Another lesson Garr Reynolds talks about in his presentations comes from comparing what Darth Vader and Yoda’s presentation styles would be like. Truth is, apart from funny and original, it’s a good explanation of what the Dark Side of Presentations would be like.
According to Garr, Darth Vader is rigid and cold, so his presentations would be boring.
Does the style look familiar? It’s the typical slide you seen in most presentations. It has all the points he’s talking about to convince the audience (Luke in this case) to come to his side. But as we all know Vader didn’t convince Luke to join him, but lost him by presenting his arguments in such a scripted way. Not that Vader memorized the reasons, but when we give a presentation it should sound more like a conversation than a script. That’s where Vader fails.
On the other hand, as Garr says, Yoda is a kind and sincere “person”, so his presentation style would be close and personal, speaking to the audience 1 on 1. He probably wouldn’t use slides, more like Sir Ken Robinson’s style, or he’d use ones with plenty of whitespace to avoid bombarding the audience with information. This is the style you want to follow. Yoda is a clear example of how to give a presentation that feels like a conversation.
How do you go from the Dark Side to being a Presentation Jedi? It’s about practice, when you practice your presentation enough to lose your fear of being yourself in front of the audience, you will turn into a communicator like Yoda and have an actual conversation with them.
Garr Reynolds is a diehard Star Wars fan, when I was studying with him in Japan he talked a lot about lessons for presentations that could be taken from Lucas’ films. Far from seeming like a geek, I think almost everyone has watched Star Wars, and whether you like them or not, they have influenced 3 different generations. The first lesson I’ll leave you with is one that Garr talks about in his presentations:
Here’s a caption from the movie, where they are briefing the pilots on the attack plan on the Death Star; Garr draws a lot of attention to how visual this briefing is. There’s no text, just a graphic representation of what is being explained.
Compare, however, what this scene would look like if the presentation had been given using a typical PowerPoint template.
It’s not that PowerPoint is bad, it’s just that the way we use it isn’t the most effective. We should try to be more visual, like this leader of the rebel alliance, and like Garr Reynolds, who is also the leader of a rebel alliance, The Alliance against Death by PowerPoint.
May the force be with your presentations.
The moment I saw that Istockphoto had brought out a Power Point plug-in I jumped at the opportunity to try it out. I usually use Istockphoto images for my presentations, they have a great selection and search system. With this new plug-in you can use that same search system from Power Point itself! Just choose the picture you want to use, exchange it for your credits and have it ready to use on your slide. That easy! Check out the plug-in at Istockphoto, it has a great intro by Presentation Guru and my dear mentor Garr Reynolds.
Byron Stanford for Project Presentation.