But not in the way you think…
I wax nostalgic today. Partly spurred by the article in Slide:ology this week and partly because I recently stumbled upon a cache of ancient binders containing bits of my larval creative efforts. Humbled, I am walking down memory lane to my first presentation and contrasting it with my most recent.
It was 1996. I had been making ‘slides’-bad slides- with Ashton-Tate’s Applause II software for the managers for years. All of a sudden I was promoted to manager and found myself being asked to conduct an actual presentation where I was the speaker and the slides were mine. Too long had I remained comfortable behind CorelDraw Suite 5, and the Word Perfect Suite where I prepared reports and graphics for others. Now, I was assuming the speaker’s podium. Fortunately the promotion came with a copy of PowerPoint.
My twenty-minute presentation consisted of 7 slides, printed on transparencies at home (my office still had no color print facilities). Even then I prepared meticulous speaker’s notes with infantile instructions like “Read Title” and “Read Bullet Point”.
- Minutes: 20
- Slides: 7 or 3 Minutes Per Slide.
- Logos: 1 on Every Slide
- Bullets: 15 across 3 slides
- Words: 220 or 31.4 Words/Slide
- Cheesy ClipArt: 3
- Photos: None
- Animations: None
- Words in Speaker’s Notes: 784
As you can see by the scanned speaker note page, that the text density of my slides was high but I wasn’t just reading the slides. There was oodles of content in my notes being delivered by me.
I still remember speaking that day. I suffer from allergies and took too many pills to dry up my drips and my throat was so dry I could spit dust. Dutifully, I fulfilled my charge and delivered my presentation (far too quickly) to a crowded Las Vegas hotel suite filled with 11 of my peers and two of my superiors.
How times have changed. Fast-forwarding to 2008 where I am a presentation professional –both in design and delivery. My presentations look quite different now. This last presentation is one I am currently rehearsing for the Red Wing Camera Club for delivery on October 20th. It is titled: Winter Photography Techniques.
- Minutes: 60
- Slides: 59 or about 1 a minute
- Logos: 10 (My Logo on title slides only)
- Bullets: 8 (2 slides of 4 bullets each)
- Words: 120 or 2 words per slide
- Cheesy ClipArt: None (1 info graphic created by me in Corel Draw X3)
- Photos: 79 (all mine – no stock)
- Animations: on 7 Slides
- Words in Speaker’s Notes: ~3000
There is quite a difference between where I began and where I am today. I am using approximately 1/15th the number of words per slide and moving the slides along three times faster than I used to. I hope that means a snappier delivery and more enjoyment and retention for my audience. Bullets, the scourge of presentation pros everywhere, have been cut from 2 per slide to about a single bullet point for every 7 slides.
It is no secret that PowerPoint Live has been a major source of inspiration and correction to my efforts over the years. They teach visuals for the sake of reinforcement, delivering the presentation rather than showing and that even the most compelling content can be drained of its relevance by a poor speaker, presentation or both.
In these newly discovered binders are some of the first 4-color work I ever did as a ‘design for print’ artist in Corel Ventura 5. Eek! I may be afraid to share those. Unless you all write me and say: “Rikk, embarrass yourself and share those horrid designs.”
It can be comforting to now how far one has come but it is also frightening to think about the product you used to deliver. I guess if you aren’t frightened by it, you haven’t grown.
Just a quick anecdote I posted on my Facebook yesterday.
In San Diego, I was introduced at a PowerPoint convention as an Expert Photographer. Last night at MN Nature Photography Club I was introduced as a PowerPoint Expert.
A prophet is honored everywhere but his own country…
Thank goodness the two groups never meet or I might be found out!
Rikk Flohr © 2008