I just read a fascinating article I think has far-reaching implications for presentation professionals. It’s put out by Educause, a large educational organization. The article name is “Is It Age or IT”.
The article’s intent is to summarize numerous studies about how technology is changing the way we learn and communicate. Findings particularly relevant to presenters…
1) are becoming fluent visual communicators–they expect visuals to be a normal part of their communication and learning experience
2) crave interactivity, both with instructors and with peers–and they become bored easily without it
3) have attention spans that can jump quickly between multiple simultaneous tasks
4) operate seamlessly between physical and virtual reality–a virtual experience can be just as meaningful and influential as an actual physical event
5) prefer discovery over being told–in other words they want to learn by doing rather than listening to a lecture
The implications for presenters are obvious: if we keep designing and delivering linear, bullet-ridden, text-based slide shows, we are completely missing the mark with what a growing number of audience members are experiencing in their daily lives. If we want to persuade and otherwise reach into their minds, we better start making our presentations more meaningfully visual, interactive, and hands-on.
Posted by Robert Lane at 9:37 PM .
3 Comments »
Presentation Facts is a work in progress. It is an ongoing search for empirical evidence of effectiveness in various presentation related arenas. As I have read through studies on the persuasive effect of various types of visual support, an interesting pattern seems to be emerging relative to the use of animations in computer graphic presentations.
Vogel’s study on the impact of presentation visuals on persuasion (1998) did not really provide conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of animations. Some improvements in comprehension and perception of the presenter were noted, but these did not translate into a significant improvement in persuasive effect. The quality of the graphics and the way animations were used in the study could have contributed to their lack lustre performance.
This article adds some interesting information from a 1991 study to our emerging understanding of animation effectiveness.
Professor Wesley King, Jr. is the Chair of the Management/Marketing Department at the University of Dayton. He teaches organizational behavior and theory at both the graduate and undergraduate level. In 1991, King along with Marie Dent and Edward Miles published the results of a study entitled: The Persuasive Effect of Graphics in Computer-Mediated Communication. The study results were published in Volume 7 of Computers in Human Behavior. The purpose of this study was to investigate how presentation graphics might influence a group or individual to accept an action or point of view. Interestingly, King and his colleagues compared both static visuals along with what they called dynamic (moving) graphics. While we are interested in all of the results of this study, it is the comparison of static to dynamic graphics that is most important to our understanding of the effectiveness of animations. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Robert Befus at 10:04 PM .
5 Comments »
A few of you have expressed some lingering doubt about my qualifications as Professor PowerPoint. Now it is official — my new educational template has been published on the Microsoft Assistance web site with my by-line — it is a seating chart for teachers to use in the classroom. So far there have been more than 4000 downloads — go figure. (Another one on long division is not far behind.)
Posted by Tom Bunzel at 4:33 PM .
Jeri Taylor from San Mateo, California, takes pride in her profession.
Posted by Robert L. Lindstrom at 2:34 PM .
3 Comments »
This morning, Lee Potts (our Honorable Chief Visual Being), and I were both chatting via the swank new Speaker Ready chat room. And checking our email. And listening to the NPR stream from Chicago (I live in Pittsburgh). And looking out the window at a stellar Fall day. And thinking I should hurry up and take a shower before my wife gets home from dropping the kiddo off at school.
There was a time in my life when I lived in Eastern Europe in the early ’90s; I had no phone, no fax, no doorbell, no email and sometimes no electricity. My friends and I had to walk across town to see if the other was home. Or, more often or not, we’d troll the bars to find each other. Sometimes, we’d leave notes on tiny rolled up pieces of paper and put them in hiding places for the other to find days or weeks later. News traveled via word of mouth. And, thankfully, I did a lot of walking and thinking in solitude.
Of course, all of society was operating in the same modality, so these patterns of communication were no more, or no less effective than the general population.
So in a society of hyperconnectivity, in which the accepted patterns are tenfold as frenetic, what should we do? Drop out or amp it up?
A fascinating panel discussion took place during this year’s SuperNova conference on that very topic. Successful entrepreneurs and talented corporate managers debated those patterns of the Interruption Society and technology’s culpability.
They also discussed sane patterns of media filtration that we can blend into the present patterns of multitasking. Some examples include email-free Fridays and meetings with tiered levels of attention (ex. eavesdropping while working, back-channel chatrooms during presentations, and full on media-free engagement).
Listen to the full panel discussion at IT Conversations:
In a world where information overload is common, attention is a very scarce resource and there is an increasing need to manage it efficiently. In this panel discussion, Steve Gillmor, Glenn Reid, Doreé Duncan Seligmann, David Sifry and Linda Stone talk about the problem of coping with more information than one can handle and the possible solutions.
In a connected world it is becoming very difficult to filter out the information that really needs our attention from that which is irrelevant to us. The panel discusses the work that they are currently involved in and tries to come up with answers to the problem of overwhelming information, only some of which deserves our attention. They talk about the tools, practices and new technology being developed to effectively use data which matters to the end user.
As creators of (and vehicles for) content-packed presentations, we need to understand the context in which the content will be shown. Will it be a typical “sit-n-get” PowerPoint conference? Will there be wireless in the room–an option that has now become ubiquitous? Will there be structured dialog either on-line or via live facilitator? Will there be a need to house content generated spontaneously in a form that is accessible to a larger community?
And most important: Is anyone paying attention?
Posted by Peter Durand at 9:48 AM .
It is day five here in beautiful San Diego. The 3rd annual PPT Live! Conference has now ended. By far, this year’s conference was the best one yet. Kudos to Rick Altman, his staff, all of the speakers, and attendees.
The number one highlight of the conference for me (again) was the Late Night Guru Session with the Microsoft PowerPoint program management team. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mary Waldera at 2:01 AM .
We would like to invite all of our readers to visit Speaker Ready – a virtual meeting space (chat room) for presentation professionals.
When Ray and I began Visual Being, we were aiming to create a community of presentation professionals built around the sharing of experience and knowledge. It’s in the nature of our profession that many of us work in isolation, lacking regular communication with a shared community of practice. Some of us are freelancers working in sole practitioner environments. Some of us work in the corporate world where no one else in the company does what we do. The bottom line is that almost everyone can benefit from more contact with his or her professional peers and Visual Being hopes to make getting that contact a little easier.
Speaker Ready takes the next step towards reaching that goal by making the opportunities for interaction more immediate and, well, interactive. Think of it as an online water cooler. We hope you will stop by and check it out the next time you are taking a break or at the end of a long day of overpowering PowerPoint. As of right now, we can’t guarantee that there will always be something going on in there. However, if all goes according to plan, that’s how it will be in the near future. In the meantime, we are in the process of setting up a schedule of regular (weekly?) sessions, so feel free to let us know what times and topics will work for you.
Posted by Lee Potts at 7:59 PM .
Live from PowerPoint Live, Sept. 28, 2005
Korie Pelka, corporate communications manager for EFI in Foster City, California, is unofficially the hands-down winner of the PowerPoint Live Award for the longest conference session title: “A Day in the Life of a Corporate Presentation Creator: Crafting Meaningful Presentations in Today’s Corporate Environment.”
Pelka, who is responsible for executive presentations and employee newsletters, began by offering her list of the seven most pressing challenges facing presentation specialists in the corporate environment:
1. Lack of time alloted to the presentation process by corporate clients
2. Lack of focus by corporate clients on the process and importance of presentations
3. Changing corporate strategies, which make messaging a moving target
4. Multiple cooks in the kitchen, all with different tastes and favorite recipes
5. Rapid market changes, which cause abrupt shifts in direction
6. Changing corporate structures, which keep everyone walking on eggshells
7. Lack of resources, because management always understimates the value of presentation
In her presentation, Korie stressed the importance of developing a method for creating presentations that streamlines the process as much as possible AND is flexible and adaptable enough to work effectively with all of various personalities and styles of in-house clients.
Some of the tips she offered to her peers:
- Have a clear process for gathering content
- Create storyboards to guide the presentation development
- Establish a strong story that supports your presenter as well as the presentation
- Encourage evangelists in the corporation through training
- Follow up on presentation results and initiate improvements
- Develop hooks between the presentation and the real-world
- Maintain your own sanity while getting the job done
- Enhance your own value proposition
- When all else fails, “Just breathe.”
Hey, Korie, maybe that last one would have been a better name for the session.
Posted by Robert L. Lindstrom at 12:49 PM .
Live from PowerPoint Live, Sept 27, 2005
QUESTION: What happens during a typical PowerPoint presentation if you take away the forward and reverse buttons on the presenter’s remote?
ANSWER: You have a one-slide slideshow.
Except if you are Bob Lane. In that case, you deftly navigate your presentation from one screen by hitting hidden hyperlinks and menus that allow you to jump to more than 1,000 slides and presentations in your master file.
Making him a candidate for the most innovative use of PowerPoint at the PPT Live conference. Bob’s standing-room-only presentation on Tuesday was a demonstration of “Relational Presentation,” the name he has given to his evolving concepts for a new approach to file organization and nonlinear navigation using PowerPoint. In his design concepts, which represent more than six years of research and development, slides–or entire presentations–are organized into a hierarchical tree structure by categories. A navigation screen with hidden links, icons and lists allows him to drill down through the layers of information and return at any time to his starting point. Using a Gyromouse (www.gyration.com) to run his cursor around the screen, Bob demonstrated that it is possible for PowerPoint to break free of the bonds of linearity.
Linear presentation (following a pre-set series of slides and ideas) limits the ability of a presenter to respond interactivity to the audience using graphical elements. Even though still in a rough state, Bob’s approach is an creative and well-reasoned example of efforts to move beyond the linear format of presentation without abandoning PowerPoint as the central presentation tool. Judging by audience reaction, the interest in such a capability is running high.
Ironically, during the presentation, Bob revealed the potential and the pitfalls of nonlinear PowerPoint presentation. Although the audience was clearly impressed by his ground-breaking concepts and his freeform, interactive presentation style, his presentation ultimately suffered from information fragmentation. His presentation did not have a predetermined destination, and that is exactly where it arrived. Many of the attendees voiced the opinion that the session lacked a clear takeaway. When you present nonlinearily, “it is hard to keep in mind what you want to convey to the audience while letting the audience drive the presentation where they would like to see it go,” commented author and consultant Kathy Jacobs.
PowerPoint-based, nonlinear information design and presentation may well be the wave of the future, but it does not come without hidden riptides and undertow.
Posted by Robert L. Lindstrom at 11:23 AM .
LIVE from PowerPoint LIVE — I caught Jim Endicott’s excellent keynote on
Endicott — “Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts”. Jim made the distinction between
“Giving” presentations (anyone can)
Audiences “getting” them (being moved to action/consideration). He reiterate a concept some of us have seen before
Persuasive Message Flow.
Initially he identifies the pain, the provides a solution, and finished with validation.
What Jim added this year was to have a set of slides to close immediately if you’re in a time crunch
or the client gets fidgety. Many of us rush through the slides — instead go to slide or set of slides that summarize your main message and
ask for the order or do something else that gets you to your objective.
Glen Millar and
A key nugget there was the idea of using the With PRevious option for animation to simulate real life, objects moving off in different directions simulataneous.
Posted by Tom Bunzel at 12:45 PM .
In the every-burgeoning quest for the best (and lightest) solution to being a graphic facilitator, we are constantly searching for the Nirvana of portable wall systems.
These may not be the lightest, but they are pretty dang mobile. Last week, our new panels from Neuland arrived ahead of schedule for a local scribing gig.
Although we could have bought the GraphicWall Bundle at a 15% discount (valid thru 9/30/05), we opted for the more basement-friendly combo of a left and right including paper dispenser and carrying bags.
These facile boards have been used by facilitators for years.
Normally, we trundle in a 30" x 40" cardboard box of white foam core. When I asked Diane Durand, a facilitator in Pittsburgh (and also my wife) why she preferred the new walls, she listed the benefits:
- they are super, sleek and easy to assemble (even in heels!)
- they unzipped out of the bag and zip! Zoop! Were up
- she did not feel restrained, because of a spacious 4′ x 8′ work surface.
- she could work larger;
- it saves on foam core (which is florocarbon-filled);
- the tools match the work;
- the walls make a bold statement, they say: "I am here to work, to work big and to produce good things."
Available from The Grove, Facilitator U or direct from Neuland.
Call 1-888-713-2333 to order
Posted by Peter Durand at 12:20 PM .
–PPT Live 2005 – San Diego, California. Sept. 25, 2005
A Guide to the PowerPoint Universe
Posting Sunday September, 25th at 2pm PST.
Greetings from PPT Live.
1:05 pm. Like the passengers of the ill-fated USS Minnow in Gilligan’s Island, the audience of 20 presentation tourists at PowerPoint Live set off on a “3-hour tour.” In this case, a tour of “The PowerPoint Universe,” an overview of presentation-related programs that occupy the same galaxy as PowerPoint, but go where most PowerPoint users have not gone before.
The pre-conference program, hosted by Ray (The Skipper) Guyot, Julie (Marianne) Irvin, and Todd (The Professor) Dunn was nearly marooned by hurricane Rita. Todd and Julie, both Texas residents, spent the previous two days running from Rita. Both managed to beach their craft in San Diego in time to conduct the session. Thanks to a screw-up by DHL(Gilligan), Todd’s technology case failed to arrive, so the pair spent the morning scrambling to put the four-laptop, two-projector presentation system together. Thanks to the last-minute assistance of Mary (Ginger) Waldera, the handouts arrived from Kinko’s minutes before showtime.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Robert L. Lindstrom at 4:58 PM .
In a comment on my post about Grids, Roy Hammans pointed us to another helpful Mark Boulton series on typography. I am posting it here in case some of you missed Roy’s comment.
Posted by Robert Befus at 2:43 PM .
“All pictures are unnatural.”
~David Bailey (Commercial Photographer)
Posted by Lee Potts at 1:09 PM .
7 Comments »