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Friday, January 27, 2006

Why my slides usually suck

even though I spend a lot of time on them.

okdork is getting attention (from rob poitras). I found him through a comment on signal v. noise.

I am in my biz, gov, & society class, the teacher is reading directly off the power point slides so I am catching up on my rss reader and browsing the net on my ibook.

Based on the site profile, he wants to learn, too. He is giving more useful feedback than going to

It's dull when there is too much on the slides for me at the talks I go to. I cannot read and listen at the same time---so I read the slides. But that's faster than the speaker can talk, so I have time to doodle, or edit hardcopies of my own paper. Why should students be any different?

I am probably the last one to figure this out. Oh well.

link | posted by vegreville at 10:25 PM |


Blogger The Unknown Professor commented at 9:55 AM~  

I get more and more convinced that "minimalist" slides are the way to go. They should setup the concept and give the key concepts.

The speaker should be fleshing out the key concept on the screen and n NOT just reading them. After all, if I can read everything off the slides, why should I listen to the speaker?

I've also gotten into the habit of taking this to it's logical conclusion - blanking out the slides. It forces the audience to focus on me, since having something on the screen tends to draw their attention.

I saw a perfect example of this once in a conference presentation. He first put the title page up. Then, he turned the lid down on the projector to blank the screen, walked in front of the podium for a minute, and said, "Let's think for a minute about what goes on in an investment banker's mind when talking to a client" (the paper was on IPOs).

After a few minutes, he then said, "Now, let's put this in terms of the theory". He then went back to his slides, and continued his presentation.

It was extremely effective - with the projector off, it focused every eye in the room on him. It's been a standard part of my presentations ever since - the less on the screen, the more attention is on the speaker. When I want undivided attention, I blank the screen (it works in class, too).

Blogger vegreville commented at 11:31 AM~  

I agree. I am trying to figure out how to work numerical examples into the scheme effectively. I think that it requires handouts different from the powerpoint,

I have also seen really effective speakers with jam packed slides. They put them up, and then you ignore them.

Anonymous Rob Poitras commented at 1:58 PM~  

Thanks for the link to my site :)
Think about apple keynote presentations from Steve Jobs. Here is a link to the last one at macworld SF
Some basics about his presentations.
The slideshows are there to support Steves presentation. Steve isnt there to present the slideshows.
They shouldnt be used as a crutch, but a way to show a few pictures and basic concepts with one sentence MAX on each slide.
Edward Tufte has a few papers on his site about power points.
He doesnt like to have any words on his power point, it should just be used to show images and maybe a graph or two. edit: looks like his papers arent on the site, you have to pay for it. He also thinks if you do have a bunch of data and written out papers, just give them to the people. As you mentioned people can read faster than a person can talk. Get the important info in front of them so they can read it and hold onto it for later.
Guy Kawasaki just wrote a blog post last week about presenting biz plans to VC's. He says "...the smallest font should be thirty points."

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