I’m a Clinical Psychologist by profession. Attending professional development training, conferences, and updating my qualifications in recent years has exposed me to all manner of presentation sins. After one particularly bad weekend of Powerpoint-poisoning during a post-grad class in Knowledge Management, I made a pledge to myself to make a difference to the ways audiences were expected to learn via slideware. My first use of Keynote in class was so well-received, that I decided to use it as my platform of change, as well as further understand multi-media based learning.
Sometimes, by swimming against the tide (99% of presentations I witness follow the cognitive style of Powerpoint – all bullets and chintzy clip art), I feel like Howard Roark, the architect in Ayn Rand’s, “The Fountainhead”. Each presentation needs to stand on its own, and each slide has a story to tell.
Audiences need to be engaged, presenters need to learn how to involve witnesses to their work, and the art of story telling needs to be augmented by current technologies.
In 2007, I applied to be a presenter at IDG’s Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. To my delight, IDG’s MD of Macworld, Paul Kent, was a reader of another blog of mine, and personally selected me to present in 2008. After a number of attempts to find the right title, we came up with Presentation Magic and it was an inspired choice because it really does encapsulate the wonderment of good presenting and the power of the presenter to direct his audience. In the case of presentations, the direction leads to memorable, engaging and persuasive presentations.
In this blog I’m going to pass on to you some of that magic as I continue to explore how to best use slideware to assist the process of presenting. While I advocate the use of Apple’s Keynote as my software of choice, many of the ideas you’ll read will also find application in other software like Microsoft’s Powerpoint.
Be careful as you read the blog entries: you may find yourself unhappily reviewing years of presenting. But rest assured the material I’ll present will have a strong evidence base for it, either from published journals or my own empirical testing.