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.

Fun PowerPoint 01
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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 …

Fun PowerPoint 02
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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 …

Fun PowerPoint 03
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Viva Chivas!

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