Pimp My Slides

I’ve blogged before about how great Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullets blog is. It’s unfailingly insightful and interesting and covers a topic I feel strongly about: use and abuse of Microsoft Powerpoint.

Last week Cliff posted a solicitation for lab rats volunteers to collaborate with him on a makeover of one of their presentations. Subjects would take an existing Powerpoint presentation and redesign it according to the principles in Cliff’s book: Beyond Bullet Points. I jumped at the chance, and was delighted to be accepted into the experiment!

I could have chosen to use a bad presentation that would make the job of improvement easy. Instead, I chose one that I thought was quite good. I’ve given it several times and gotten excellent reviews. It has humor. The content is tight, with plenty of ‘new news’. It is designed for audience interaction. But I never sold any business directly related to one of these presentations. I figured if Cliff’s book (and tutelage) could show me how to do that, I’d be his biggest customer evangelist!

You can watch – and comment on – the action here. There’s a copy of the original presentation (with speaker notes!), the storyboard I’ll use to make over the presentation, and a discussion board to document the process. Please check out my project, as well as a bunch of others on Cliff’s site. If you’re not enthralled with the topic of the Balanced Scorecard Management System, there’s surely another presentation more to your taste.

Cliff’s book is fantastic. Steve wrote a great review here; check it out. I’ll add that the book is very well organized, the narrative is great, and the principles well illustrated. The presentation storyboard template and other book-related resources are available online. I’d tell you to check them out and then go buy the book, but that sort of talk is cheap. Instead, I encourage you to look at the results of applying the book’s principles and judge for yourself. Then come back here and click Beyond Bullet Points to buy the book. While the sheer satisfaction of making the world safer for presentation audiences ought to be enough compensation for my trouble, I’d really like to break my previous quarterly Amazon Associate earnings record of $0.23.

posted by Mike at 4:44 PM


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