May 3, 2010

Best Presentation Tip Ever: Really Bad PowerPoint by Seth Godin

What you are going to read now is perhaps the best presentation tip ever written at one go. Seth Godin, famous author and blogger, wrote an e-book in 2003 and then re-wrote a summary of it in 2007. This post of his is one of a kind; so much of 'presentation wisdom' in such a small article. That's why this post is among the best presentation tips ever written. Click here to read the article. Here is a small summary of the same in my words (do read it as well):

1. PowerPoint is inevitable. You have to learn to use it. Whether you in college, in business or in the military.

2. PowerPoint is being misused now-a-days. We don't know how to use it.

3. Communication is the transfer of emotions. If you are only going to present facts and figures then it is better to shun the presentation and send in an excel report.

4. You are presenting in order to convince, because if everyone agreed with you already then why are you presenting in the first place? Realise this fact, make your points with force and sell your ideas to the world.

5. There are four components to a presentation.

(a) Cue cards
(b) Use slides to emotionally reinforce what you are saying (not to repeat what you are saying)
(c) Leave a handout for the audience, and
(d) Create a feedback cycle.

Cue cards are pieces of paper where you write what you came to say. Use it so that you don't forget anything. Don't use your slides as cue cards.

Humans act on emotions. Evoke strong emotions and leave the facts and figures behind. Instead of putting up data, talk it out and put up an image which touches my heart.

Make detailed handouts with all the charts, facts and figures. Give it to the audience at the end but tell them at the start that you will be sharing a handout. This will put their mind to rest and they will focus on your presentation. Use all your rationale and logic in the handout (to prove you have done your hard work) but use PowerPoint Presentation to make an 'emotional sale'.

Close the loop. If you came to get a project approved, then at the end of the presentation give out the approval form and get it signed. Leave no ambiguity behind on what was agreed during the presentation.

6. Use very few words per slide. Do not fill the slide with text.

7. Do not use poor quality images, go in for professional looking images (even if you need to buy them).

8. Do not go in for animations and slide transitions unnecessarily.

9. Do not use sound effects which come with the software. If your bullet comes with the same sound every time then it does nothing but irritate the audience.

10. Do not take prints of the slides and use as hand outs. They make no sense without you. If they did, then why are you needed in the first place?