I do a lot of presentations. You know I do because I mention them a lot. It’s not true but it seems that I do one every day. I guess I’m always on show, always presenting and so in one way or another I suppose that I do. A quick look back, however, in my diary shows that I do about one every other day. I wasn’t far off then.
Presenting is a part of my role and you would think that by now I would be quite good at them. You’d have to ask the audience. I try to be interesting, informative and entertaining. I’ve worked hard over the last year or so to take as many of the words out of the slides and stick to images where possible. I’ve also tried to incorporate video and have guest speakers come along.
But there is something that I really haven’t done, or at least well enough, and that is to plan my presentations. They have been more organic than planned. Most of them have started out with a request or an idea and I’ve cobbled some thoughts and images together. I will then fiddle about with them and try and put them in some logical sequence and hope for the best.
But these days hoping for the best is not good enough. My audience expect more and deserve more. I should be taking presentations more seriously and treating them as a performance and an opportunity to get my point across about some important issues. Otherwise, why should I, or they for that matter, bother?
Before Thinking Digital this year I attended a presentation course put on my Sogno. It was a good event and I picked up some useful ideas to use in future, such as that good presenters break the rules, they use lots of images with hardly any text and the slides are well synched to what they are saying. The main thing that I took way though was that I need to stop using ‘slideuments’ which is where you put information into a slide so that it can be read later. Either it is a presentation or a document. Ever since I heard this I’ve seen so many ‘slideuments’ with words so small you can’t read or even worse where documents are put up as presentations. Perhaps I can call these ‘docutations’?
Last week I started doing something different. I put time aside in my diary to plan for presentations, not to gather the slides or to find some fancy images but rather to sit down and work out what I wanted to say. At the top of the planning document I typed ‘What is the story that I want to tell’ and only when I was happy with the answer did I move on. It is funny how such a small change, no matter how obvious in hindsight it may be, can make all the difference. So now rather than shoving as much in as I can I’m only going to talk about those things that relate to the tale I am telling.
As for ‘slideuments’, I’m going to produce the presentation I’m going to show and write a separate report with the detail, if that is what is needed.