One of the first courses a junior trainer teaches is MS PowerPoint. Back in 2000, the idea of presentations was fairly new and even having graphics was only beginning to emerge. Businesses were not in the habit of using graphics and imaging. Businesses were in the habit of using text only and word processors had not been put aside for the new type of PC's altogether. Graphics had been the venue of advertisers and marketers who used Macintosh computers primarily; one's who could apply graphics and images for typesetters and advertising departments.
We have come very far since those early days. The whole of the 2000's has seen a transformation, which began with text and had finished with graphics, films and sound, all of which may be loaded and run from an IBM PC or compatible.
PowerPoint presentations have seen much of the change in the Microsoft world. In fact the whole of the 2010 applications produce many of the PowerPoint features so we have seen in Word and Excel and there is less of a distinct separation between the various Microsoft programmes than in versions past.
MS PowerPoint as mentioned earlier received the majority of changes. A user may add swish graphics, locally produced film and audio at the click of a button and as long as there as compatibility between the various media and the Microsoft application, you have a presentation, which is no longer static, choppy and looks like one of my kids coloured it with a crayon. Even the transitions and animations in MS PowerPoint have improved to make the presentation much more like a film, and less like a 'slide show'.
During the 2000s, the most common slide was one which contained bullets on every slide. A marketer, lecturer or a HR department would use these to explain to a new hire or a student ideas behind their slides. It was not uncommon to see three, four or even seven bullets per slide on the show. The thinking was, present the bulleted item and then explain the idea verbally to the intended audience.
This all changed during the mid-2000s. People had been introduced to films, audio and graphics on computers at home and by then we had seen an explosion graphic use on television programmes like CSI. I had read a number of articles which proclaimed the end of bullets on presentations. One of them was named ‘death to bullets’ an ironic name for an article to say the least. The author claimed that the more bullets appearing on the slide, the less the audience would pay attention or accept the content of the presenter.
After reading these articles, I knew I could not train PowerPoint the same way ever again. Then, in my search for replacing the bulleted slides I came across another article, which both delighted and astonished me. Back in the 1950s, Disney had used an idea, which was called Imagineering and I thought this could be applied to the PowerPoint slideshow. Many delegates began to agree.
The idea had many components but there were three ideas I wish to share with you today. When Disney decided to build the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks his main ideas were first to tell ‘The Story’, the second, to provide a Hook and Look to gain people’s interest and third to have a theme that continued throughout each section of the park.
I know what some of you might be thinking; "but this is business and/or education department and you cannot apply this theme park idea to those industries." On certain occasions, I would have to agree. If you are showing slides about the state of our company’s revenue or you are presenting a set of ideas on constructing a new facility, these may not apply.
Then again, they might. An even small application of these ideas can bring the audience closer to your way of thinking, especially if the organisation is going through significant change.
Let me give you an example. I am lucky enough to be acquainted with a solicitor group, which does an induction to its new employees, which is absolutely riveting. They use many of the ideas contained in Disney’s principles.
The presentation tells a story about the firm’s origins and current business practices. It contains a ‘hook’ about the exciting new locations in which it operates, complete with scenic landscapes and has text moving in and out of the slide. And, it uses a common set of themes throughout which demonstrate its commitment to professionalism, being client centred and how it supports its ever expanding workforce.
These set of principles and others from Disney's Imagineering has become the basis on which I train this PowerPoint today and thankfully, the visual, audio and graphics capabilities have improved on PowerPoint in the 2010 version so as to apply these to our own presentations at my own company. Thanks to Walt Disney in the 1950s, not only are the theme parks fun for kids and family but now we can apply these techniques to our own PowerPoint presentations at work or right at home in the 2010s. Enjoy the show!
In : IT Training
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