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PRESENTATION SKILLS: PowerPoint Isn’t Dead, But Your Presentation May Be

Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure (and job) to go to a couple of different conferences (Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored, Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing to name a few).  Being in the training and development field, one of the many great take-aways for me professionally has been to see the new innovative ways people are showcasing ideas and concepts through presentations.  The current verdict: the paradigm for presenting has and will continue to shift.  With the recent hyper-sensitivity to design and imagery (think Facebook timeline, everything Apple, Instagram and Pinterest) we are moving to what Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen, refers to as Picture Superiority Effect.  With multiple stimuli vying for our attention constantly, presentations are moving to a much cleaner, simpler, less cluttered way of design and delivery.

What does this mean for you?  This biggest shift we see (and I continually work with our trainers here on this) is the notion that what was cutting edge 3-5 years ago is now obsolete and antiquated.  Designs that worked for us 5 years ago are now over-kill.  Motion and graphics used 3 years ago are now considered silly and distracting.  It is this combination of the learner being able to process information quicker, as well as the sheer fact that a new workforce generation is expecting simplified (not dumber) presentations that has New Directions going back to the drawing board.

As I have mentioned in other posts, some may say, “well this is just too fast and too much change for me, I can’t keep up, I won’t keep up.” And, you have the right to say that and bow out of the arena of presenting.  But, I’m willing to guess that the other 98% of us who have to present on a daily basis need to be on the innovative edge of presentations, working rigorously to capture the hearts and minds of the people we are trying to persuade.

Garr Reynolds describes the presentation shift with these new key focal areas in presentation design:

Restraint – applies to preparation; identify what’s important and what is not.  Keep what you don’t need out of your presentation.

Simplicity – less is more visually, only include what is necessary to get your point across. The purpose of all presentations is to get your point across.

Naturalness – make your presentation more conversational and natural; engagement is more critical now than ever before.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you’re looking for new, innovative, fun ways to present I encourage you to download our article on how to enhance your next presentation.





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