Lighten Up, Francis – Loosen Up That PowerPoint

Ok, the next post will be my Best Practice hints on everybody’s favorite insomnia cure – Corporate Presentations! But first, something fun – because I got a really good reaction on my latest attempt at lightening up the boring PowerPoint routine.

In the presentation, this was my segue slide from slides to a live demonstration of some software. Everybody recognizes it in an instant, but I made some pretense to leave it up on the screen, so they could see the embedded wit (sic) in the text.

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<aside> The green looks like heck on this image; but the actual slide looks great. It was surprisingly easy to put together, using standard fonts that came with Windows. I’ve stashed a copy of all of these slides on my source code page, and here’s a link to the PPT file </aside>

Side note: I saw this post later in the week – same idea, no “source code”, swear to goodness I came up with mine before I saw this … still funny, tho …

I don’t like to go for the belly laugh, just something that makes folks know they should pay attention a bit when I’m presenting; I’m not just reading bullet points. Another element of my personal style is to put graphics up that have a multi-step, obtuse connection to the slide content.

  • The agenda slide with the picture of a recycling bin (because I copied slides from other presentations)
  • Making a point about the power of following process, with a picture of Archimedes (with a lever and the right place to stand …)
  • A long laundry list of ToDos, with a big bee in the background (a carpenter bee, of course … Karen Carpenter … We’ve Only Just Begun …)

Ok, fine, that last one did get a groan – but only because my teams are used to this stuff, and they are asking about these offhand references I’m throwing out there. Which means, of course, that I’m succeeding – by keeping people engaged and paying attention!

I can also embed fairly subtle hints about areas of technology and current IT and business thinking – try throwing this little graphic on a slide, and see who reacts …

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Finally, a little fun with a new passion of mine – I wanted to indicate an opening and closing section for questions, comments, suggestions …

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Viva Chivas!

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.