I have attended and given many presentations over the years. Some were good while others were downright awful. As an audience member, I have my own ideas of what I like and don’t like about presentations. For example, I have always hated presentations where every last word is given on the screen. Whenever this happens I immediately read the screen and begin to alter the presentation to my own style in my head. This shifts my focus from the content of the presentation to the form. Over the years I’ve had the fortune to be invited to speak to students, staff, and parents on a variety of different issues. I have tried to learn from some of the poorer presentations I have seen and with each presentation I give my style becomes more simplistic.
When I first started using PowerPoint in university I always did my best to ensure that each slide had a title and that I used bullet points to highlight important ideas. Essentially using them to cue me and remember what I wanted to say. This method stuck with me for years and I usually got compliments on my presentations; however, in 2010 I was introduced to Presentation Zen at the Create the Future conference. At the time the idea of inserting an image with a text box seemed incredibly easy and I again modified my presentation style.
Inserting images into a presentation is the easy part, however, using those images to help craft the story you want to tell is more difficult. During my course on the Exhibition I was asked to create a presentation outlining the important elements of the exhibition for an audience. I immediately thought of creating a Presentation Zen presentation using pictures of making okonomiyaki. Overall I feel like I did a decent job but I was disappointed with it because the pictures were from a variety of different sources and thus the story that I had in my head was never fully realized.
In my mind as I created the presentation I imagined a group of friends going through the process of making this wonderful meal. I realize now with the help of Garr Reynolds that in my head I was not simply creating a presentation to disseminate information but was indeed crafting a story to tell my audience. In my head the story was of friends enjoying the meal. However, because the people in the images kept changing, I felt that part was lost and my vision for the presentation never fully realized.
After several months I am now preparing to give the presentation to parents. To help me with this I asked two of my friends to join me for a meal. While eating we took pictures that I used to help modify my original presentation.
I feel the second slideshow turned out better because it tells the story that I wanted from beginning to end. This to me is perhaps the most important tip to remember while preparing a presentation. After all who doesn’t enjoy a good story.
Presentation Zen: The Video found on YouTube, uploaded by PeachpitTV