I hate presentations!

Ive gone a bit quiet, haven't I. It's something I haven't got enough momentum to do yet, really.

I blame the mayhem that buffets me in every area of my life at the moment. However what is really filling my head to overflowing at the moment is the presentation I have signed up to give next week at an IBM internal conference for IT Architects.

You see, I hate presentations. In my line of work I find myself in rooms looking at projections of Powerpoint slides at least once or twice a week. I've seen some truly awful stuff. Verbatim bullet point recitations vie with tiny fonts and detailed diagrams to give me a headache. Of course, it's not all that bad, and it's not all other people, either. However, I think that there is a huge scope for improvement in the way almost all presentations are created and delivered.

I have a goal to become an great communicator. Keeping this blog is part of that, but I'm currently focused on the part of it that is creating and delivering excellent presentations. I'm not aiming for average - i'm fed up to the back teeth with average in this field. I want to deliver presentations that are outstanding. They must be memorable and enjoyable, as well as conveying whatever message I have.

So I have been working very hard to come up with something a bit lot different for next week's conference.

It was watching Alec Muffett's presentation entitled Business Blogging - Innovate or Die which he delivered at the Blogs and Social Media Forum 2006 that started me thinking along these lines. That led me to Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 presentation at OSCON 2005. Since then I've done a lot of investigation and have trawled the web looking for ideas and techniques. I read Garr Reynolds' blog Presentation Zen in my RSS reader, and I bought and read Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points.

This is a kind of summary of what I have concluded from all this:

  • plan the whole thing first, away from Powerpoint or Keynote or whatever;

  • tell a narrative story - people remember stories;

  • never use words when you could use a picture - take one yourself, or get them from iStockPhoto or the Creative Commons areas on Flickr;

  • no bullet points. none. hate hate hate;

  • surprise people - it wakes them up;

  • consider abandoning the corporate templates and going for something much simpler.


Anyway, that's enough procrastinationwriting about it. I need to get on with actually doing it.

If I can, I'll publish the end result on here.

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