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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

7/29/2007

The New Approach to Creating Slides

In an earlier post, I wrote about the new ways to use PowerPoint slides, emphasizing pictures rather than words.

I have some examples of how my slides have evolved over time from being full of bullet points, to being driven by emotional images that help the audience to focus on the words I am saying, rather than those on the screen.

I have found a book that goes even further and provides a template and a way of thinking about presentations that is just excellent.

In the book Beyond Bullet Points, the author, Cliff Atkinson, makes the point that a good presentation is like a movie script, and the different scenes that are shot in the making of a film.

He has done an excellent job of reducing a movie to its elements, and applying the elements to a different purpose.

Movies have a basic structure, he argues. They begin with a particular background setting, against which a protagonist (usually the star or main figure) is going along in their life until some tragedy strikes that must be resolved.

The movie is about the steps taken to resolve the crisis, and at the end there is some kind of wrap-up to bring things to completion.

(Of course, there are amazing films made as a departure from the basic structure, but most departures are amazingly awful.)

A presentation or speech is no different, and the template he provides to structure a speech in 3 acts like a movie or play is a real breakthrough in thinking. He also advocates using PowerPoint slides as pictures with a minimum of words to build emotions at different points of the presentation.

I recommend it highly.

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