Powerpoint / Keynote presentations

Presentation Zen

I’ve just read a book called Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds about how to make more effective presentations. Like many good ideas, it seems very simple and straight forward when you read it.

Some ideas from Presentation Zen:

…keep these three words in mind always: simplicity, clarity, brevity. (p43)

If your presentation is successful, the audience will have no idea how many slides you used, nor will they care. (p60)

…remember that there are three components to your presentation – the slides, your notes, and the handout… (p67)

Information plus emotion and visualization wrapped in unforgettable anecdotes are the stuff that stories are made of. (p82)

Today’s presentations increasingly share more in common with a documentary film than an overhead transparency. (p135)

He quotes from an article by Anna Patty in the Sydney Morning Herald to support his view that the current use of Powerpoint bullet point, text presentations is "Really Bad Powerpoint". Anna’s article is available online (Research points the finger at PowerPoint by Anna Patty, SMH, 4 April 2007) and I liked these quotes from it:

"The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster," Professor Sweller said. "It should be ditched."

"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."

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