Top 10 of 2011

December 20, 2011

As 2012 approaches, and many of us wind down for a relaxing break for Christmas and New Year, it’s time to take a look back at 2011 and what marked it most.

So just as I shared my Top 10 of 2010 last year, here is a rundown of the Top 10 Phil Presents posts of 2011. Whether you read them at the time or missed them, this is a chance to recap the most popular articles of the year (not including event reviews etc).

And let me say a warm thankyou to you, because it is the growing popularity of this blog and the many fine comments you make that keep me writing, sharing, and doing my bit to help change the world, one presentation at a time. Just as a presenter is on stage not because he or she is important but because their audience is important, I don’t write this blog because I am in some way great or important. I write it because you are important. You matter. You can change the world. My role is merely to help you do that in some small way.

So best wishes for a successful 2012, thanks for reading and listening, and enjoy the recap of the most popular posts of 2011.

10. DSK: How emotions beat logic every time

Written before Dominique Strauss-Kahn‘s New York trial was dropped, this took two key presentation lessons from the DSK-Diallo case and the public reaction in France.

9. Adapt To Your Audience

A presenter who takes the time to understand his or her audience, and tailors their presentation accordingly, is worth their weight in gold.

8. Do Investors Like Slideuments?

One of many pitch-related posts this year, this asked the question whether information-laden slideuments are appropriate in an investor pitch. (Clue: they’re not.)

7. Animate Your Audience – Not Your Slides

A follow-up to the year’s #1 post, this one talked about how animation on the screen is bad unless it helps to deliver your message more effectively; but on the contrary, animating your audience is absolutely critical for the success of any presentation.

6. Keep it simple…

As experts in our subjects, we tend to present with far too much complexity. Keep it simple, and your audience will understand far more.

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

The post that debunks the myth that you can’t use Garr Reynolds’ approach in certain situations like technical presentations.

4. Video: Introduction to Presentation Skills

This post features a 90-minute video of yours truly, giving a presentation skills talk to entrepreneurs at Le Camping in Paris. If you have 90 minutes to learn about what it takes to give a great presentation, sit back and enjoy.

3. First Impressions Last

All about the vital importance of your introduction.

2. Perfecting Your Pitch

Another pitch-related post, and this is about putting the finishing touches to your pitch, and turning it from a good pitch into a great memorable pitch.

1. Two Reasons I Don’t Recommend Prezi

The most-viewed and most-commented post of the year was this one, about how I believe Prezi stops the presenter focusing on the audience before the presentation, and stops the audience focusing on the presenter during the presentation. I believe Prezi is a fine tool for certain niche uses, but in most cases, it is solving the wrong problem, and making an existing problem worse.

And a few bonus posts…

Here are a few other posts which didn’t make the Top 10 in terms of hits, but which I believe deserve another look. Some were from the start of the year (when the blog was not as widely read as it is now), and others were very recent and didn’t yet have time to accumulate enough hits.

Take The Drive-By Test

Treat your slide as if it were a road sign, and make it simple, clear and quick to understand. It’s a simple but powerful test. And this short post from early January also features a hilarious video which is well worth watching.

Show And Feel

About the importance of mirror neurons – this is vital information every presenter should know.

Pitch 2.0 (Video)

A video of my 8-minute presentation at Le Camping Festival in June 2011, in the style of Steve Jobs. Six months later, people still tell me they remember ‘Magic, Vision & Passion’!

Presentation 2.0: Resonate Naked

This was my joint review of Resonate and The Naked Presenter, two fantastic books about structuring and delivering great presentations. For me, these two books usher in the era of what I call Presentation 2.0.

So which of these was your favourite post of 2011?

Top Posts of 2010

December 20, 2010

It’s been my first full year of blogging, and I’m pleased to note that readership has been steadily increasing, so clearly some people appreciate my mix of tips, thoughts and the odd rant about presentation skills.

Now that 2010 is almost over, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you all for making it worthwhile: thanks for the comments, the retweets, the encouragements and the ideas, and thanks just for reading. If I’m able to make even a tiny difference to your own presentation and communication skills and the way you share your messages with other people, then I’m doing good and feeling good about it.

Since most of you have joined my merry band in the second half of 2010, you may have missed some past posts. So here is my Top 10 of 2010, rated only by hits, and excluding the few posts about events which are unlikely to be so relevant any more.

Top 10 of 2010

  1. One Slide To Rule Them All – my Tolkien-meets-tech presentation parody was a clear winner. Which shows the power of a good story!
  2. Handouts 101 – a guide to handouts, an often-overlooked but vital subject for any presenter
  3. Presenting Naked – my thoughts on being authentic in your delivery, putting down your weapons and removing barriers, and connecting deeply with your audience. I was honoured when Garr Reynolds included an abridged version of this post in his brilliant new book The Naked Presenter!
  4. The World’s Best Slide – this is where I shared the slide you should consider including in every presentation you make, perhaps more than once…
  5. The World’s Best WHAT Contest? – my rant at SlideShare’s ‘World’s Best Presentation’ contest which perpetuates the meme that a deck of slides is a presentation instead of just a support. Great discussion here including some of the top entrants in the competition.
  6. Steve Jobs launches iPhone 4 – my review of the big Apple event, with important lessons and even one or two improvement areas
  7. The Magical Missing Ingredient – all about putting yourself into your presentation, with a great TEDx example from Scott Stratten
  8. Presentation Pitfalls #4 – Banish Bad Slides – PowerPoint isn’t the enemy, but slideware apps have killed presentations by making bad slides too easy to create
  9. The Investor Pitch – Set The Right Objectives – before you can create a great pitch, you have to work out what you aim to achieve…
  10. Don’t push – make them pull – one of my favourite posts, on why communication works better when the audience actively pulls it

There are some others which you may well have missed, perhaps because by the time you discovered Phil Presents they were deep in the archives, and hence they never made it to the hit parade. So here are five of my favourite posts which I felt deserve some more airplay:

  1. Context is King – you need to step into your audience’s shows, work out what they know, and use that to teach them something new
  2. Slide Abuse, and other dependencies – how we have become dependent on technology, and need to break the habit – especially when presenting
  3. The Four Aims of Presentation – short, simple but very powerful – get these right and you’ll be a better presenter
  4. Go Out With A Clap – about the importance of a strong conclusion, and why it’s vital that the audience knows when to clap
  5. Speaking Internationally – the challenge of speaking to audiences from different cultures

I hope you’ve enjoyed going through all this, and I look forward to communicating with you again in 2011. Let me know if you have ideas for some articles…



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