Saturday, May 1, 2010

No more death by Presentations

What started as an odd off remark from Tarang / Gunjan /Akshay has had my laptop running continuously for at least 168 hours now.. I just decided not to end my firefox browser session till I finish reading on this topic and I am now doing so after almost a week!!! Lack of time /focus/ attention.. whatever..

The comment was about never again giving a presentation (at least not the BAs). They are a sadistic way to kill the interest and enthusiasm of your listeners. From the discussions that followed, what I came out with was almost like a word-cloud with   pecha-kucha and Takahashi being in red, bold, xtr-large font.

Now they make much more sense to me. Wiki as always is a good place to start

  • Lightning Talk - A Lightning Talk is a short presentation  given at a conference or similar forum. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks last only a few minutes and several will usually be delivered in a single period by different speakers.
  • Pecha Kucha — A similar presentation format.
  • Ignite - A similar presentation format.
  • Speed geeking - 5-min presentations are simultaneous, rather than sequential. Participants rotate through presentations in one room/chat space.
But all the above are mostly format for events. All of them similar in the sense that they force the speakers to keep it short.

However from there, I moved on to the much more interesting topic of new/unique/different ways of presenting. While Takahasi and Lessig Methods are simillar, there are subtle differences which you may not be able to figure out untill you see some of the presentations in those formats. Here are some links..

  • Takahashi - http://presentationzen.blogs.com/presentationzen/2005/09/living_large_ta.html
  • Lessig - http://randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/free.html  (8mb audio video file.. takes time to load)
But more than all these I was happy to re-discover Prezi.com. I was awestruck when I had first come across it a year ago and the feeling still persists when I start thinking about the ways in which it can be used. You no longer create slides. It is  a huge canvass and you zoom in and out of things that you are trying to explain to the audience.

What I had no idea was that, powerpoint has caught up. Folks at Microsoft Office Labs have a product called pptplex . No fancy transitions like what the (free) online version of Prezi provides but would certainly be  easier for an existing powerpoint user to start using. Here again you have a canvass and the demo video made me feel that people at MS Office Labs took this presentation advice quite literally..

"Tell them what you’re going to say, Say it, Then say just what you said."

Just downloaded pptplex. Yet to try my hands at it. But at the end of it, I am far from taking the leap. I am still not talking about "No more presentations". It's an effort at making them different/unique/interesting. And that is because, there are times when you HAVE to give presentations. It's all about TPO.. Time Place Occasion...