What’s the point of Powerpoint?
A crutch to help you through an uncomfortable challenge (public speaking)?
A useful visual aid to convey stories?
A pain in the butt, killed to death, hackneyed, eyesore, head-f**k for boring people to death?
…Most votes are probably in the last camp, which is why we at Velocity are fascinated by attempts to cure the ills of Powerpoint….like Pecha Kucha – an approach to ppts that, as described by Wired, combines business meeting and poetry to transform corporate cliché into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art.
Powerpoint as performance art? What’s the point?
Well, something needs to be done. Too many 30 minute stand up sessions are drivel, fuelled by bullets and dodgy clip art. Doug’s already writtern about PK here. It’s a worthy pursuit. Think about it. You’re presenting at a conference / meeting / social thang. You have a few minutes to take people on your journey – get buy in, that sort of thing.
Now, how you gonna do it? More bullets!?
Perhaps ppt is a necessary evil. After all, ranting in front of an audience isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
The key to being good at it is, however, in doing it differently. So, if nothing else, make sure they remember just a bit of you. Say or do something different – focus on the message that REALLY matters and do a great job of delivering it….. and just forget all the other conventional crap.
The other thought is how you put it all together. Here’s a great post from the folks at 37signals (one of our fave development firms, the guys behind Basecamp). Check it out – their advice is to ‘talk first, write second.’ It’s simple, but powerful. Rather than focusing on the tool (the app, the bullets, the clip art), why not first think about what needs to be said…. then say it and write it all down later? Bet your slide content would look a little different if you took this path.
Anyways, the best advice we can offer on the subject is a good old cliche: less is more. 20 seconds a slide and a spot of Pecha Kucha is a good discipline.
We’re actively doing this for our clients now. So talk to us if you’d like some help with that troublesome Corporate or Sales presentation.