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Communication – The Point of PowerPoint

A few weeks back I was asked by fellow LUCRUM employee and friend Andy Erickson to speak to the Agile Round Table, a technology focused group that meets monthly here in Cincinnati. The topic – PowerPoint. It was supposed to be done 20 seconds per slide, and 20 slides, but once I got going I completely lost all track of time. Inspired by Seth Godin and Garr Reynolds, I ended up speaking for about 15 minutes on the topic. In the end, PowerPoint is all about communication and delivering a compelling message. Whether that information is right brain – big picture, synthesis- or left brain – technical, detaileded analysis – presentations should be more than just reading. Show up. Entertain. Add something by being there, and for God sakes, Have some fun.

Someone said to me recently, “What if I need to present code?” “How can I do that without using bullets and reading it?” I thought long and hard about it, and came to this conclusion. You can absolutely do it. Simplify the code down to its essence, and elaborate on it in your presentation. If you need to use documentation, deliver it as a leave behind document – probably done in Word or Google Docs. After all if Einstein’s Theory of Relativity can be boiled down to a few characters, can’t pretty much anything? If you insist on putting all that code up there in the presentation, why not just show it in a live environment? Or dress it up with color, or imagery, or illustrate the concept that it represents – efficiency, capability, performance.  Engage me.  Make something memorable.  Something remarkable.   Just my 2 cents. Anyway, thanks to Andy Erickson who taped the presentation which you can watch below. For YOUTUBE sake Andy broke these into 2 clips. Again, sorry for running long. My Pecha Kucha skills need some work.

Thanks to the Agile Round table and Andy for letting me speak. It was a lot of fun.