29 May 2009

Conformity Is Optional

The problem with most powerpoint presentations is that they follow the templates that are forced on all too many organizations. Those templates, by and large, are awful. The result is dense, unreadable collections of charts that fail to communicate effectively.

The good news is that conformity with these templates is optional. 

I promise, if you give a clear, engaging presentation that actually communicates with the audience, nobody will chop your head off for not following the template. 

Check out Presentation Zen (blog or book), or download my Charts Are Cheap presentation for more details on how to do it better.


LookingUp said...

Along the lines of something you've proposed in the past, it takes a lot of creativity to come up with a graphic or visual representation that represents a complex thought. It's easier to dump a lot of text on a pre-made PPT template.

Should people use graphic designers to help them with their PPTs? How can someone be trained to translate their complex thoughts into visual, particuarly if not everyone thinks that way?

The Dan Ward said...

Yeah, good point. Doing PPT this way is harder. It requires more skill and effort and thought. I just figure that's part of the job. Taking the easy way out and dumping endless buckets of text into dense, illegible charts is an unfortunate 'best practice.'

I love the idea of hiring graphic designers to help with PPT's. I also think that regular people could significantly improve their charts by educating themselves and reading stuff like Pres Zen.