16 August 2009

PowerPointing The Finger

For those of you unfamiliar with SlideShare, people can upload their slides from PowerPoint they used in a presentation. And I don't get it.

I have a fetish for good presentations. Likewise for good PowerPoint slide design. And I believe you shouldn't have to rely on your slides to communicate a message in a presentation. Ever.

Therefore to put up your slides without any context is pointless. And any meaning people take away from them would be a misinterpretation.

6 comments:

  1. True to a degree Zac. Definitely agree that you shouldn't have to rely on slides to convey your message, however, if done well you can jam pack a lot of good content on a set of slides and through use of good visuals make it really valuable and worthwile. Check out Tom Peter's slides at TomPeters.com. I reckon you'll like them.

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  2. 'To put up your slides without any context is pointless. And any meaning people take away from them would be a misinterpretation.'

    Kind of like writing a blog, your words can be misinterpreted, people do not understand the tone of what you are writing. But are you going to stop blogging?

    I think SlideShare is an amazing resource and a good presentation on SlideShare does not always equal a good presentation IRL. Vice versa

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  3. To be fair, it has its uses.

    But not everyone understands that there should be a presentation that goes along side the slides. And that's a problem. It can also be good for learning about slide design, but the majority of people on their don't really appreciate that either.

    Every piece of communication suffers a lack of understanding in regards to tone. But I think your blog analogy would be better if I wrote a post and only gave you the template of my blog. Or the image I used to illustrate a point.

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  4. We often run seminars and workshops and get hounded for the slides afterwards. Bottom line is that you aren’t going to change people’s attitudes (whether they were at your presentation or not). They “think” they get more value because they can access your slides.

    So it is much easier to think about how you can meet their need. Do you, as I have done in the past, record the presentation and put the slides over the top? Do you put warning slides about context? Do you design slides that work without the presentation? Do you develop two sets of slides – one for the pres and one if you didn’t come?

    Whatever the solution – standing your ground and saying “no, you can’t have the slides because you don’t have the context” doesn’t make anyone a winner.

    The issue making it more complex is that if you deliver to a set of slides, and you really need to be at the pres to understand, then the event becomes finite.

    Lets discuss over a beer on Friday :)

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  5. Who needs Context?

    Here's the best PowerPoint Presentation ever!

    tilted: "Chicken Chicken Chicken"

    http://subjunctive.net/klog/2007/09/chicken

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  6. It's a completely valid point, in a conventional presentation the slides should simply support the message.

    However, slideshows are not always used for conventional presentations, they are used in various contexts such as discussion groups or even as stand alone documents.

    Furthermore, slideshows are often produced for clients, clients want take away documents, and what the client wants the client generally gets. Therefore many slideshow docs are produced with a focus on them working as a standalone doc. The trick is creating a streamlined version of the same doc that can work as an effective communication aid (not lead) in a presentation context.

    Of course slideshare can also be used alongside a video recording of the presentation or even by presentation attendees.

    Nice post, got people thinking.

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