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TED — Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Can You Give a Presentation Without PowerPoint? And Without Speaking?

So the answer to the first question is easy: yes, you can give a presentation without PowerPoint.

You can use props (human brain, anyone?), drawings and animation (how does motivation work), or nothing at all (perhaps my favorite TED talk of all time).

But can you do a talk without speaking?

That’s going to take some creativity, yes?

That’s exactly what Chris Powers did, though, in this engaging talk on silence. Well, since he didn’t speak, I guess it’s not really a “talk;” it’s a presentation.

Remember: “presentation” doesn’t have to mean “PowerPoint.”

Different gets attention, and you need attention to get your idea across. How can you be different in your next presentation?

h/t SvN blog

9 Steps to Better Presentations: Part 9 – Get Inspired

9_-_A_Simple_Guide_to_Better_Presentations.029NOTE: This is the ninth (and last!) in a series of posts taken from our guide 9: A Simple Guide to Better Presentations. Can’t wait and want to get it all now? Download the eBook for FREE here.

Want to see some good presentations?

Michael’s Slideshare favorites

Want to read a book?

Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath
Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds
Confessions of a Public Speaker, Scott Berkun
Presentation Renovation, Michael Gowin & Deanne Mott

Still don’t have the FREE 9 guide? What are you waiting for?

Presentation Design for the College Classroom (LCU Undergraduate Faculty)

Note: I gave a similar presentation to the Hargrove School faculty back in April.

What do effective presentations look like in a college classroom?

Last Friday I offered some thoughts on this with my colleagues in the School of Undergraduate Studies (SUS) at Lincoln Christian University. Here are the key points we covered.

  1. Don’t default to PowerPoint – You have lots of options for learning experiences: demonstrations, writing/drawing on the whiteboard, discussion, video, and more. PowerPoint is just one tool.
  2. One idea per slide – The less that’s on the slide, the fewer distractions, the better the focus. Instead of using one slide with six bullet points, expand that one slide out to six separate slides.
  3. Minimize text – Closely related to #2. Don’t type everything on the slide that you plan to say. Use just a word or two.
  4. Use pictures – Images are powerful and emotional. We remember what we feel. When you use images, don’t feel constrained by the placeholders on the slide–let your photos fill the slide. See The Girl Effect for a good example of these points.
  5. Stories for the win – Stories engage us emotionally and spark curiosity, an essential ingredient for learning. They can also be used to keep and regain attention (See Dr. John Medina’s notes on attention from his book Brain Rules).
  6. Give cues – Many students take notes by writing what they see on the PowerPoint slides–nothing more. Give students verbal cues: “write this down,” “this is important,” “this will be on the test.” You can also build visual cues into your presentation that help them navigate your lecture. For example, create your main point slides in one color and subpoint slides in a different color.
  7. Get inspired – Here are a few helpful resources: TED (and here are some of my favorite talks), Slideshare (here are my favorites), Compfight (great tool for searching images on flickr), Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (give them your email address and they’ll give you some excellent teaching and presenting resources for free), and Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. I’ll recommend our own book, Presentation Renovation, as well–you can download it right now.

Last fall I wrote a couple posts to help students prepare better presentations for their end-of-semester projects. You might find those helpful as well:

Thanks to Dean Jim Estep and Provost Clay Ham for making time for this in our faculty meeting.

16 Secrets for Better Student Presentations - Renovate Communication Design, LLC

Make better presentations with the Presentation Renovation eBook

Swipe File Friday: TED

Bad artists copy, great artists steal - Picasso - slide designed by Michael Gowin, Renovate Communication Design, LCC

Welcome to Swipe File Friday.

Preparing a talk is no easy thing.

You need an audience and you need to know who’s in it so you know what they need, what they hope and fear, how they might want their lives to be different.

You need a topic that will interest your audience and you need to prepare your message that resonates with them–you don’t want to be “that boring speaker.”

You need slides that look good, something better than standard PowerPoint templates.

And you need a delivery style that’s consistent with who you are (and not some other famous speaker who you’re trying to imitate).

That’s a tall order.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could see how other speakers put this all together when they present?


TED began in 1984 “as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.” In short, big wigs from these three industries got together to give talks and presentations about the cool things they were doing.

TED on Swipe File Friday, Renovate Communication Design, LLC

The first TED events were annual conferences in Long Beach, California, and in the UK. Since then, the vision of TED has expanded. You’ll now find smaller TED events in cities all over the world and many of the talks are archived on the TED website.

So who speaks at TED conferences? People who are doing interesting things in technology, entertainment, and design, of course, but also people in government, education, business, and the non-profit sector. Speakers have included well-recognized folks like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, chef Jamie Oliver, anthropologist Jane Goodall, and Al Gore. You’ll also find inspiring, insightful, and entertaining talks by people you’ve never heard of.

The talks range in length from as short as three minutes to about eighteen minutes and the site has a clever filter feature that let’s you find talks by length, topic, popularity, or rating. If you’re looking for some quick inspiration, you can find it on the TED site.

Just like SlideShare, you can create a free account on TED and save your favorite talks and add comments below the talks.

To get you started, here are three talks in my list of favorites:

You’ll find more of my favorites here.

Visit TED today and find yourself some speaking inspiration.

What the Secret of Life and Your Presentation Have in Common

In the movie City Slickers, the gruff, leathery cowboy Curly (Jack Palance) reveals to world-weary sales executive Mitch (Billy Crystal) that the secret of life is one thing. When Mitch wonders, “What’s the one thing?,” Curly slyly responds, “That’s what you’ve gotta figure out.”

Your presentations work the same way.

Every presentation should be about one thing.

Every supporting point, every slide, every gesture you make should support that one thing.

Why? Your audience will remember only one thing. The more focused you make your message, the more likely it will be memorable. You might build your message so that it has three or five or ten parts, but each part should point back to the main topic.

In the workshop I taught last week for college faculty, for example, my one thing was “the design of your presentation matters.” To support that goal, I offered seven points to help attendees create better presentations.

Here’s another example. In this TED Talk, Matt Cutts explains how he changed his life by doing one thing differently for 30 days. His point? I did it, it worked, you can do it.

To make your message memorable, keep in mind Curly’s secret of life: it’s about one thing.