I've talked quite a bit before about web conference presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and even PowerPoint presentations for your web conferences. We've looked at "Zen” presentations, using black slides, telling stories, and of course, the "Less is More” rule.
Well, I'd like to add to that illustrious list today with the help of a .pdf "ReThink!” PowerPoint presentation by Oliver Adria. The link puts you at the beginning of his slideshow that demonstrates as it explains a newer, more interesting kind of presentation. And following the eternal, Less is More, there are 76 .pdf pages, but they comprise at most 30 "slides.”
Adria breaks his presentation into three sections, Old Habits, One Message, and One Story. For this post, we're going to concentrate on what he suggests to do with Old Habits… namely, dump them.
What does it mean to get rid of old PowerPoint habits? It means abandoning rules like, 7 words for each line, 7 lines for each slide, and only display each slide for 40 seconds each.” (Now, if you've been following this blog, you're allowed to feel smug that these rules haven't been your rules for a while.)
My favorite part is .pdf page 20 where it shows a PowerPoint slide template, then tells you to forget it. I am not ashamed to admit that there was a time when I was a slave to that template. So seeing a blank page as the suggested starting point felt good. The trick now is what to do with that empty canvas.
One idea of course is to use Adria's theme which is to not have a theme. His slides contain large fonts and small. His words appear in the right corner, left, bottom, top, and basically anyplace but where they're expected. Pictures are used, but only occasionally and sporadically, and I think this increases their impact.
Abandoning old habits is difficult, but at least with PowerPoint habits, starting with a blank slate is already exactly what you have to do.