Beyond 10-20-30

December 9, 2011

I like the spirit of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at this short entertaining video.

He is basically saying: don’t overload your audience; keep it simple; and use text that’s big enough to be legible by the whole audience. Amen to all that.

However, many people take Guy’s advice out of context and apply it to the letter. Yet Guy was giving advice to entrepreneurs pitching to venture capitalists – a very specific presentation context. He was saying that you should aim to pitch in 20 minutes, with ten slides – and not just any ten slides, but these ten slides (he lists what should be on each slide).

Now for an investor pitch, that’s pretty good advice, although it can be taken to extremes, and I’ve already talked about how you need to go beyond being informative, and also make sure your pitch is memorable.

But the 10-20-30 advice just doesn’t hold up for any other kind of presentation. The spirit is spot-on, and I applaud Guy’s intentions, but you shouldn’t take his advice to the letter – Guy certainly doesn’t follow it religiously in his recent (very good) Enchantment presentations. Here’s why we need to go beyond 10-20-30.

Read the rest of this entry »

Presentation Flow: Link Or Break

November 23, 2011

I am often asked about the flow of ideas in a presentation, and indeed it can be very hard to follow a presentation where the speaker moves from one idea to another without any transition, like a scatter-brained mother-in-law.

It is vital to ensure your presentation has a natural flow. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be completely linked, as if it were all one chain of ideas. But you should not just jump around without making that clear. Your audience shouldn’t have to play catch-up to work out what you’re talking about.

My advice is to use one of two simple devices between items. (You could interpret this as being ‘between slides’ although I prefer to talk about the parts of your presentation, because you might not be using slides at all, or perhaps not all the time.)

This is simply ‘Link or Break’.

1. Link.

This means that you need to link the new idea to the previous one. You can do this in a number of ways. You could use the list approach, as used by Steve Jobs when launching the iPhone 4. He said he would talk about 8 different features of his new phone, and then proceeded to go through them all from #1 to #8. That provides an obvious link and structure to the eight points.

You could use an acronym, and then go through the different letters – for example, at Ideas on Stage we talk about IMPACT in slide design: Image, Message, Positioning, Animation, Colour and Typography. This is another kind of list approach.

Alternatively, you can have each idea build on the previous one, as you develop your arguments. Sometimes it is useful to make this very clear: “So now we’ve seen that there’s a clear market for a new kind of widget, let’s take a look at our new iWidget.” Never assume that the flow is as obvious for your audience as it is for you. That link sentence can be all-important.

2. Break.

Sometimes, however, you’ll need to move from one point to something completely different, and there isn’t any obvious link even to you. Once again, the late Steve Jobs was a master of this.

One of his undercelebrated skills was turning the page in his presentations. He knew that it isn’t enough just to start talking about a new topic: first you have to close the previous topic properly so the audience is satisfied and ready for something new. His method was simple:

a) A one-line conclusion

b) A pause

For example, in his iPhone 4 launch in 2010, he first talked about the first three months of the iPad, with sales figures etc. Before moving on to the next part (iOS 4), he closed the chapter with a line something like:

“So that is my update for the iPad.”

His subsequent pause gave the audience time to applaud. They won’t always do that for you, but at least it will give them time to close the chapter on that part of your talk, and prepare for what you’re going to say next.

You can see the video here (this part is at around 10:20).

I personally hate watching US TV because most of the time there is no clear break before the commercials kick in, and I find myself thinking “is this part of the show?” whereas in France and the UK, there is always a clear pause with the channel’s logo and a statement that the commercials are about to begin.

Likewise, your audience will appreciate that clean break. Close the box on the last point with a simple concluding statement, pause, and then begin the next topic.


With these two simple techniques of ‘link or break’, you should ensure your presentation flows naturally, and your structure helps your audience to enjoy and appreciate your messages, and hopefully ‘get’ them, instead of leaving them perplexed and wondering what you’re talking about.

One more thing…

If you are always very clear about your links, then it will have a very strong impact when you suddenly show or say something completely unexpected.

You can use this to your advantage by showing something surprising or provocative, making people wonder why, making them listen attentively to find out why, and then explaining why it is linked.

This is a great way to get people’s attention levels up again when they might have been starting to wane. But it is only when your audience fully expects your ideas to be properly linked that you can have a positive impact with this kind of device.

Make your ideas flow properly with good links, making clean breaks when necessary, and your messages will have more impact – and your audience will thank you.

How To Disappoint An Audience – by Apple

October 5, 2011

Every battle is won before it is fought.

So said Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese warlord-philosopher and strategist, and Apple proved him right again yesterday.

In Tim Cook’s first public outing as CEO, Apple’s fans were led to expect the much-trumpeted iPhone 5, and they were disappointed. Instead, Apple announced a new iPhone 4S, which has many cool features and is much more powerful than the original iPhone 4, but it looks the same and it’s not a 5.

The immediate reaction was one of disappointment among fans and commentators. A poll showed 81% of respondents were disappointed. The AAPL share price dropped, at one point by up to 5%, although it later recovered, but the market was hit, and a Business Insider article was entitled “Apple’s Disappointing iPhone Kills The Entire Market Comeback”. Jay Yarow said “People were right to feel let down! They didn’t get what they expected.”

Steve Jobs is a hard act to follow by any measure, and all eyes were on Tim Cook’s performance on stage to see if he could match the master. But if his performance was competent enough, the event still disappointed, because expectations had been raised and the event had been hyped, and the substance of the message failed to match the expectation. The BBC reported that “you could sense a great wave of disappointment rolling through the Apple community”.

Now I can hear you saying that Apple never announced that they would release anything called an iPhone 5, not yesterday, not ever. True. But the media speculation was so high in recent weeks that it was almost a fait accompli, and everyone was talking about the event as “the iPhone 5 launch”. TechCrunch announced a very certain “We know the iPhone 5 is being debuted soon.” LoopInsight announced the event as “the iPhone 5 event”. And there had already been plenty of leaks about the new teardrop design of the iPhone 5 which had originally been expected in June, and so they couldn’t possibly delay it any later than October, could they?

So were the media completely wrong to lead people to believe this was going to be the big day? Perhaps. But Apple were wrong to allow it.

I’ve already blogged about how it’s important to raise expectations to a level that’s high enough to make people interested, but not so high that you can’t then meet or exceed them. Apple just got this the wrong way round. To put it crudely, people were expecting a cool new iPhone 5. They got Cards.

That news sites and influential blogs gave people false expectations is certainly Apple’s problem, because what could have been a great event with some cool announcements turned into an event which disappointed people because of what it didn’t say, so it does affect Apple’s image – even if they will still sell shedloads of phones.

It was like going to see Jurassic Park 8 and leaving the cinema disappointed because there was only one small and docile dinosaur. If that’s what you’re expecting, it doesn’t matter how great the cinematography or acting are.

So since the resulting disappointment was Apple’s problem, it should have been Apple’s responsibility to influence expectations beforehand. That’s what PR is there for.

What, then, could Apple have done before the event to set expectations to a level that was high but achievable? Plenty. Here are some ideas.

  1. The event name and invitation. Having detected that people were expecting something unrealistic, they could have set clear expectations in the invitation or even the event name. If the invitation had mentioned something like “You remember the leap forward between the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS? That’s nothing compared to what we’ll be announcing on October 4th” then people would still have expected a lot, but they’d have probably expected an updated 4 series and not a 5. And if a few journalists had received that, they’d have picked up on it and relayed it, and started speculating along the right lines. Instead, on receiving the press release, sites like LoopInsight immediately called it “the iPhone 5 launch”.
  2. A strategic leak. Apple should have realised that the battle was going to be lost unless they reset expectations, so a strategic leak to an influential blog or journalist might have been enough to achieve that. “We’re not calling it an iPhone 5, but it’s still a big step-change from the iPhone 4” might have been enough. Or “The outside is the same as the iPhone 4, but what’s inside is completely new.” Would that steal some of Cook’s thunder (or Schiller’s, as it happens)? Perhaps. But it raises the question “so what’s new inside, in terms of hardware and software, and what will it do for me?” – and that’s the right kind of question for people to speculate about before the event.
  3. A teaser. Imagine a video on the Apple web site, building up to the brand-new phone, and then unveiling what looks like the iPhone 4. Then someone saying “Hold on, that’s just an iPhone 4!” And the answer could come: “It only looks like an iPhone 4. Find out what’s inside on Oct 4.” And then perhaps the new phone’s screen could open one eye invitingly. The slogan “It only looks like an iPhone 4” takes something that people will say anyway, and adds the important word “only” which then raises expectations about what’s inside.

Frankly, there are all sorts of things Apple could have done. Yes, it is in a ‘quiet period’, but if it can make such a major product announcement during a quiet period, it can also set expectations properly. Its failure to do so has rebounded on it, and has caused the first perceived failure of Tim Cook’s tenure.

It just goes to show that it’s not always the delivery that lets a presentation down: it’s often mis-setting or misunderstanding the audience’s expectations. And with all it could have done to set expectations right, Apple can’t go blaming the media. Worse, when you willingly allow so many journalists to bark up the wrong tree, they end up getting angry at being made to look like fools, and they could decide to turn on Apple, which is no longer the cool underdog that inspired cult status, and which could end up portrayed as the next big corporate villain surprisingly quickly if they are not careful.

It’s a pity, because the iPhone 4S seems pretty cool, and deserves to be judged on what it is, not criticised for what it is not. And giving away the iPhone 3GS is a market-shaking announcement. If only they’d ensured expectations were set right, perhaps people would be talking about a successful debut for Cook, not a disappointment.

Every battle is won before it is fought. Tim Cook didn’t lose this one through his performance on the stage. Basically his PR people led him into an ambush even Jobs wouldn’t have escaped unhurt.

One more thing…

Apple’s product launches are quite long. This one had a lot of padding. The more stuff you announce at the same time, the lower the overall impact. If Jobs got one thing wrong in his most recent launches, this was it. One hour is enough, half an hour is better. Apple has absolutely no business giving air-time at an iPhone launch to an underwhelming app like Cards, or a few new skins for an iPod Nano. They can launch those with one of their regular emails.

BBC News Online’s Rory Cellan-Jones called it “an extremely long and ponderous event“. And many of Jobs’ events fell into that same trap.

When he launched the iPad2, he had three key messages. It’s lighter, it’s thinner, and it’s faster. That was all it needed – but it went on a long time. If Apple’s agenda yesterday had been to get three key messages across, it would have been these:

  • Here’s a fantastic new iPhone 4S with Siri and iOS5
  • We’re giving the iPhone 3GS away for free
  • iCloud is launching next week (I was wondering when it would finally launch, so it’s good to mention it)

And quite frankly, they should not have felt the need to add any more subjects to the agenda. I’d allow them a brief intro (a brief one) talking about some of their recent successes. But that’s all.

Lessons for presenters

  1. Delivery isn’t everything. Yes, it’s important, but your message is just as important as the way you deliver it.
  2. Understand your audience and their expectations.
  3. Set (or reset) expectations to a level where you can meet or exceed them. If you can’t or won’t do that, it will become your problem, so make it your responsibility.
  4. Choose 1-3 key messages and work to communicate them memorably. Cut out anything that doesn’t help deliver those key messages.
  5. Be brief, as FDR would have said.

Two Reasons I Rarely Recommend Prezi

August 30, 2011

There has been a lot of talk in the last year about Prezi, a new slideware application which is an alternative to the established Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote.

Prezi is different in that it gives you one big canvas, and allows you to zoom in and out, and pan around, while still including photos and videos. The developers talk about the many uses of non-linear presentations, and the limitations of slide-based competitors.

Now I’m all for innovation, and Prezi is a fine idea which is quite well-executed. You can criticize it for the limited built-in fonts or various other technical points, but in general, what it sets out to do, it does well.

Sadly, when it comes to live presentations, I am not a fan of what it sets out to do.

For me, the visuals you use when presenting need to do three things. They are there to help you to communicate your message:

a) more effectively

b) more interestingly

c) more memorably

You could well argue that a cool and eye-catching show on the wall will be more interesting than a set of bullet points, and you’d be right. It’s possible that you could use Prezi to produce visual effects which are especially memorable.

The trouble is that you don’t really want people to remember your visual effects. You want them to remember your messages, and the visuals are merely hooks on which they can hang those memories. When the hook gets more attention than the message, you have the beginnings of a problem. It’s not because an all-zooming, all-twisting, all-panning Prezi visual is more interesting than a set of bullets that it is the right solution. A blank wall is better for communication than a set of bullets too.

I always say that visuals should be simple and clear. They should help the audience to better understand the message the speaker is trying to communicate. They should also take as little of the audience’s attention as possible, and only when necessary. Most of the audience’s attention should be on the speaker, and where nothing needs to be projected to enhance the spoken message, that’s exactly what should be projected: nothing.

And this is for me the main difficulty with Prezi, as well as with highly-animated slides created with other slideware apps. The main challenge of the Presentation 2.0 revolution is not to banish bullet points to the dustbin of history: it is to reestablish the connection between the speaker and the audience, while using the best modern techniques to enhance that communication.

I contend that using Prezi – in most cases – will in fact make this worse, not better. There are two key ways this happens.

  1. While preparing a presentation, I ask presenters to focus as much as possible on their audience, to ensure they gauge the audience’s needs and expectations right, target their messages properly, use appropriate language, and ensure their audience will be able to receive and understand the presenter’s key messages. While the big problem with some slideware apps is that it is too easy to produce bad slides, the problem with Prezi is that to make it all look exactly right and design a fantastic-looking visual treat, it takes a very long time. I have seen this happen. The result is that the presenter is focusing too much on the visuals, and not enough on the audience. This can lead to beautiful visuals, but a failure to communicate effectively. That is one way in which the use of Prezi breaks the link between the presenter and the audience.
  2. During the presentation, it is important for the audience to focus as much as possible on the speaker. This way, the speaker can create a connection with the audience, and convey meaning through the exchange with the audience, through their body language and through their passion. If the audience spends all its time looking at the projector screen, rarely looking at the speaker, that connection is lost, and the speaker might as well not be on the stage at all, and instead just record a voice-over. I’ve seen some fantastic Prezi visuals. But they are just so eye-catching, particularly with all that movement, that they become the star. I believe that is counter-productive unless your sole objective is to impress the audience with your ability to create stunning visuals. (And enough people have now seen enough Prezi shows for the novelty to have worn off.)

So there are the two reasons I don’t recommend Prezi: it stops the presenter from focusing on the audience before the presentation, and stops the audience from focusing on the presenter during the presentation. It therefore goes against everything I teach.

There are good examples of the use of Prezi. TED’s Chris Anderson gave a fine talk with Prezi – but because he toned down all the animation, in a laudable attempt to avoid having the audience look only at the slides, there was nothing there which couldn’t have been done equally effectively with Keynote or PowerPoint. In fact, in all the really good Prezi-backed presentations I’ve viewed (and I’ve viewed many), the other tools could have been just as effective.

So there’s the irony. Prezi is a great tool for producing stunning swirling visuals which don’t help communication; whereas if you choose to use it in a way which doesn’t stop communication, you might just as well use Keynote or PowerPoint instead. The one situation where I think Prezi is simply brilliant is for producing videos with a voice-over. That’s where you want the audience to focus on the visuals. It’s not what you want in a live presentation.

I’ll leave the last word to Guy Kawasaki: “If you need animation to make your presentation interesting, you must suck.” The answer is not animating more – it is sucking less.

In other words, the answer is not a cooler tool like Prezi – it is learning to communicate effectively with your audience. Focus less on your visuals and more on your audience, and you’ll be on the right track.

When you think Presentation Zen isn’t appropriate, that’s when you need it most

August 4, 2011

I meet many people who have read and enjoyed Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds’ masterpiece which tears up the received wisdom of presentations, and offers a completely different approach. Most accept that it has improved their presentation style significantly.

However, even these PZ disciples often tell me that they think Garr’s approach isn’t practical for certain types of presentations. It’s fine, they say, for a TED talk or a sales pitch, but you can’t use a Presentation Zen for a detailed technical explanation of how to run a particular widget.

I disagree. But I see where they are coming from. Many PZ readers get the impression that a ‘zenified’ presentation is one which features slides with lots of beautiful photos and very little text. The attractive design and plentiful visual examples in the book naturally have something to do with this.

But Presentation Zen is not a style: it is an approach. It is a different way of thinking about presentations, which does not prescribe the use of quality stock photos, although they may often feature in a resulting slide-deck. The end-result of using the Presentation Zen approach is an interesting, relevant and memorable presentation – not just some pretty slides.

Here are three situations where people say Presentation Zen isn’t appropriate.

1. A boring subject. You are required to present a study of 19th-century economic theories and their impact on the Crimean War to a group of 16-year-olds. They are fully expecting to be bored stiff and have no interest at all in the subject, you know this, and you’re all going to be very relieved when it’s over, after which they will remember precisely nothing because they weren’t listening. How can you possibly use the Presentation Zen approach for something so boring?

The answer is that if the subject is worth presenting, it is worth presenting in an interesting way. It is worth thinking about your audience and finding a way to make it relevant to them, to make them want to listen, and to help them to learn. In fact, it is the most boring subjects which can benefit the most from the Presentation Zen approach.

I recently heard an example of a bailiff who needed to make a presentation to other bailiffs about the rate of repossessions. Boring job, boring people, boring subject, boring presentation, right? Wrong. This bailiff used the Presentation Zen approach to craft an interesting and engaging talk, with a few clear and simple graphs and a little humour, which the audience loved.

The bottom line is that people don’t like to be bored, and if they are used to being bored, or are expecting to be bored, then it’s all the more important to find a way to make your talk interesting to them. This in fact is where Presentation Zen can be of greatest value.

2. A technical presentation. Imagine you need to use a presentation to explain how to use a particular piece of software.  There’s no chance at all of using Presentation Zen here, right?

Wrong. Once again, Presentation Zen is not a style. With the Presentation Zen approach, you will shut down your computer, consider your key messages and the success criteria for your talk, and think creatively about the best ways to help your audience to internalize those key messages. While the end-result may not include stock photos with a few words, it should be an interesting and engaging way of getting your messages across, with or without visuals, and in any case it’s unlikely to feature too many bullet points.

Many years ago I was a trainer for an IT infrastructure course we gave to all IT new-hires in a major corporation. This covered a lot of technical detail in many different areas, and it was in need of a new approach. I reinvented the course using a storyline – where participants had to imagine themselves starting a tiny company with nothing more than a phone, and building up additional bricks of infrastructure as the business grew until they had their own centralized data center and wide-area network.

This new structure helped participants to stay engaged, and to realize not just what each piece does, but why it is needed and how it fits with all the other pieces. I also introduced a large number of exercises to break up the flow, keep people involved, and help them to learn by doing, not just by listening.

This was before the time of Presentation Zen, but the approach is just the same. Find a relevant and ideally enjoyable way for the audience to learn. Think creatively, use the power of storytelling, and make the key messages memorable.

Coming back to the software explanation example, you might use screen captures, or videos, or a live demo, or you might get the audience to learn hands-on with their own computers. Any of those would be more effective than throwing out dozens of bullet points over a two-hour monologue and hoping some of it sticks.

3. A review of business results. Quarterly or annual results – absolutely no chance of pretty stock photos here, right? Correct – but that doesn’t stop  you using the Presentation Zen approach.

A customer approached my company Ideas on Stage asking for our help with his procurement department’s annual all-employee review, where he had to present the year’s results and the plans for the year ahead to 250 people. He gave us 108 highly detailed graphs as a starting point – most years, these would have been the slides. There is a lot to measure in procurement, especially in such a big group.

We helped him to simplify his messages, showing only the information which supported his main points, and we produced a deck of about 35 slides, all of which were simple, clear and attractive, often with simple graphs showing only the relevant information and making the key message stand out, and without a single stock photo. We then helped him to rehearse delivering those key messages with passion and belief. It was a resounding success. The Presentation Zen approach works very well for results presentations.

There are two simple conclusions.

  1. Presentation Zen is about more than just pretty slides, and Garr’s approach could lead you to deliver a presentation with no slides at all.
  2. It’s at those times when you may think this approach is least appropriate that, on the contrary, it can make the most difference.

If you haven’t yet read Presentation Zen, I strongly recommend it. If you have, I recommend re-reading it. Over time, we tend to forget much of what we read, and remember only a key takeaway or two. The two obvious takeaways from Presentation Zen are “don’t use slideuments” and “use simple slides with photos”, and sadly that’s all many people remember. Yet there is far more to it than that, and it is one of those rare books which thoroughly deserve to be revisited regularly.

Presentation 2.0: Resonate Naked

June 29, 2011

As I prepare to launch a new Ideas on Stage training course entitled Presentation 2.0, I feel compelled to write about two recent books which have captured the spirit of what we mean with Presentation 2.0, and which I would advise any presenter to read more than once.

Presentation 2.0 – the new art of presenting – is about engaging with your audience, telling authentic stories, and sharing passion and motivation with more concern for your audience than for yourself. In a Presentation 2.0, you are presenting not because you are important, but because your audience is important, so your focus is on them.

In a Presentation 2.0, you might choose to use visual aids to get your message across more memorably, but you will keep your slides simple and clear, and you will ensure that they are there only to help your audience to understand and remember your messages, not to help you to remember what you need to say.

In a Presentation 2.0, you will care more about what your audience will do with your message afterwards than what they think about you as a presenter.

For all these reasons, Presentation 2.0 is a far more effective and enjoyable way to communicate than the 1.0 style of reading bullet-ridden slideuments to bored audiences, or even the more advanced 1.1 style, promoted by slide-oriented sites like SlideShare, where you use pretty slides but still divert too much of the audience’s attention onto the slides and away from the two-way communication you should be having between presenter and audience. Death By Pretty Powerpoint is just sharpening the axe – it still falls and it still kills.

Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds ponder each other's first book

Now, before I talk about these two books, let me first provide a disclaimer. I didn’t pay for either of these – I received copies directly from the authors. The presentation business is still a fairly small world, people quote each other and write forewords for each other’s books, and that’s remarkably refreshing since we’re all working together with a common aim. While I’ve not yet met Nancy Duarte (an omission I’ll soon be correcting), I’ve shared a stage with Garr Reynolds and organize seminars with him, and – further disclaimer – he even did me the honour of including one of my articles in The Naked Presenter.

So I’m not exactly impartial here. But I’m not being paid to write a review, and if either author was hoping for one, I’ve likely disappointed them by delaying it for eight months.

Nancy Duarte wrote resonate as a prequel to her best-seller slide:ology. This fact alone is telling.

After many years as a leading presentation specialist, Nancy realised that before you can spend time making attractive and effective slides, you first have to structure your presentation properly, with clear objectives, simple messages, and a powerful scenario which draws on millennia of storytelling experience from Aristotle to Hollywood. And before you can do that, you have to focus on your audience.

Only when you know your audience and you have a story to match can you expect your ideas to resonate with them – and if your ideas resonate, then the audience will take them away and make them resonate far and wide.

resonate is therefore the book to read before slide:ology, and indeed, if it is the only presentation book you ever read, it will be a good choice because it tells you so much about storytelling, with many examples from Martin Luther King Jr to Star Wars, and if you can get your storytelling right and tailor it to your audience’s needs, you have the makings of a fine presentation.

The Naked Presenter follows on from Garr Reynolds’ previous two best-sellers, Presentation Zen and Presentation Zen Design. Where the first was about realising the received wisdom about presenting was all wrong, and offering a fresh, simple approach, and the second was about designing simple and attractive slides, The Naked Presenter focuses on how to deliver your presentation authentically and memorably.

Naked, in this sense, is figurative: it is about being yourself, being authentic, and making a connection with your audience. It is about presenting for them, not for you. It is about communicating, not putting on a show.

The “Naked Book”, as Garr calls it, is in fact a fantastic one-stop-shop for presentation skills, because it also covers how to structure your presentation, and how to approach your slides. So again, if this is the only presentation book you ever read, it’s a good choice.

Both books are beautifully designed and easy to read, in bite-size chunks. Personally, I would recommend reading The Naked Presenter first, then reading it again, and then getting into resonate. This is because Garr’s book will give you a strong foundation in all aspects of the Presentation 2.0 approach (storytelling, effective visuals and delivery), and Nancy’s book will then give you expert knowledge about how to choose your objectives and craft an effective story.

You can then of course go into detail on slide design with slide:ology or Presentation Zen Design, both of which I refer back to regularly. But don’t put the cart before the horse: learn what makes a presentation work, and then learn how to illustrate it. There are few if any skills you can learn which you will have as many opportunities to use as presenting effectively, and even fewer which will better help you to advance your career.

The evolution of Presentation 2.0 is clear if you contrast Nancy’s and Garr’s latest books with their previous ones. Previously, it seemed that the main battle to be fought was against bad slides, and both authors created powerful ammunition to beat the legions of slideuments and their endless flow of bullets. That battle is not yet won, but the tide is turning.

Yet now it is clear that fixing your slides isn’t good enough. Films don’t win awards only with brilliant supporting roles: they need to have top-class lead actors, and very strong storylines which truly engage the target audience. Slides are just a support, no more. You need to make your ideas resonate, and you need to engage properly with your audience. Only then can your finely manicured slides be effective.

That’s why resonate and The Naked Presenter mark the beginning of a new era in presenting, an era where the audience is paramount; where presentations put ideas on stage, not mere information; where those ideas are crafted and delivered so they resonate with audiences; and where presenters engage their audiences in a naked, authentic way.

This is the Presentation 2.0 era. This is where we can all resonate naked. And our audiences will most definitely thank us for it.

DSK: How emotions beat logic every time

June 1, 2011

Soon after Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), then head of the IMF, was arrested in New York on sexual assault charges, a poll found that 57% of French respondents felt that he had probably or certainly been set up. In other words, they did not want to believe that he had committed those crimes, and they preferred to believe that one of his many enemies had somehow fabricated the incident to take him out of the picture.

Whatever the truth, it’s an amazing story with many open questions, and so much we do not know, yet many people already believe they know whether the allegations are true or not. Only 11% of respondents in that poll stated they did not have an opinion.

What’s this doing on a presentation blog? There are two important lessons in here for storytellers and presenters. Read the rest of this entry »

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