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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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.