I have been reading a lot about Power Point presentations...and started thinking that how we use Power Point is not for presentations, it is our end deliverable...which is more likely than not something that will be read rather than presented.
We have moved from trying to tell a story through writing to telling a story through pictures, but in the pictures sometimes you miss the nuances that make the story rich. What can we do to make our storytelling richer and more meaningful to decision-makers...
Hi, MelanieW. Great question!. I spend a lot of time in PowerPoint and sometimes wonder why.
Across the market research and competitive intelligence teams at my company, we worked hard at communications in general. But specifically on the slide decks that report the findings of any project. Each project has its own deck with key takeaways or learnings, supported by primary and/or secondary evidence. Then a separate, brief (less than 10 page) companion deck called the Executive Summary. Every Executive Summary has a Purpose, Scope/Methodology followed by Key Findings and is required to have specific Implications and Recommendations. That's what adds value and makes the project actionable. Implications and Recommendations tell the reader why its important and what to do. Also make it more meaningful.
We tend to assume that many people are too busy to read all the detail. Perhaps these people miss the richness, to your point. However, if we get them to read the Executive Summary, they'll take action and know why they should do so.
Lots of practitioners bundle the decks togther. Sometimes the few findings that you want anyone to remember (the trees) or the recommendations get lost in the supporting details (the forest).
Richness also comes from using multiple methdologies that either converge or contrast with one another.
As Ken did when he was at Deloitte, our company, Capitalis, uses PowerPoint as an end deliverable to present complex information in a "consummable manner". We understand that most of our clients are busy executives who don't have time to sit down and read through a wordy and conventional word document. We find that PowerPoint can be a very effective tool to deliver key insights in a graphical and interesting way. Our slides are usually a combination of text, graphics, images and powerful chart. Our reports - which we also call "deck" - are meant to be "standalone" report meaning that a client should be able to read it and understand the key insights from research without having us in the room to brief them.
Therefore I would agree with Ken that PowerPoint can effectively be used as a tool for a written report but that if it is, then it should be written in a very different manner than what would be used to present/brief clients. The two are indeed completely different.
Besides competitive intelligence, I am also interested in information design and visualization. Hence, this topic is quite a treat for my eyes.
We are using both PowerPoint and Word for our deliverables and I have to say that PP is meant for presentations not documents / reports.
However, there are a few tricks we're using in PP.
1.) Minimalistic template
--> suitable for slide decks
--> printer friendly
2.) Clear Document Structure and Transition Slides
--> time saving
--> user friendly navigating
3.) No animation
--> No really. No animation in decks. Only for presentations
4.) Links within same document
--> time saving
--> user friendly navigating
In my opinion, there's a bigger issue than PP slide decks and PP story telling. It's the story and it's structure. For this we're using mind maps and business frameworks such as 4Ps or 5 forces model.
Interesting. I have always used Power Point and more recently tried using Keynote. I like the idea of using these tools to tell the story, but I can't tell you how many times I have seen a bullet based presentation, that is revealed line by line and which the presenter then reads. Arghhhh...infuriating!
I tend to create a timed presentation blending images, charts and text and then talk over the presentation as it rolls in the background. My speech rarely, if ever, uses any of the key terms in the presentation, and I deliver the whole thing a an unfolding storyboard.
I was recently introduced to a company in the UK called Article10, and they do interesting things with Power Point, although I am yet to meet them face to face!