- How much time do I have?
- What’s the venue like?
- What time of the day?
- Who is the audience?
- What’s their background?
- What do they expect of me (us)?
- Why was I asked to speak? • What do I want them to do?
- What visual medium is most appropriate for this particular situation and audience?
- What is the fundamental purpose of my talk?
- What’s the story here?
In 2001, marketing guru and bestselling author Seth Godin—who’s seen more bad presentations than any man should be subjected to— had had enough. Seth decided he’d try to make a difference. So he wrote a 10-page e-book called Really Bad PowerPoint that he sold on Amazon for $2 (money went to charity), and it became the best-selling e-book of the year. "PowerPoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer, but it’s not," Seth said. "It’s actually a dismal failure. Almost every PowerPoint presentation sucks rotten eggs."
most presentations remain mind-numbingly dull, something to be endured by both presenter and audience alike.
My favorite book in the summer of 2006 was Daniel Pink’s best-seller, A Whole New Mind (Riverhead Trade). Tom Peters called the book "a miracle."
"The future belongs to a different kind of person," Pink says. "Designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers—creative and empathetic right-brain thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t."
We’re living in an age, says Pink, that is "…animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life—one that prizes aptitudes that I call ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch.’ High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative…."
it’s increasingly clear that logic alone is not a sufficient condition for success for individuals and for organizations.
The six aptitudes are: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Mastering them is not sufficient, but leveraging these aptitudes has now become necessary for professional success and personal fulfillment in today’s world.
Focus, specialization, and analysis have been important in the "information age," but in the "conceptual age," synthesis and the ability to use seemingly unrelated pieces to form and articulate the big picture before us is crucial, even a differentiator. Pink calls this aptitude "symphony."
Communication is about getting others to adopt your point of view, to help them understand why you’re excited (or sad, or optimistic or whatever else you are.)
Logic is not enough. Communication is the transfer of emotion.
If you believe in your idea, sell it.
deep down, we all want to be sold.
No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
Talking about pollution in Houston? Instead of giving me four bullet points of EPA data, why not read me the stats but show me a photo of a bunch of dead birds, some smog and even a diseased lung? This is cheating! It’s unfair! It works.
Third, no dissolves, spins or other transitions. Keep it simple.
The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa).
The art of comics is another place to look for knowledge and inspiration. Comics, for example, are amazingly effective at partnering text and images that together form a powerful narrative which is engaging and memorable.
Comics and film are the two major ways that stories are told through imagery.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci