Ever sat through a bad presentation? Not sure what it was what about? Couldn't remember much about it when it was over?
Have you ever found your thoughts wandering ... maybe something like this ....
- After the third slide, "His slides are just bulleted lists ..."
- After the fourth slide, "He's just reading from the slides ...."
- After the fifth slide, "There are a lot of words on each slide for him to read out ..."
- By the sixth slide, "Oh no! I've just spotted that this is slide 6 of 45 ....argh!"
- "Ok I got the message three slides ago, can we stop now? Please?"
Why does this happen? It's long been commonplace, almost fashionable, to blame it on PowerPoint. Whilst PowerPoint has it's drawbacks, a bad presentation is really the fault of the person who plans it, designs it and delivers it.
- Death by slides
The presenter uses the slides as their auto cue - the content and format reflect this. The audience are probably reading the slides and not listening. Some don't even do this and just ask for the slides at the end
- Poor visual design, themes and layout
Use of standard or garish and distracting templates and transitions
- What do they already know about the subject?
- What is their need for detail, facts, figures, drawings?
- What do they want - if they've read the report they may just want 10 minutes to ask questions so why prepare a 30 minute presentation?
- What impression do you want to leave them with - of you and your credibility
- What would make them want to sit through your presentation twice - or at least recommend it to others?
Fewer slides with one or two messages per slide with strong visuals that help the audience get the point you are making and to remember it afterwards
If you use a slide it must support what you are saying at the point you say it
Send a summary of the theme and key ideas together with the purpose and value of the presentation or meeting
Help the audience understand what they will get from the presentation and what they might be expected to do as a result
Don't ask "Has everyone read the briefing the paper?", those who haven't won't embarrass themselves by saying no .... instead offer to run through the main ideas of the paper before starting the presentation
And finally - having identified your objectives, analysed the audience's needs and planned what needs to be covered - and how, you might consider holding a different kind of meeting and maybe, just maybe, not even using technology at all .... just a thought.......
A good place to start is Edward Tufte's web site.