Dr. McDonald's approach -- although I would have had a back-up. After all, I have demo'd many live sites in front of live audiences: using a blog to present is no different.
However, giving the audience a platform to continue enriching the presentation and the content after the show is over? That's powerful stuff! The blog platform can enrich and extend the topic and the conversation.Teachers and trainers:
How will you use the power of blogging to enrich your presentations this year?
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
The Presentation Sidebar
What is a presentation sidebar? If you read the definition on the mock-PowerPoint slide above, you'll see that a presentation sidebar is
"...information placed close to the main slide content."
The "main slide content" in my graphic example carries the headline "Sidebar Definition". Theoretically
, that's the main content of the slide.
In contrast, the graphically distinct green sidebar supports the slide's "main content". You'll see charts, graphs, pictures, numbers, quotes, polls -- all kinds of supporting information in a presentation sidebar.
Now, you see sidebars quite a bit in online and offline publishing -- but do they have a place in a PowerPoint presentation?
Perhaps. But they're often a risky choice in a live presentation for one simple reason:In PowerPoint, the entire slide is supposed to be a sidebar! You're the main content!
So use presentation sidebars and CNN-style crawlers
with care! Notice how your eye is drawn more to the sidebar instead of what is supposed to be the "main content" of the slide. Same thing with other "supporting players" - animations, transitions, sounds, etc.
Under which conditions do you use "presentation sidebars" effectively??
Download a three slide sidebar PowerPoint presentation
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Cartoons and the Business Presentation
How do you feel about using cartoons within business presentations? I seldom use them, but I have seen them frequently. And with varying degrees of success.
I have yet to hear a presented business cartoon elicit wild, side-splitting laughter from a business audience. The best
I have heard are polite and possibly sincere chuckles. And the most I have ever given up is a wry smile.
And I'm a gal who laughs heartily. At almost anything
But given the business setting, a wry smile or a little chuckle is probably appropriate. Make the audience warm up to you or your subject a little. And maybe it is the best a business presenter can possibly expect.
(Please, somebody prove me wrong! I love to laugh!)
Sadly, most cartoon presentations I see have missed the mark by a huge margin (I'll tell you about the worst cartoon presentation I've ever seen later in this post. It was a doozy.
But I've also seen cartoons used successfully in business presentations. Here are three factors that make the cartoon-within-a-presentation work:First, the cartoon must be in context
. It can't just be this funny, unrelated thing that you throw in there. It actually has to have something to do with the topic at hand. The best cartoons connect your audience to your content...emotionally and positively.Secondly, the cartoon must be independent of explanation.
Good presenters don't read slides to their audiences: and they certainly don't read cartoons to them! If your audience didn't connect with your cartoon, don't even try to explain it to them. If you have to explain why something is funny: it is not funny. Move on.Thirdly, the cartoon must pack ONE hard visual punch
. One-panel cartoons tend to work better in business presentations than multiple-panel cartoons. As a presenter, you don't want to be speaking while your audience is reading. Either they'll ignore you while they're reading (bad) or get annoyed at you for yapping while they are reading (worse). You can always remain perfectly silent while waiting for your audience to read multiple panels...but there's a big
pitfall: certain audience members will always read faster than others. The speed readers will laugh first, which annoys or insults the slower readers. The slow readers will then pretend that they read the joke, but to protect their egos, they won't laugh.
"Oh, yeah, I read it. I just didn't think it was funny."
That's why cartoons with clear, simple graphics work better than long, wordy cartoons. In essence, the best business presentation cartoons are very much like good PowerPoint slide designs: high visual impact, few words.
As for my pick for the worst use of a cartoon in a business presentation: it has to go to the fellow who used a cartoon that depicted three different bodily emissions. And I'm not talking sweat or spit: these three emissions are typically only seen in private.
His presentation was beyond "thud". The audience emotion was horror, embarrassment, disbelief -- a wide variety of negative emotions. So even though the cartoon met 2.5 of my criteria above (in context, highly visual, emotionally connected with the audience), there's probably one more factor I should mention: keep it clean. The cartoon emotionally connected with audience, but not in a positive way!
And remember, cartoonists like to get paid for their creative efforts. I've seen too many cartoonists who have their copyrights violated. It is illegal to scan a comic strip that you find amusing and include it in a public presentation. You have to give credit (and/or cash) to the cartoonist.
So when you want to check out some high quality cartoons for use in business presentations, visit these four sites:
- Newsletter Cartoons Ted Goff offers reasonable rates for the use of his cartoons in business presentations. You can also get free cartoon feeds for your website.
- New Yorker Cartoons The New Yorker offers its classic business cartoons for use in your PowerPoint presentations. They have a sale going on - $19.95 per cartoon.
- Andertoons Mark Anderson offers cartoons for your presentations and webfeeds.
- Glasbergen Cartoonist Randy Glasbergen has more than 1,000 business and computer cartoons at his website.
Anybody know of any more good (clean) business cartoons?
Labels: fun, PowerPoint Presentation
Cinco de Mayo Presentations and Clip Art
May 5 Reminder:
you can download free Cinco de Mayo clip art
for your Cinco de Mayo presentation at the Microsoft site.
And if you need more Cinco de Mayo information in order to put your May 5 presentation together, I suggest visiting the following sites to learn more about this holiday.
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation