Guides to better presentations

I have mentioned a few times (and have him in the blogroll) the blog of Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen.

He is incredibly inspiring, especially when pointing to (and analyzing) presentations. If you haven´t yet, go and read his latest book:

For me, this was an eye-opener. Too bad, the present company template for presentations we have to use does facilitate better presentations only to a limited extent.

Another good book that might help in creating better presentations (and that is not bashing the tool for what the users do with it) is Clear and to the Point.

Stephen Kosslyn presents 8 psychological principles that you should apply in order to make your presentations better. Though Powerpoint is mentioned on the title, this applies to all presentation programs.

The 8 principles:

  • How do I connect with my audience?
    • The Principle of Relevance
    • The Principle of Appropriate Knowledge
  • How can I direct and hold attention?
    • The Principle of Salience
    • The Principle of Discriminability
    • The Principle of Perceptual Organisation
  • How can I promote understanding and memory?
    • The Principle of Compatibility
    • The Principle of Informative Changes
    • The Principle of Capacity Limitations

Also recommended to read, albeit not as inspiring as Garr´s book.

Ross Brown gives feedback to a presentation he has received that did apparently not followed the hints and guidelines from either one of the experts above (via):

Your ransom-note-like use of multiple fonts and sizes on each slide led us, the viewers, to identify not with the content but with the feeling of being trapped and held hostage, our freedom being contingent on our ability to appear to understand your many indecipherable charts and graphs. With this quick nod to Stockholm syndrome, we began to feel for you as our captor and, eventually, as our fellow prisoner.

Beware of such presentations!