Al Gore: From "showing slides" to winning an Oscar
Ira Glass:Tips on storytelling

Don't make a speech. Put on a show.

Arden "Don't make a speech," says Paul Arden, "put on a show." Paul Arden is author of It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be. Arden's little book is not long on expanded content, but it's a very visual book and for most who read it, it's quite inspirational and even provocative as well. There are definitely good nuggets of wisdom inside. The images in the book may even give you some ideas for combining text with images. The author's background is in advertising so creatives and marketing people, etc. may find the book especially worthwhile. Here's what Arden says about presentations on page 68 of the 127-page book:

"When we go to see a lecture, we generally go to see the speaker not to hear what they have to say. We know what they have to say. That's why we go see them.
How many speeches have you heard? How many of them can you remember?
Words, words, words.
In a song, we remember firstly the melody and then we learn the words.
In stead of giving people the benefit of your wit and wisdom (words), try painting them a picture.  The more strikingly visual your presentation is, the more people will remember it.
And more importantly, they will remember you."

                                                       — Paul Arden


Arden goes on to say that "...even a Financial Director's speech does not have to be boring."

Words are important, of course. And good and appropriate content is crucial. But these are rarely sufficient. Especially today. We should be continually asking ourselves how we can "think different" and do things differently, even when asked to do a presentation. Given the chance, why not be remarkable?

Your story with narration, text, and images
Masterplan This video presentation was released last month and is generating a lot of buzz on the net. You can see the lower-rez version on YouTube below, or download the video in high resolution in various formats here on the Master Plan website. This may give you some ideas for combining your own (verbal) storytelling with text and images. Like any 2-3 minute presentation, the "whole story" can not be told here. This "Master Plan" presentation leaves you with more questions than answers, which I am guessing was the point. I can imagine a presenter showing this video first and then beginning a longer presentation and discussion that goes deeper.


Steve McCullough

Regular visitors to Presentation Zen won't be surprised at the points raised - but the wider business and education worlds do need yet another book like this.

In my experience the key point is "try painting them a picture." The audience will carry away with them images creates by a combination of effective visuals and influential, relevant words.

There are simply too many very bad presentations. This hurts business. I would rather see simple, strong statements presented effectively, with the bulk of the detailed information available elsewhere: then the audience can choose the parts most relevant to them for further work or study.

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