Media Tip #1: Give a talk, not a PPT show!

In the following eight installments of the blog, I will share a compilation of media tips which I have compiled a while ago for a presentation about effective presentation techniques. They often refer to Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT) for practical reasons—reflecting that most users need to use PPT for a variety of reasons; however I advocate to replace PPT by either using Photoshop in combination with layer comps or Flash if you need more animation or interactivity. Anyway, the concepts and suggestions provided in the upcoming postings apply to presentation slides (and media) in general regardless of the program you use. So, here is the first installment. If your talk is incomprehensible without the slides, this indicates that something is wrong! The slides are not the “star of the show” (your audience is!). The audience came to see you. You could have sent the PPT via email avoiding the hassle of a physical meeting. Visual communications guru, Edward Tufte, said: “…PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content. Thus, PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play—very loud, very slow, and very simple.” “The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster. It should be ditched.” said John Sweller, an Australian educational psychologist who is best known for formulating an influential theory of cognitive load. However, what he really means is the way PowerPoint is used should be ditched—presenting streams of information to slides with general titles, clip art, and bulleted list after bulleted list in hierarchical format. Read more about presentations from Garr Reynolds, author of the book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery.