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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Powerpoint

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– Jim MacLennan

There’s a lot of blog traffic these days on Powerpoint and good presentation practices. This topic pops up every once in a while, and I’ve been noticing some new blogs, some resurgent older ones, and lots of interesting opinions.

Two new ones of note:

Presentation Zen: by Garr Reynolds, has a different approach, well at least of late – he is reviewing / talking about different presentation “methods” / styles. Some of this stuff is worth reviewing – especially if you are working to get visibility / buy-in, trying to rise above the clutter of standard corporate presentations.

  • The Monta Method – refugee from a game show, but it pulls in the audience, gets them engaged
  • The GodinMethod – focuses on visuals that catalyze strong ideas; freely admits that presenting is selling
    • Hey, that’s an idea that not enough folks embrace! Way too many corporate presentations are just slides filled with long text, read aloud by the presenter – PowerPoint as Big-Text Word Processor (independent validation on this and other classic PPT issues problems – see Johansson’s post)
  • The Kawasaki Method – ten slides, ten major ideas. A nice way to address the “eating an elephant” issue that many presentations struggle with – how to chunk up the information into bite-sized pieces
  • The Takahashi Method – Apparently, also known as the Lessig Method; One word per slide, keep the picturessimple
    • One stellar example of this approach has been pointed to by many – first citing I saw was BoingBoing– by Dick Hardt, founder and CEO of Sxip, on Identity 2.0. Immediately engaging, really does an excellent job of explaining a not-obvious concept, and the style really appeals to the digerati.
      • The bigger topic at hand here – Identity 2.0 and the macro topic Web 2.0 – has some interesting reading available as well – interesting, worth diving into if you are looking / re-looking into the relevance of the internet for new and established business

Death to Bad Powerpoint: yet another site that laments the lack of style in most PPTs, but this one has had some good posts, including a pointer to a terrific 10 Commandments article, which is the best simple list of critical things you must / must not do – my favorite is “avoid reading your slides”, something that really drives me up a wall. He’s also citing a 2003 article that places a cost on time spent in meetings.

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