- One Story
- No Bar Charts
These are great guidelines.
Having said that, one of the best presentations I ever attended was done by Jeff McNeely of the IUCN at a Biodiversity Conference sometime in the 1990s.
After a long day of presentations by scientific and policy experts, Jeff strode up to the stage with a handful of overhead slides featuring cartoons (in the style of Gary Larson's The Far Side series) which he showed and briefly discussed.
This presentation remains my favorite because:
- the presentation employed humor and interaction,
- both the audience and the presenter were enthusiastic about and engaged with the subject matter,
- the visuals were directly related to the discussion (but he let the audience read them), and
- his presentation was probably the shortest one of the whole day.
Which brings me to another GREAT resource -- Andy Goodman published an excellent resource titled Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes (currently available as a PDF download only).
Andy also offers a workshop which he presented at our offices last year.
It has completely changed the way we do our presentations.
Andy's research identified five fatal flaws of the average presentation (which, unfortunately includes most of the presentations we are forced to sit through on a regular basis):
- Reading the slides
- Too long, too much information
- Lack of interaction
- Lifeless presenters
- Room/Technical problems
The things which make a presentation excellent include:
Building on his research, experience, and case studies, Andy then goes on to describe how to turn adequate presentations into excellent and inspirational messages.
Finally, if you make presentations a lot you should consider joining a Toastmasters International club in your area where you can practice and get evaluated on your presentation skills. The speaking skills you develop through Toastmasters truly provide an excellent foundation for all your presentations.