Thursday, November 27, 2008

No more "Death-by-PowerPoint" ... Or how to improve your presentational techniques




A while back I did my first public presentation at a conferance and I just didn't feel I managed to pull it off as well as I had wanted todo. So I started to search around for some material and ended up buying a bunch of books that I just finnished reading.

Since I'm personally comitted to not accidentally causing anymore "death-by-powerpoint" I'll keep posting about my sucesses and failures when ever I feel I have something to contribute with on the subject of presentation design and delivery.

Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte

This book is truely a must have for all us non-designers that still want to make our presentations memorarble for our audiences. Nancy Durate (one of the persons behind Al Gores successful climat change crisis presentation) has literally poured 20 years of knowledge into this book, the book it self is beutifully presented and is a joy to read.

It works splendidly as a reference book on your desk for when ever you need to be creative and put together your presntations. I believe her husband is very much right in this quote from the forward of the book:

...slide:ology is destined to become the desk reference for building effective presentations and is a must read for all who present...

For more information goto slideology.com

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

I must say that this book was truely a joy to read, I actually read it from cover to cover in on sitting (almost had to take care of the kids during the day so there where an breif period of none reading).

The book is all about a state of mind in my oppinion. The author does not present us with a method that we are to follow rigorously to be successful, rather it gives us various pointers on how to create good presentation and become a better presenter.

Some key take aways are:
Less is more, keep it Simple.

Go Analog turn off the computer and start with pen and paper.

Design matters and it is not the icing on the cake, it's the foundation.
A picture says a thousand words.

Put your self in your audience clothes why are they there?

If you are serious about becoming a better presenter you should get a copy of this book since it will most definitly inspire you. For more information goto presentationzen.com

Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson

This book is all about method and it gives you a straight recipie for creating presentations according to the bpp way, include a bunch of templates for getting started.

Altough it contains alot of really good ideas which I am sure I will use the next time I create a presentation, the book itself is a rather boring read and uses way to many words to get to the point. I ended up skimming the book instead of reading it from cover to cover. This is kind of sad since I believe the author could have conveyed his message in half the pages or less. It is still a book that you should have read if you are working with slide based presentations.

Some of the key ideas in the book has to do with:
Structure and how the brain processes information.

3 is a magic number.

Visual keys through the presentation and important.

Headlines and illustrations, keep the ammount of information on the slides minimal.

I wont go into detail about the method since I expect that the author would not like that, so for more information goto beyondbulletpoints.com

Apart from reading the books presented in this posting you should start to hang around on a couple of sites as well ...

SlideShare.net for studying other presentation designs.
iStockPhoto.com is a great place for finding graphics for your presentations.

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