Mark has got himself hot under the collar about the growing trend of 3D cinema for a while now. He’s sick of having aliens, cars and body parts “flying” out of the screen just because the technology allows.
We tend to agree with him.
It’s a bit like using every PowerPoint animation and transition available to you (even more in PowerPoint 2010!) on your slides. Yes – it’s clever technology but frankly it’s distracting and not helping you tell your story.
Now onto Pixar’s Toy Story 3. Mark loves this film for many reasons but the key one for us is that he didn’t notice the 3D.
It was there but did all the right things – helped the story along, engaged the audience and supported the characters. But at no point did it detract by being used inappropriately simply because they had the technology to hand.
We’re extremely grateful to the hundreds of you who took the time to complete it – your feedback and experiences have provided an amazing insight into how businesses approach presentations in 2010.
The task now ahead of us is to process the hundreds of responses and draw insight from them. And then, as promised, we’d like to share the results and analysis with you.
So is Death by PowerPoint really killing businesses?
Are new cloud-based applications like Slide Rocket and Prezi having an impact?
Does Apple’s Keynote software hold the key to a better presentation experience?
And are companies changing their approach to business presentations in line with their social media and online strategies?
All these questions and more will be answered in our webinars on the 3rd August (UK & Europe here and US & Canada here).
We have limited spaces so please click here to register for one of the following events to ensure you have a front row seat as we share the results, provide the latest insight and offer analysis of how businesses really view presentations:
In a slight change from the advertised schedule, I’d like to focus this blog on an extraordinary conference I had the pleasure of attending last week.
Now I have to hold my hand up and admit to “swerving” most conference invitations. In my experience, they tend to be thinly veiled sales pitches by speakers who should know better to audiences with only a passing interest in the content.
This conference, however, was a little different…
Firstly it featured some notable and worthy speakers – Simon Woodroffe of YO! Sushi and YOTEL fame along with Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent Drinks. Whilst these brands may not mean a huge amount outside of the UK, they are big news and much admired over here in Blighty. As expected, both Simon and Richard performed brilliantly and delivered interesting and engaging presentations. Good job all round.
However the speaker that took the conference from “good” to “great” was a chap called Jeremy Gilley. He is the founder of the Peace One Day movement, a not-for-profit organisation focussed on stopping all warfare across the world for one day every year (the 21st September seeing that you asked).
Think of it like peace fuelled version of “Mothers Day” – the idea is that everyone across the globe acknowledges it every year but rather than rushing out to buy overpriced cards and flowers, its represented by people laying down their weapons for a day.
A laudable idea but how to present this to a business audience..?
From a presentation structure and delivery perspective, Jeremy shone. His presentation managed to be simultaneously humble, moving and motivational. His message was heard and understood loud and clear by everyone in the audience…and I have no doubt, will stay with many of them for a long time to come.
He used his content wisely – never blinding the audience with too much detail (it would have been easy to turn the presentation into a “this is how complex international diplomacy is” rant) and using video to illustrate points quickly and effectively.
It has to be said that the few PowerPoint slides he did use weren’t great but we’ll be working on those for him over the next few weeks!
Ultimately the reason he was able to deliver his presentation so effectively was because he truly believes in his message. He’s presented the same story hundreds if not thousands of times to a range of audiences – business conferences like this one…but also Heads of State, C-Level Execs in organisations like Coca-Cola and, um, the Taliban.
All tough audiences in one way or another…all bought into Jeremy’s vision because his message was so crystal clear and simple to understand. Something all presenters should bear in mind…
All of this said, the most important message I and my fellow delegates took from the day was that Peace One Day is working. It’s a frustratingly slow process…but it’s working. I take my hat off to Jeremy and the rest of the Peace One Day team on their amazing achievements so far.
To learn more about Peace One Day, please view the short video below. I assure you it’ll be worth it.
The late great Charles Mingus was not just an amazing jazz musician (cue obligatory finger click), he was also a wise man.
“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple”
We could leave this blog there – this single line sums up our approach to building slides rather nicely. However, let’s embellish this idea slightly:
When you are putting together a slide within a presentation (having done a storyboard first naturally…) think about how you can best get across the information to your audience and invariably the best way is the simplest way.
Take for example trying to describe the offside rule in football (who says we’re not topical). There are many, many ways to describe this rule particularly taking into account some of the changes over the years but in essence it boils down to 3 key things happening:
To be offside a player must be in the opposition’s half
There must be fewer than 2 people from the other team between the player and the goal
The person must be in front of the ball to be offside
We’re naturally ignoring passive, active and all that for the purposes of this demonstration, but how best could you describe this with a PowerPoint slide(s)?
It could be that you simply list those 3 points although people will read it before you can talk through it – but simplest would probably be 3 simple pictures demonstrating those 3 actions. On the other hand, there are at least 100 ways (and we’ve counted them) that you could describe this and leave even the most ardent football fan bemused.
But back to our man Mingus and his visionary quote.
It’s interesting to note that Mingus was a pioneer of his craft and his example parallels nicely with presenting. If you present complicated areas simply and get people to understand them (without being condescending) then you have created a powerful connection.
Don’t waste your opportunity to make a connection by over-complicating your message.
For those of you who like a challenge then do send in your best PowerPoint interpretation of the offside rule – the best one gets some a PowerPoint Amnesty Action Pack!
Among many things, this relationship has given us an insight into that most understated of beasts, the CPD Presentation.
Now officially CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development although over the past few years we fear that it’s also become shorthand for dull, uninspired and downright depressing PowerPoint presentations!
Thankfully we’ve been called in to work with a number of CPD Providers to improve the impact and accessibility of their presentations.
These are always interesting and quite technical projects – as a result, we now know a huge amount about rolled steel, flooring legislation and sanitary ware to name just a few. As you can imagine, we make for very interesting dinner party guests…
The latest in a long line of successful CPD presentation projects is for Rockfon, the people behind stone wool insulation.
To learn quite how we were able to turn the technical into the terrific, listen on…