I blame Presentation Zen

Lipstick on a pig

…for all the attempts to make bad presentations good by following PZ’s excellent advice. If you attend a conference these days, chances are you’ll see a presentation without any bullet points, or slides containing a full page image and “a single dramatic phrase”. Or no words at all. Or no slides. Nothing wrong with any of those methods, if they help make a difference.

Have you ever watched one of those adverts? The type that are quite mesmerising, with a carefully chosen soundtrack, voice over and visuals? That when you think about them afterwards, you have absolutely no idea what the advert was for? Same principle.

The strength of a presentation always comes down to its message. Visual design can certainly help delivery but is no substitute. And sometimes the simplest of techniques are all that you need:

Hat tip to Presentation Zen for sharing this clip used by the author of Made to Stick. Along with Presentation Zen, they are two well-worn books on my shelf that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to improve a presentation. Just don’t forget the message.

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