Sunday, February 21, 2010

Powerpoint Mortality

Whether you're an accountant, consultant, student or salesman, when we take up a new challenging project, we're inclined to spend most of our time on data mining, modeling, reconsidering, detailing, arguing, making things perfect and finally, drawing the conclusions and writing the exhaustive proposal report....

Fortunately - in this case - your right on schedule! You've got exactly one day left before your Board presentation of the project. Still completely in a rush and overexcited about the stunning results of your successful investigation, you start up your laptop to wrap up your proposal report in a full flash Powerpoint presentation.

That night at 01.00 AM, you successfully finish your ppt presentation. Just in time! Completely satisfied about this phenomenal achievement, you e-mail the ppt to Nosica, the Board's secretary you know well. She, as well as the Board, will be impressed by your 'night shift work'. Who said you were doing a 9 to 5 job?

The next day, at 14.00 AM you enter the Board room, full of confidence. Your presentation is start-ready, the beamer glows, you're fully concentrated on your audience and in a 'cashing' flow....

After 20 minutes of presentation, including your ten recommended practices and some questions, you leave the 26th floor. All went well...
Time for a drink and a well earned good night sleep...

Next morning, 09.00 AM, the Board's secretary replacement calls you: Your proposal has been declined....

You're flabbergasted, how could this happen? After all this work you've been through.

What went wrong?

The answer is simple, you denied Wayne Burggraff's Law of Presentation:

"It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time."

So next time, in case of a 20 minutes presentation, invest 20 hours of your time in research, development, organizing, outlining, fleshing out, and rehearsing your presentation.
In essence: if you fail to prepare well, you are well prepared to fail.

Tips.....
Here are some practical tips that might help you with your preparation:
  1. Ask yourself: ''If I had only sixty seconds on the stage, what would I absolutely have to say to get my message across."
    -- Jeff Dewar --
  2. The simplest way to customize is to phone members of the audience in advance and ask them what they expect from your session and why they expect it. Then use their quotes throughout your presentation."
    -- Alan Pease --
  3. No one can remember more than three points.
    -- Philip Crosby --

Fear of presentation
It's surprising to see that people are more afraid (41%) of 'speaking to a group' than of death (19%).
Now it's clear why we search the help of Powerpoint to 'survive' on stage.

Powerpoint Mortality
We all know Powerpoint..... Powerpoint itself is not good or bad, it's the way you use it.

The mortality rate of Powerpoint is humorously demonstrated by Don McMillan:



Who Needs Powerpoint?

Last January I was heading for a presentation with the help of Powerpoint. Full house. However, on the supreme moment the local beamer gave up. I simply decided to bring my message in an interactive session with my audience, without the help of Powerpoint.

Yes, it was different, challenging and even fun! Because of my thorough preparation - I was able to concentrate on almost everyone of my audience. So...., another Maggid's tip could be:

Prepare your presentation without Powerpoint!

A presentation try out
In the mid nineties my employer's company was heading to get listed at the stock exchange. I remember I had to give a presentation before a panel of 70 international analysts, who would probably raise all kind of difficult questions. In order to prepare 'abap', I called my strategy director as well as my CFO and asked them to act as my 'try out analysts audience'.

I told my colleagues I would give the presentation three times in a row. In the first two presentations they were obliged to interrupt me as much as possible, to raise difficult or weird questions and to put me to test (keeping my humor and concentration). During the third presentation they had to act as normal audience.

To make a long story short: after three presentations, my two colleagues kept their breath in combination with a desperate look in their eyes. I told them not to worry and reassured them my presentation at the analyst session would be successful.

And so it was, as I was fully prepared on every possible question and didn't had the need to look at my ppt presentation, I could fully focus on my audience. Lesson: Make the preparation tough, you'll benefit from it in the final presentation.

The powerpoint master
Yes, there are a lot of rules, regarding the use of Powerpoint.
The Golden Rule is that all PowerPoint presentation rules, principles, and guidelines are just secondary to doing what is ultimately right for your audience. Critical point is, you can only break the presentation rules if you know them .

It's just like in other sciences, once you've become a master, the real art of your profession is not anymore in applying equations and methods 'by the book'. Now it comes down to break the existing rules and conventions in a such a professional way, that new problems and social challenges are being (re)solved in a different way. Key point here is that not only your professional skills have to be outrageous, but your presentation skills as well. As the success of a good peace of master craftsmanship, is completely dependent on the way it is presented.

Mindmapping
Let's conclude with some practical free(ware) presentation tip.
Although you're probably aware not to overuse clip art, it's good practice to set up your presentation in a consistent and well polished style.

Of course you can use expensive business packages to illustrate your presentations, but there's also an excellent freeware application called: EDraw Mindmap 4

With the help of Edraw, creating presentations and mind-mapping is a question of minutes.

Enjoy preparing and giving presentations, learn to be(come) yourself on stage and overcome any possible fear of speaking to groups......

Related links:
- EDraw Mindmap 4 (Completely freeware!)
- EDraw Mind Map 1.0
- Edraw Max (not freeware)
- Lovelycharts (free, one application; online)
- Presentation skills (youtube)
- The New Office Math (youtube;Don McMillan )
- Presentation skills (ppt)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, as you may already discovered I'm fresh here.
Hope to get any assistance from you if I will have some quesitons.
Thanks in advance and good luck! :)

James Williamz said...

Hi

Great information in this post and I think the Golden Rule is that all PowerPoint presentation rules, principles, and guidelines are just secondary to doing what is ultimately right for your audience.

Alan Smith….
Maths private tutor

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