A client recently asked for notes on their draft presentation for an upcoming conference. I have attended a number of conferences lately and, like the rest of you, have had to sit through some pretty poor presentations. While I don’t claim to be God’s gift to Powerpoint, or even Greg Gifford, I am at that point in life where if your presentation sucks, I am going to get up and walk out, or even worse, like everybody else, check Twitter.

So in the hopes of helping everyone raise their game and making conferences tolerable, I thought I’d share my response:

My initial reaction: This is fine for a [Conference Name Redacted] show; and that’s my major problem with it. Time for some tough presentation love, emphasis on the “love” :).

Have you ever actually paid attention to a [Conference Name Redacted] presentation? Probably not. Me neither. Most of them are text-heavy repetitions of the same “[Presentation Theme Redacted] is hard” themes with the speaker reading the slides. While yours has some decent info, it’s basically the same as most others I have seen. I think people will tune out pretty quickly.

I’d like to encourage you to rethink your presentation style. Lose most of the text that no one is going to read (or is able to read), industry jargon, confusing graphics and animations that slow down the flow. If you are going to put text on a slide, use as little as possible and use it to reinforce a point you are speaking.

If you want your capabilities to really sink in, I recommend just walking us through an actual campaign, showing us each major step and how it performed. That’s what people really want to see IMO, and what better way to illustrate what you do?

If you want to see an example of what I am talking about, check out this presentation.

Notice how the slides are so simple and interact with what the speaker is saying?

Like I said, it’s a [Conference Name Redacted] conference, so the bar is pretty low, but if you can engrain even a little bit of this style into your presentations, I think they’ll be a lot more effective, a lot more memorable and a lot more fun to do.

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One Response Comment

  • Phil Rozek  December 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Good call, Andrew.

    How about next time you go to a conference, bring a backpack with copies of “Presentation Zen”. 5 minutes into the yakking, stand up from your chair, stretch your arms, yawn, and grunt. Maybe pop open a Red Bull. Then saunter over to the podium and plop down a copy of the book – be sure to get a nice “thud” – with a “You can thank me later” wink on your way out of the room.