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Today I overheard my colleague on the phone inquiring about taking a PowerPoint class.  Chances are, her boss told her to take a class or two so that she can help him out with his PowerPoint presentations.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, except most people forget that PowerPoint is just that — a tool.

In my opinion, my colleague is already very well versed in her PowerPoint skills — I’ve seen what she put together in the past.  However, one can master the tool (for example, I am probably an expert in using the native tools within PowerPoint) and still be a lousy presenter (again, that’s also me but I am learning how to be a better presenter by reading books by Garr Reynolds, Dan Roam, and Nancy Duarte).

All of the most memorable presentations I’ve seen are done with minimal tricks.  In fact, being a minimalist is one of the topics Garr preached in his book.  These presentations are without gimmicky transition between slides or flashing or resizing texts.  In fact, they have minimal text but lots of illustration and pictures to get the points across to the audience.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it can’t be more true in the case of putting together presentations.

Now, I am not an expert in putting together and giving presentations, so I have no more to add to this topic except to say, a tool does not an artist make.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at some of my favorite presentations (I draw inspiration from them all the time):

Notice neither of the presentations has flashy texts or gimmicky transitions!

September 2008
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