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Back to the Basics

Posted on November 01, 2006

By Scott Schwertly

Each day there are about 80,000 presentations given across the country. Do you think these presentations are changing the world? It’s hard to imagine that these generic PowerPoint presentations are changing and positively impacting lives. They’re probably ending lives. In all seriousness, there is clearly a lack of presentation training in America that is creating a business culture that abuses presentation software and the art of public speaking.

Let’s change it.

So how do we do accomplish this great task?

It involves focusing on three core areas:

Content: Building a great presentation is about doing great preparation. It involves doing research, homework, and asking the right questions.
Design: There is a great book on web site design called “Don’t Make Me Think.” This approach must be embraced when developing slides.
Delivery: Does the presenter control the presentation or does the presentation control the presenter? Great delivery is about taking command.

Keep these areas in mind when hearing and evaluating a presentation.


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Brian Kathenes

So many presenters spend too much time making their pretty little bullets fly onto the screen and too little time developing good content.

And what about the huge potential of technical problems. How many times have we seen presenters do the "deer in the headlight stare" because without their power point they don't know what to say, or what's next in their presentation.

Less power point -- more solid content.


Rob Carey

With people of differing ages together in meeting rooms these days, even a single session needs a variety of delivery methods to keep everyone focused and able to retain info. So PowerPoint should only be one part of a presentation, along with active audience participation, a panel discussion, and/or other presentation means. Besides, this would also prevent a total disaster if the PowerPoint presentation is scuttled by technical difficulties.

Brian Kathenes

Rob, I agree. Multi-approaches -- flip chart, power point, white board, handouts, etc. I like the redundancy of the alternatve presention modalities.

I know folks that toally rely upon power point and those who go near it. No fault of MS -- it's great product -- presenters just need to use it wisely, and plan on Murphy.


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