Designing presentations that rock

In one way or another leaders are required to be presenters; somehow we need to get information across to others.  Most people recognise that communication can be far more effective if there is a visual element involved.  Even if this is not our preferred learning style, it will be for many of our ‘listeners’.  Of course, any good leader knows that this means that we must crack out PowerPoint and create some slides.  Yet how do we do that without achieving so called ‘death by PowerPoint’ as a result of hundreds of different and distracting transitions and animations.

Marta Kagan has analysed the work of some of the people who do it best  and summarised her findings in a blog entitled 7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters.  Here is a summary of the points, but the original article is well worth a read given the explanations and illustrations:

  1. Start with paper not PowerPoint
  2. Tell your story in 3 acts
  3. A picture is worth 1,000 words
  4. Emotions get our attention
  5. Use plain English
  6. Ditch the bullet points
  7. Rehearse like crazy

What do you think of the list?  Personally I am not hugely convinced by lesson 6, given that the example cited still uses a list, just without the little dots.  For me the key point here is the 6×6 rule, that is that there should be no more than 6 bullets per slide and each of those no longer than 6 words.  Share your thoughts below.

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One Response to “Designing presentations that rock”

  1. Helen Armstrong says:

    Interestingly the one good thing about a course I went on recently was the use of the flip chart as opposed to PowerPoint. It suited the clients, size of group, and helped make the event more intimate. That said, not sure it would suit all environments, and one needs to be able to write legibly.

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