Management IT Mentoring & Coaching

 Slide:ology – The Art and Science of creating great presentations

written by Nancy Duarte is an ideal companion for PowerPoint 2010’s features.  If only people would read this book and apply the skills using PowerPoint 2007 or PowerPoint 2010 none of us would have to sit through badly designed presentations again!

Chapter 1: Creating a New Slide Ideaology

“If a slide contains more than 75 words, it has become a document. … Presentations with 50 or more words per slide serve as a teleprompter. … True presentations focus on the presenter and the visionary ideas and concepts they want to communicate.  The slides reinforce the content visually rather than create distraction”.

“The audience will either read your slides or listen to you.  They will not do both.  So, ask yourself this: is it more important that they listen, or more effective if they read?”

“Remember, presentations and audiences may vary, but one important fact remains constant; the audience didn’t come to see you; they came to see what you can do for them.”

Chapter 2: Creating Ideas, not slides

“The best place to start is not with a computer.  A paper and pencil will do nicely.  … It’s been an easy trap to fall into, launching presentation applications to prepare content.  In reality, the best creative process requires stepping away from technology and relying on the same tools of expresion that you grew up with – pens, pencils and crayons. … The goal is to generate ideas … lots of ideas.”

“Take the time and spend the creative energy because the payoff will be a presentation that people not only remember, but one that inspires them to action.”

“When generating ideas, one idea per sticky [Post-It] note … Don’t be stingy with the sticky notes”.

Chapter 3: Creating Diagrams

Abstract Concept shapes: Flow / Structure / Cluster / Radiate

Realistic Concept shapes: Pictorial / Display Data

Several of the shapes created by Duarte and her team can be achieved using PowerPoint’s SmartArt.

Chapter 4: Displaying Data

“clarity … Data slides are not really about the data.  They are about the meaning of the data. … Begin by asking yourself, ‘What would I like them to remember about this data’? … Keep in mind that the purpose of slides is not to show all the data, but to communicate conclusions and insights.”

Keep charts clear / simple and avoid visual distractions.

Chapter 5: Thinking Like a Designer

“To succeed as a presenter, you must think like a designer. … Every decision a designer makes is intentional.  Reason and logic underpin the placement of visual elements.”

“Effective slide design hinges on mastery of three things: arrangement, visual elements, and movement.”

Chapter 6: Arranging Elements

“Contrast … Flow … Hierarchy …Unity … Promixity … Whitespace”

Chapter 7: Using Visual Elements: Background, Colour and Text

“Consistency….  Choose element styles and stick with them. … Backgrounds should never compete with content.”

Chapter 8: Using Visual Elements: Images

“Take custom photos to help drive the message home.”

Chapter 9: Creating Movement

“It’s tempting to make everything buzz like a fly or swoosh like a rocket.  Don’t do it. … If animation is incorporated without purpose or meaning, the audience’s attention is turned away from the presenter and toward the movement.  It’s inevitable.”

Chapter 10: Governing with Templates

“When more than one person generates presentations for an organisation, a well-built template … is a must.”

Chapter 11: Interacting with Slides

“Constrain the text… Letting go of slides-as-crutch is a process that requires time, patience, and practice.  Possibly the biggest issue facing presenters is that they don’t take the time to rehearse.  … Great presenters connect with their audience, speak naturally, and allow the slides to enhance their story.”

“Next time you give a presentation, consider a different approach – look at your content through the eyes of the audience.”


Video: Watch Author Nancy Duarte Talk About Slide:ology

Slide:ology is one of those must-own, must-read books.  I highly recommend that you should buy a copy and refer to it before you start work on your next PowerPoint presentation.

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