Delivery Event

Five Predictions for Presentations in 2009

I was asked to contribute to a blog post being pulled together by Olivia Mitchell from New Zealand who has a great blog called Speaking About Presenting. The criteria for submission was to answer the question: “What trends you would like to see in PowerPoint slide design in 2009?” First of all, it’s nice to see the use of the words PowerPoint and design used in the same sentence—that alone shows a significant shift of mindsets.

In the year 2009…

1. The rise of new visual benchmarks for solving complex communication problems

Large photos and sparse text are quickly being adopted, which is great. But they only work for keynotes and marketing. So what about the physicians, scientists, and engineers? Best practices for these folks should arrive on the scene in 2009.

2. Presenters will feel the pressure: Status quo isn’t good anymore

Presenters will begin to feel audiences demand quality communication. There’ll be heckling and protesting from the audience when the presenter doesn’t design their visuals well or rehearse their material.

3. PowerPoint will become a rich multimedia environment

This one’s a bit of a crap shoot, but wouldn’t it be great if PowerPoint could provide a simple media-editing and management system that had nice playback and actually worked each time?

4. PowerPoint will be used by the President

Obama seems to embrace technology, so he just might embrace PowerPoint. If he does, he’s smart enough to do it right. Oh dread the day we take a big step backwards by having politicians confuse us even more by utilizing this medium.

5. Corporations that replace bad PowerPoint with designed stories will will see their stock price increase

This is the year where we’ll start to see some companies hit a tipping point. The ratio of good to bad PowerPoint will tip towards good and their company value will be clearly seen by customers, employees, and investors.

palmpre

We have very recent proof of prediction #5 starting to happen. Palm’s announcement of their new pre phone at CES was one of the most successful launches we’ve seen in quite a while (Apple launches don’t count). They clearly treated this like a significant presentation by planning, rehearsing, staging and building a presentation that was beautiful and came off flawlessly. They’re becoming a culture that values how they communicate in a presentation environment!

Nancy Duarte

AUTHOR |

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  • Dalin

    Shoot, it doesn’t have to be a powerpoint for Obama. Any visual aid would make an immense difference in presidency. Why can’t presidents have visual presentations that look cool? It would actually make us listen for a change!

  • Dalin

    Shoot, it doesn’t have to be a powerpoint for Obama. Any visual aid would make an immense difference in presidency. Why can’t presidents have visual presentations that look cool? It would actually make us listen for a change!

  • Nathan

    Sorry, but Obama is not going to use PowerPoint.
    I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see him use Keynote!

  • Nathan

    Sorry, but Obama is not going to use PowerPoint.
    I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see him use Keynote!

  • Nice post!
    Underline the point that Palm planned, rehearsed and staged for flawless execution. The reason some many poor presentations are done is too many leaders are checking their PDA instead of committing dedicated time to rehearse.

    If you change just one of us think how many audience members will have a better experience.

  • Nice post!
    Underline the point that Palm planned, rehearsed and staged for flawless execution. The reason some many poor presentations are done is too many leaders are checking their PDA instead of committing dedicated time to rehearse.

    If you change just one of us think how many audience members will have a better experience.

  • An answer to #1, for physicians, scientists, and engineers, may actually have been published in 2008! It’s called Advanced Presentations by Design: Creating Communication that Drives Action, by Andrew Abela. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve found a lot of good ideas on his blog and website. He distinguishes between ballroom presentations, like keynotes, and conference room presentations, which are the more work-a-day ones. If I understand correctly, for these, he recommends paper handouts with the details, which might fall into your “slideument” category. But he insists these must pass the “squint test” and provides some templates, where the arrangement of information on the page tells part of the story. See http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/advanced-presentation-by-design-a-new-book-about-the-extreme-presentation-method.html

  • An answer to #1, for physicians, scientists, and engineers, may actually have been published in 2008! It’s called Advanced Presentations by Design: Creating Communication that Drives Action, by Andrew Abela. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve found a lot of good ideas on his blog and website. He distinguishes between ballroom presentations, like keynotes, and conference room presentations, which are the more work-a-day ones. If I understand correctly, for these, he recommends paper handouts with the details, which might fall into your “slideument” category. But he insists these must pass the “squint test” and provides some templates, where the arrangement of information on the page tells part of the story. See http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/advanced-presentation-by-design-a-new-book-about-the-extreme-presentation-method.html

  • Thank you Nancy for recommending the Palm Pre Keynote. I watched the full 1 hour presentation and was very impressed upon the result. The format was quite similar to an Apple Keynote, but it also has its own personality, which I think is great.

    I wrote about it on EYP and put up a gallery of 112 pictures to allow glimpse of Palm slide design. http://www.empoweryourpoint.com/2009/01/is-palm-going-to-beat-out-apple-for-the-best-keynote-award/

  • Thank you Nancy for recommending the Palm Pre Keynote. I watched the full 1 hour presentation and was very impressed upon the result. The format was quite similar to an Apple Keynote, but it also has its own personality, which I think is great.

    I wrote about it on EYP and put up a gallery of 112 pictures to allow glimpse of Palm slide design. http://www.empoweryourpoint.com/2009/01/is-palm-going-to-beat-out-apple-for-the-best-keynote-award/

  • Physicians, scientists and engineers, exactly the next challenge. I am struggling with this daily as I prepare fund raising presentations for technology startups with complex technologies.

    My equivalent to big pictures and few words is to abstract a technology diagram to the absolute bare bone essential. Out with sophisticated illustrator icons (servers, clouds, etc.). Out with sophisticated gradients. Out with too much reflection, shadows.

    Instead a completely clean and almost “childish” simple diagram that explains what you need to explain, and nothing more.

  • Physicians, scientists and engineers, exactly the next challenge. I am struggling with this daily as I prepare fund raising presentations for technology startups with complex technologies.

    My equivalent to big pictures and few words is to abstract a technology diagram to the absolute bare bone essential. Out with sophisticated illustrator icons (servers, clouds, etc.). Out with sophisticated gradients. Out with too much reflection, shadows.

    Instead a completely clean and almost “childish” simple diagram that explains what you need to explain, and nothing more.

  • Physicists, scientists, and engineers (add management consultants) is not just the next step on the path. It’s a fundamentally different problem. Many of the rules that apply for Duarte-like presentations are flat out wrong for the rest of us that do with data-driven-analysis for a living.

    To wit, our company has spent well into seven figures in the last year on PowerPoint template modifications. That means
    a) templates that are brand consistent and empower effective data visualization
    b) chart objects with effective data utilization attributes
    c) custom graphing solutions (aka Think-Cell)
    d) extensive training on how to think through effective data visualization.

    All of that money and effort has been focused on a completely different type of communication. We would NEVER, NEVER show single slides with a big picture and an inspirational quote. Our decks go in front of senior management (VPs, CEOs, boards, and yes, even marketing directors), and we would be laughed out of the room if we included one of those types of slides.

    One anecdote; we had a marketing firm do a marketing/branding survey for us. Their deck was one of these “big photos with quotes” deals. Every person in my organization who saw the deck thought those guys were morons, and laughed at the lack of data and insight that they delivered.

    It’s far less “fun” inspirational decks, which is why I don’t think it is receiving nearly the traction that Duarte, Reynolds, or Godin receives. But it’s far more influential in the business world than those types of decks.

  • Physicists, scientists, and engineers (add management consultants) is not just the next step on the path. It’s a fundamentally different problem. Many of the rules that apply for Duarte-like presentations are flat out wrong for the rest of us that do with data-driven-analysis for a living.

    To wit, our company has spent well into seven figures in the last year on PowerPoint template modifications. That means
    a) templates that are brand consistent and empower effective data visualization
    b) chart objects with effective data utilization attributes
    c) custom graphing solutions (aka Think-Cell)
    d) extensive training on how to think through effective data visualization.

    All of that money and effort has been focused on a completely different type of communication. We would NEVER, NEVER show single slides with a big picture and an inspirational quote. Our decks go in front of senior management (VPs, CEOs, boards, and yes, even marketing directors), and we would be laughed out of the room if we included one of those types of slides.

    One anecdote; we had a marketing firm do a marketing/branding survey for us. Their deck was one of these “big photos with quotes” deals. Every person in my organization who saw the deck thought those guys were morons, and laughed at the lack of data and insight that they delivered.

    It’s far less “fun” inspirational decks, which is why I don’t think it is receiving nearly the traction that Duarte, Reynolds, or Godin receives. But it’s far more influential in the business world than those types of decks.

  • Hi there, nice banter going here. I do agree that big pics are laughable when presenting analysis and data. To me, the best practices for analytical content wouldn’t be to find a photo, it’d be to develop clear hierarchy and eye flow for the info. I adore Andrew Abela http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/ and have been working on a post that would do his book justice. There are wonderful fundamentals in Stephen Few’s work too. http://perceptualedge.com/ Both are making progress in this space. This type of content is VERY important. The #1 question I get from audiences is to address these data-driven-analysis issues. We’ve been collecting content (if you guys have any, send them on over) so we can study the nuances that will make the content project and flow better. Not become simple or stripped of relevance but create new aspirational baselines. We create many solutions for this audience and it’s smart content that’s clear for projection (and when printed). Great stuff.

  • Hi there, nice banter going here. I do agree that big pics are laughable when presenting analysis and data. To me, the best practices for analytical content wouldn’t be to find a photo, it’d be to develop clear hierarchy and eye flow for the info. I adore Andrew Abela http://extremepresentation.typepad.com/blog/ and have been working on a post that would do his book justice. There are wonderful fundamentals in Stephen Few’s work too. http://perceptualedge.com/ Both are making progress in this space. This type of content is VERY important. The #1 question I get from audiences is to address these data-driven-analysis issues. We’ve been collecting content (if you guys have any, send them on over) so we can study the nuances that will make the content project and flow better. Not become simple or stripped of relevance but create new aspirational baselines. We create many solutions for this audience and it’s smart content that’s clear for projection (and when printed). Great stuff.

  • Jocelyn

    I’ve found, as a scientist, that the big pictures and quotes translates into most of my slides consisting only of large plots or schematics, well labeled, which I talk about verbally without explicit bullet points in most cases. One could compare this to the way people skim papers by looking at the intro, figures, conclusion. I think scientists and engineers need to work on good data visualization and make that the core of the slides, rather than bullet points.

  • Jocelyn

    I’ve found, as a scientist, that the big pictures and quotes translates into most of my slides consisting only of large plots or schematics, well labeled, which I talk about verbally without explicit bullet points in most cases. One could compare this to the way people skim papers by looking at the intro, figures, conclusion. I think scientists and engineers need to work on good data visualization and make that the core of the slides, rather than bullet points.

  • Rahul

    I know, I’m two years late to the party, but I wanted to chime in. First off, great site.

    Secondly, have you ever addressed what’s the best way to teach using presentations? I’m a physician who teaches medical students and have read yours, G Reynold’s, Cliff Atkinson’s, E Tufte’s and now Abela’s book.

    Most new knowledge in medicine (and medical school) is initially presented in text (books or journals) but disseminated then through presentations. Yet we are horrible at this.

    Often times we need to show relationships, processes, or even info without context which needs rote memorization.

    How would your approach to an informative presentation differ from a persuasive one?

    Thanks again!

  • Rahul

    I know, I’m two years late to the party, but I wanted to chime in. First off, great site.

    Secondly, have you ever addressed what’s the best way to teach using presentations? I’m a physician who teaches medical students and have read yours, G Reynold’s, Cliff Atkinson’s, E Tufte’s and now Abela’s book.

    Most new knowledge in medicine (and medical school) is initially presented in text (books or journals) but disseminated then through presentations. Yet we are horrible at this.

    Often times we need to show relationships, processes, or even info without context which needs rote memorization.

    How would your approach to an informative presentation differ from a persuasive one?

    Thanks again!

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