Friday, April 15, 2005

Powerpoint will not hide a poor presentation

I wanted to share this story …

Ten years ago I went to a very important healthcare conference in London about advances in healthcare.

Part of the day was a series of six short presentations from doctors who had been leading cutting edge new initiatives.

I sat in the audience with 200 other delegates and listened to five very slick and professional PowerPoint presentations by dynamic doctors - obviously very skilled in using the new technology …they had slides that almost spoke to the audience … darting bullet points, dazzling visual impact …… the whole nine yards as the saying goes!

The other doctor was a very quiet inoffensive man who initially looked nervous. He walked on to the stage armed with two ‘old fashioned’ hand written slides – it looked like he had probably written them on the train journey to the conference – neatly written but in simple black ink with a marker pen. He proceeded to tell us all the 'story' of his project.It was clear his project this was 'his baby' and he loved it!

The only one of the six presentations I remember – ten years later – is the one from the hand writing doctor!! I even remember very well some of the detail of his excellent talk.

I cannot remember a single thing about any of the other five ‘slick’ presentations or what any of the five doctors looked like. They were all more or less the same - very good in their own right - but very 'same'

Yet I can still picture the doctor with the handwritten slides.

I am a great user of PowerPoint and I think it is a wonderful aid to a good presentation.


PowerPoint is only an aid and not the content of your talk.

You must ‘grip’ your audience with a picture through your words or alternatively from your personal style or appearance.

PowerPoint will not automatically give you a good presentation – you must do your homework and most of all speak from the heart – showing your audience you really mean what you say.

What is my point?

PowerPoint is wonderful ..... but it is 'the cart before the horse'

Nothing ...let me repeat NOTHING doing your homework and then delivering your talk with belief, passion, humility and feeling!


Anonymous said...

Hi Trevor!

It's no wonder that you espouse Tom Peters, although he does use Power Point, he exudes(in your words) "belief, passion, humility and feeling!"

It is through his site that I discovered you. I left a blog regarding the death of my father due to medical mishaps and you and Tom were ever so kind to respond.
You FLOORED me when you offered assistance (across the sea!) to help in anyway!

Anyway, I decided to give your site a look and I enjoy your banter, thus I'll probably blog now and then.

Hope and peace,
P.S. I agree with you that one needs to leave a personal and "distinctive" impression behind.

Trevor Gay said...

Great to hear your comments Susan.

I hope your situation on the healthcare complaint is now resolved or at least moving on.

I worked for many years in healthcare and I have some understanding about the trauma such issues can cause people. The loss of a dear one is bad enough without having to battle against the institution as well.

Please comment whenever you want and tell your friends about Simplicity Blog - they can join in the banter too!!

As regards PowerPoint I think it is a wonderful medium and it can certainly assist the message - I use PowerPoint a lot - but the older I get the more I believe a good story - told well - is far more powerful.

Tom Peters uses PowerPoint but his stories can be told without PowerPoint - if you hear him talking on audio tape or CD you will understand the message just as well in my opinion.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Powerpoint is merely the icing on the cake. The icing can be good but if the cake is rotten then the product will not sell. Now if you have a good cake the icing will serve to make it more desirable.

Trevor Gay said...

Lemon cheesecake for me please Rocky if you are buying!

Anonymous said...

I was part of a group of five who had to make presentations. I deliberately went last. My colleagues all used PowerPoint and spoke for 20 minutes each. When I got up, I shut off the LCD projector, gave out my one page handout, and explained my information in less than 2 minutes. The audience thanked me and several attendees said that my presentation was the best of the day. :)


Trevor Gay said...

Brilliant Joel - well done - I rest my case!!