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25 years of PowerPoint
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mattyb
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Aug 19, 2009, 01:58 PM
 
And it was originally only for the Mac.

I learn something new every day.
     
ort888
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:15 PM
 
Powerpoint is the worst program ever.

My sig is 1 pixel too big.
     
tooki
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:21 PM
 
The program is fine. It's the crap people create with it that makes me want to gouge my eyes out and shove an ice pick in my ears.
     
Laminar
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:25 PM
 
During training at my new job, we had to give weekly presentations to practice our communication skills. I made a point of using a different, awful PowerPoint theme each week. I don't think the person in charge of the presentations was amused.
     
mattyb  (op)
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:25 PM
 
From my humble 10+ years in IT, I have noticed that those who can master PowerPoint, rise to the top of the heap.
     
Laminar
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:27 PM
 
     
shifuimam
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The program is fine. It's the crap people create with it that makes me want to gouge my eyes out and shove an ice pick in my ears.
This. You can make a shitty presentation in any application, including the one included with iWork.

PowerPoint is excellent when used correctly. 90% of people in the business world don't use it correctly.

Incidentally, I did a speech in college on the detrimental uses of PowerPoint, and how it negatively affects learning and comprehension. My research for the speech gave some interesting insight into how PowerPoint can hurt more than help in a presentation.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The program is fine. It's the crap people create with it that makes me want to gouge my eyes out and shove an ice pick in my ears.
That, however, is entirely the fault of the program.

It is completely, utterly IMPOSSIBLE to create a PowerPoint presentation that does not look like complete crap.

A method of implementing taste is simply not part of the application's feature set.


(That, to me, is really the fundamental and most striking difference between it and Keynote.)

Edit: reading shif's post, I have to qualify this - in twenty years, I have NOT ONCE seen a tasteful, good-looking PowerPoint presentation. If you say it's possible, then I ask you to humour us. Post a link to one.
     
mattyb  (op)
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:50 PM
 
Spheric, you're going to derail this thread before it even warms up !!!

Soon there will be definitions of taste, art, colour charts and whether one can mix PowerPoint with Excel to really bore people.

Don't let it happen ... think of the kids !!
     
shifuimam
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:52 PM
 
It's not really about whether or not it looks aesthetically pleasing.

It's not a good thing to use PowerPoint as a way of distracting the audience from what the speaker is saying. Making a sexy presentation inevitably does just that.

Sure, you can make prettier graphs and charts with Keynote, but that can also result in misrepresented data, like Job's own pie chart of the iPhone's popularity in the smartphone market:



Funny, isn't it, how the angle of the chart makes the lower (and numerically smaller) segment look larger than its numerically larger counterpart on the upper part of the circle, no...?

Presentations of any kind, be it PowerPoint, Keynote, or good old transparency sheets on an overhead projector, should be designed to aid the speaker - not to replace him. It's great for when you need to display a chart or an image. It's fantastic when you're presenting the options to the board of directors regarding your company's logo redesign.

However, it's completely useless and unnecessary when you're just using it to put text up on a screen. There's less comprehension by the audience when they're attempting to read and listen simultaneously, and usually reading wins over listening, if you can read at your own pace and ignore the speaker.

It doesn't matter how sexy or pretty your slides are, or what graphics you pick for the bullet points in your lists. If you don't know how to make a presentation's content useful to the audience, it's still going to suck.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 02:59 PM
 
You appear to be saying that Steve Jobs is an example of a bad presentation?

And you're using a pie chart that presents Apple in a good light at a public press event as an example to underline this point?

Are you for real?
     
Dakar V
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:00 PM
 
*grabs popcorn*
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Don't let it happen ... think of the kids !!
As I recall, shif doesn't want any.
     
Oisín
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
It's not really about whether or not it looks aesthetically pleasing.
This is just downright incorrect.

It doesn't matter how sexy or pretty your slides are, or what graphics you pick for the bullet points in your lists. If you don't know how to make a presentation's content useful to the audience, it's still going to suck.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter how well-laid-out and thought-through and useful your presentation is, if it looks like utter crap, people will ignore it.


Content creation and making good slides is the responsibility and capability of the user. The program can’t even aid you in that.

Design and layout of the slides, however, is something the app can (and should) aid you in. Keynote does this, to a certain degree. PowerPoint doesn’t, to any.
     
nonhuman
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You appear to be saying that Steve Jobs is an example of a bad presentation?

And you're using a pie chart that presents Apple in a good light at a public press event as an example to underline this point?

Are you for real?
I believe she's saying that the particular slide in question presented the data in a misleading manner.

Are you suggesting that Steve Jobs would never misrepresent data or mislead an audience for his own (Apple's) benefit?
     
Dakar V
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:17 PM
 
Are you implying Steve Jobs is not God?
     
sek929
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:19 PM
 
If he isn't, what am I to do with all this sacrificial goat's blood?
     
0157988944
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:19 PM
 
You can absolutely make effective and nice looking PowerPoint presentations, I've done quite a few... it just took 3 times as long because I had to essentially create my own themes.

Keynote comes with pretty and functional themes, and half the work is done there already.
     
Dakar V
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
If he isn't, what am I to do with all this sacrificial goat's blood?
Pagan orgy?
     
Oisín
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
If he isn't, what am I to do with all this sacrificial goat's blood?
I’d say that depends entirely on how much parsley you’ve got, how dark your curtains are, and how big your blender is.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I believe she's saying that the particular slide in question presented the data in a misleading manner.

Are you suggesting that Steve Jobs would never misrepresent data or mislead an audience for his own (Apple's) benefit?
No, I'm saying THAT'S PRECISELY HIS JOB, and that he's the poster child for how to hold an effective presentation, using slides to effectively drive your point home (NB: not equal representation of all sides - YOUR point).

His keynotes are masterful exercises in the art of presentation.
     
olePigeon
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
If he isn't, what am I to do with all this sacrificial goat's blood?
Can I have your virgins?
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Chuckit
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I believe she's saying that the particular slide in question presented the data in a misleading manner.

Are you suggesting that Steve Jobs would never misrepresent data or mislead an audience for his own (Apple's) benefit?
Are you trying to suggest that Steve accidentally made Apple's share look bigger and it was his intention to be completely fair and unbiased? Because otherwise, that looks like an example of a pretty masterfully executed presentation.
Chuck
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besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 03:57 PM
 
I disagree about Jobs' presentations being a masterful exercises in the art of presentation. I agree with Shif here.

You guys are conflating two separate arguments. One is sexiness, aesthetics, the ability to manipulate, and the other is actual communication and using the slides as a tool to explain and relay concepts. Jobs' presentations are masterful exercises of creating fluffy marketing heavy materials to entice people to want to buy stuff, but his slides would probably make lousy classroom material if you are trying to instruct and inform. They are designed to stimulate the senses, not to explain concepts. This isn't criticism, his slides are just designed for a different purpose.

Shif was, I think, addressing the explaining of concepts part. While pretty slides might hold peoples' attention longer, they don't need to be pretty to explain concepts. In academics, you actually want to restrain yourself from using every pretty little star wipe and whizz bang little animation, because it *can* be distracting if it is perceived as a filler for actual content (I include Keynote here too). Great content and an attractive presentation in tandem are fine, but all too often an attractive presentation is used as a substitute.

Is this sort of what your speech was about, Shif?
     
besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:02 PM
 
Let me rephrase: Jobs' presentations are masterful demonstrations of a *marketing* presentation, but not of an instructive, educational seminar. Do you really think that in a more serious setting full of serious board members and stuff he would crack out the misleading pie graphs and put on the same presentation? No, it would be full of meaty content, and the content would be front and center, not the dressings.
     
turtle777
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Let me rephrase: Jobs' presentations are masterful demonstrations of a *marketing* presentation, but not of an instructive, educational seminar. Do you really think that in a more serious setting full of serious board members and stuff he would crack out the misleading pie graphs and put on the same presentation? No, it would be full of meaty content, and the content would be front and center, not the dressings.
Do you really think that Steve is completely different in his board meetings than in front of Apple fanbois and shareholders ?

I sort of doubt it. At least I doubt that he is suddenly all boring "meaty content" business.

-t
     
nonhuman
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Are you trying to suggest that Steve accidentally made Apple's share look bigger and it was his intention to be completely fair and unbiased? Because otherwise, that looks like an example of a pretty masterfully executed presentation.
No, I'm saying that an educational presentation is different from a marketing presentation. In a marketing presentation, while you (most likely) don't want to outright lie, you want to take every opportunity to make the data fit the message. With an educational presentation you want to do the exact opposite (except for the lying part, you still don't want to do that).

Steve Jobs is a marketer, and his presentations are designed to aid him in marketing. Thus he has completely different requirements and goals than an educator trying to impart accurate knowledge on the audience.
     
besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:11 PM
 
This conversation would be incomplete without bringing Marshall McLuhan into the picture and this thesis "the medium is the message". Skim read the first paragraph here:

The medium is the message - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Has Powerpoint really done our society good bringing concepts and information into a format that leverages our familiarity and comfort with watching TV a net gain here? Anything lost?
     
Laminar
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Are you trying to suggest that Steve accidentally made Apple's share look bigger and it was his intention to be completely fair and unbiased? Because otherwise, that looks like an example of a pretty masterfully executed presentation.
Does Steve actually make his own Keynote presentations? I figure that's something he'd have a doter do.
     
besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Do you really think that Steve is completely different in his board meetings than in front of Apple fanbois and shareholders ?

I sort of doubt it. At least I doubt that he is suddenly all boring "meaty content" business.

-t
Of course he is. You don't have an depth discussion about the opportunities, threats, financial position, legal challenges, assets, and liabilities to a billion dollar company with watered down marketing fluff. How would that be comforting to major stakeholders?

Maybe it wouldn't be Steve giving a presentation like that, maybe he is mostly a cheerleader in those sorts of settings, but at some point you are going to have to get into the meat of the inner workings of the company, and there is no way you want your message undermined or competing with marketing fluff. It is not the right setting.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
No, I'm saying that an educational presentation is different from a marketing presentation. In a marketing presentation, while you (most likely) don't want to outright lie, you want to take every opportunity to make the data fit the message. With an educational presentation you want to do the exact opposite (except for the lying part, you still don't want to do that).

Steve Jobs is a marketer, and his presentations are designed to aid him in marketing. Thus he has completely different requirements and goals than an educator trying to impart accurate knowledge on the audience.
The requirements are by no means "completely different".

Don't confuse content with execution.

Keeping your audience awake and their attention focused and, yes, entertained, are absolutely fundamental to ANY good presentation, regardless of context, UNLESS your tactic is to hope to hide bad news in a deluge of information nobody is taking notice of.

That's not infotainment; it's basic communications skills.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Does Steve actually make his own Keynote presentations? I figure that's something he'd have a doter do.
Hell yeah he does.

The Keynote application was built specifically to cater to his presentation needs and style.
     
turtle777
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Of course he is. You don't have an depth discussion about the opportunities, threats, financial position, legal challenges, assets, and liabilities to a billion dollar company with watered down marketing fluff. How would that be comforting to major stakeholders?

Maybe it wouldn't be Steve giving a presentation like that, maybe he is mostly a cheerleader in those sorts of settings, but at some point you are going to have to get into the meat of the inner workings of the company, and there is no way you want your message undermined or competing with marketing fluff. It is not the right setting.
You are getting it mostly wrong.

When in board meetings, Steve is NOT holding presentations, he is being presented to.

IF he holds presentations there, it's gonna be similar to those he does to the outside: the cheerleading ones.

-t
     
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Let me rephrase: Jobs' presentations are masterful demonstrations of a *marketing* presentation, but not of an instructive, educational seminar. Do you really think that in a more serious setting full of serious board members and stuff he would crack out the misleading pie graphs and put on the same presentation? No, it would be full of meaty content, and the content would be front and center, not the dressings.
It's all about conveying ideas. Yes, different subjects will be done in different styles and with different content. But the idea that effective communication skills are only important to marketing is just plain weird IMO.
Chuck
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besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
No, I'm saying that an educational presentation is different from a marketing presentation. In a marketing presentation, while you (most likely) don't want to outright lie, you want to take every opportunity to make the data fit the message. With an educational presentation you want to do the exact opposite (except for the lying part, you still don't want to do that).

Steve Jobs is a marketer, and his presentations are designed to aid him in marketing. Thus he has completely different requirements and goals than an educator trying to impart accurate knowledge on the audience.
Exactly right.
     
besson3c
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
It's all about conveying ideas. Yes, different subjects will be done in different styles and with different content. But the idea that effective communication skills are only important to marketing is just plain weird IMO.
In which case Powerpoint and Keynote are a *tool* used for conveying ideas, but you don't want to make your tool the focal point.
     
Chuckit
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:52 PM
 
No, but the point is that Keynote is better at helping you create appealing and effective presentations, which in turn convey ideas better.
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Spheric Harlot
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Aug 19, 2009, 05:01 PM
 
Of course tools make a difference - in every trade!

Even the most expert artisan will have to expend FAR more effort to produce equal results with inferior tools - if at all possible.
     
angelmb
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Aug 19, 2009, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Hell yeah he does.

The Keynote application was built specifically to cater to his presentation needs and style.
hum, not that time ago Apple keynotes were done by certain design/communication firm… I sure have it bookmarked, albeit it would take hours, if not days to find it out, that's the reason I switched to iCab.

As for the convey thing… Apple keynotes Vs. Microsoft keynotes
     
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Aug 19, 2009, 06:06 PM
 
◤┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅ ◓ ┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅◥



  1. Know your audience.

  2. Tailor speech for audience.

  3. Make slide presentation enhance speech.

  4. Chevk for typos.




◣┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅ ◒ ┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅◢
     
shifuimam
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Aug 19, 2009, 09:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You appear to be saying that Steve Jobs is an example of a bad presentation?

And you're using a pie chart that presents Apple in a good light at a public press event as an example to underline this point?

Are you for real?
Do you not agree that objectively speaking, that pie chart does not accurately represent the data in question?

That pie chart looks quite attractive - but it's entirely inaccurate in its representation of the data.

Of course it was designed to put Apple in a better light (although I think it's a cheap shot for Apple to do something like that; they don't need to inaccurately manipulate a pie chart image in order to show that the iPhone was quickly gaining market share since its initial release). It doesn't change the fact that making something pretty doesn't necessarily make it better at conveying information.
     
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Aug 19, 2009, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I disagree about Jobs' presentations being a masterful exercises in the art of presentation. I agree with Shif here.

You guys are conflating two separate arguments. One is sexiness, aesthetics, the ability to manipulate, and the other is actual communication and using the slides as a tool to explain and relay concepts. Jobs' presentations are masterful exercises of creating fluffy marketing heavy materials to entice people to want to buy stuff, but his slides would probably make lousy classroom material if you are trying to instruct and inform. They are designed to stimulate the senses, not to explain concepts. This isn't criticism, his slides are just designed for a different purpose.

Shif was, I think, addressing the explaining of concepts part. While pretty slides might hold peoples' attention longer, they don't need to be pretty to explain concepts. In academics, you actually want to restrain yourself from using every pretty little star wipe and whizz bang little animation, because it *can* be distracting if it is perceived as a filler for actual content (I include Keynote here too). Great content and an attractive presentation in tandem are fine, but all too often an attractive presentation is used as a substitute.

Is this sort of what your speech was about, Shif?
That, and point out that making something pretty does not always make it better - or accurate. That particular pie chart was made that way for a very specific reason - to further (albeit misleadingly) emphasize Apple's market share with the iPhone. However, that doesn't justify the fact that the image is designed to be blatantly inaccurate with regards to the actual data. It's a cheap shot on Apple's part, IMO.

And, yes. Making something pretty does not always succeed in explaining concepts. The things that PowerPoint should be restricted to - charts, graphs, complex mathematical equations, scientific and engineering diagrams, and other things that can't quickly or easily be described through spoken word or drawn on a whiteboard - aren't things that require a lot of sex appeal.

The thing is, if you're a skilled speaker and excel at verbal communication, you don't need PowerPoint - or Keynote - at all. It can add a little zing to your speech or presentation, but you should be able to just as effectively make that same presentation if the power goes out or your laptop battery dies or something otherwise keeps you from relying on a screen as a crutch.

Do you think that Jobs' keynote speeches would be any less captivating if he quit using sexy onscreen presentation material? I doubt it. People don't fall over themselves to see him talk because he's got a marketing group that can make hot presentations. They do it because it's Steve Jobs, and he's one hell of a speaker.
     
0157988944
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Aug 19, 2009, 09:31 PM
 
You're arguing two different things and making them the same argument. You're both right. It is misrepresenting the visual share of the "pie," and it's also a good marketing move, as are all of Jobs' keynotes. But to argue that Steve would be anywhere near as riveting with overhead transparencies is shortsighted.
     
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Aug 19, 2009, 09:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Do you think that Jobs' keynote speeches would be any less captivating if he quit using sexy onscreen presentation material? I doubt it. People don't fall over themselves to see him talk because he's got a marketing group that can make hot presentations. They do it because it's Steve Jobs, and he's one hell of a speaker.
And Steve Jobs could spend hours explain in his incredible way how awesome this new "iPhone" thingy looks, and it still wouldn't match him just showing a picture.
     
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Aug 22, 2009, 04:15 PM
 
as said, powerpoint isn't so bad. keynote looks more refined but a .ppt will do

the thing i hate most about presentations is

-stock clipart like beanies <- i hate those
-too much text
-stock sounds
{Animated sigs are not allowed.}
     
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Aug 22, 2009, 10:10 PM
 
Keynote > PowerPoint... but I'll use what I'm given.
     
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Aug 22, 2009, 10:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar V View Post
Pagan orgy?
eh, if you've been to one, you've been to them all.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
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Aug 22, 2009, 10:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
And Steve Jobs could spend hours explain in his incredible way how awesome this new "iPhone" thingy looks, and it still wouldn't match him just showing a picture.
Obviously there is plenty in marketing a product that requires a visual.

However, a picture of an iPhone can be done with anything, including just loading up a JPG in Preview.app - which is my point. Things that truly require a visual don't need sex appeal to be informative and useful to the audience. A picture of an iPhone without a drop shadow isn't going to suddenly bore the audience just because it doesn't have some silly Photoshop effect on it.

Explaining Apple's increasing market share in the smartphone market is an example where Jobs' speaking capabilities far surpass any need for a visual aid. Ultimately, the audience is far more interested in what's coming out of his mouth than what his crack marketing team put together for his speech.
     
shifuimam
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Aug 22, 2009, 11:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by adamfishercox View Post
You're arguing two different things and making them the same argument. You're both right. It is misrepresenting the visual share of the "pie," and it's also a good marketing move, as are all of Jobs' keynotes. But to argue that Steve would be anywhere near as riveting with overhead transparencies is shortsighted.
I doubt that if Jobs' overheads were less sexy or aesthetically pleasing, people would find him less interesting as a speaker.

The introduction of the original 1984 Macintosh was all about what Jobs was saying. There were publicity photographs of the computer, but there wasn't a whole lot of sex appeal in them, because that wasn't the point.
     
tooki
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Aug 23, 2009, 04:06 AM
 
I say this as someone who's gotten praise for the quality of my presentations time and time again:
  1. The biggest problem people have is that they abuse the role of the slideshow. People use slides as nothing more than their own crib sheet, which they then force people to watch.
  2. A good slideshow cannot stand on its own. It serves STRICTLY as a secondary aid to the speaker.
    The speaker is the star, and if you design your slides to help the audience visualize what is being said, you'll do well. How do you know you're doing this? When you get to really important parts, the slides get simpler or go away.
  3. Conversely, you should be able to give your presentation without slides. Otherwise, it's proof that you don't know the material well enough, and need to go back and learn it better. The (common) failure of a PC to work with the projector should be a minor inconvenience, not a show-stopper.
  4. People want to make a double-duty document, so they try to make a slideshow that can be both a slideshow and serve as the notes for people to take home. Don't do this -- make a presentation, and make a handout if warranted.
  5. I don't believe there's a significant difference between a good marketing slideshow and a good educational slideshow. Both are supposed to be visual aids to the speaker, and should never be able to stand on their own.
  6. Every slide should have a message -- and one message only. It's totally OK to have a 20-minute talk with 50 slides or more, if each slide is poignant, helpful, and simple. It's digital, so there's no cost for diving content onto more slides. (And don't forget the blank slides used to help focus attention on the speaker.)
  7. There's not a big difference in what can be done in PPT vs Keynote. I've seen (and created) great slideshows in PPT, and I've seen some awful ones done in Keynote. If you're intent on making a great slideshow, you can do it in either, and if you're intent on making an awful one, you can do that in either, too. (I still agree that Keynote makes it much easier to make something good, but you still need to have taste.)

Note that Apple's keynotes, which are almost flawless examples of how a presentation should be done, basically follow all these rules, with the occasional blooper.
     
 
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