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Presentation Ideas: Success with Video, a.k.a. Lay Off of PowerPoint!

Hating on PowerPoint is pretty fashionable these days.

I see it all the time – complaints about the evils of PowerPoint, “Death by PowerPoint”, and how people groan at the sight of text bullets on a white screen. To which I say…

Enough already!

Seriously. This might seem like a bit of a rant, but I’m surprised at people. The problem isn’t PowerPoint, it’s BAAAAAD PowerPoint. Why can’t we recognize that? I mean, when inept do-it-yourselfers build crooked bookcases, we don’t lament the evils of hammers, do we?

I actually think that PowerPoint is a fantastic tool that you can use to grow your business, both online and offline.

In this post, I’ll give you presentation ideas (and give you some great examples of presentations that do it really, really well).

The first step to using a tool properly is understanding what it is for, and what it is NOT for. Let’s start there.

What is PowerPoint for, and what is it NOT for?

Let’s imagine, for a moment, a lousy presentation. Not hard, is it? You imagine a set of slides full of bullets of text, with a presenter facing the screen instead of the audience, and narrating the text that they are perfectly capable of reading on their own.

Now let’s imagine a really good presentation. This might be a little harder, so here are a few examples:

The Secret to Building a Popular Blog

RSA Animate – Drive

“Business Fireproofing” Intro

Steve Jobs introducing the iPod

(You can also watch this video deconstructing Steve Jobs’ presentations – a topic for a post all on its own!)

The most important lesson to learn from this presentation is that the slideshow and the presenter have different jobs!

Let’s try something, to illustrate what I’m saying: watch any of these videos, with the volume off. Can you still follow? Probably not.

This is because the presenter tells the story, and the slideshow helps. The presenter does the heavy lifting, and the slideshow drives points home, illustrates, and assists – but doesn’t do the job by itself.

That’s not what people attempt when they create slides that are brimming with text – in that case, they’re really just using PowerPoint as a document creation program, and then they’re reading the document to their audience.

But that’s not what PowerPoint is for – no wonder the results are lousy!

How to do it right?

Creating a great slideshow isn’t that hard, it just takes a bit more work, because there are two steps to the process:

  1. Script your presentation.
  2. Create slideshow.

This is more work than people are used to, because they usually skip the second step, and just use their script as the slideshow!

Instead, take your script, and highlight each key idea. For each key idea, create a slide. You want as little text as possible – ideally, no text at all, and just a picture. Just one idea per slide.

This may sound overly simplistic, but this is a process that I use all the time – for our video lessons, for our “Business Fireproofing” video course, in presentations to investors, and tons of other places.

You can do this yourself (I promise, it’s easier than you think), or you can get someone to do it for you.

Another great example of a very well-done presentation is on the Samurai Sales Videos landing page.

Yes, that’s an affiliate link – we’re sharing it with you, because we’ve seen them do a really great job at a really reasonable price – a kick-ass sales video costs all of $499.

Now, if you’ve been around Mirasee for any length of time, you know that we don’t flog affiliate links – we don’t even use Amazon affiliate links when we interview an author. We’re sharing this with you because it can do a lot for you.

Okay, over to you. Of the videos that we linked to in this post, which do you find most effective? Which do you find least effective?

About Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the CEO and founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich.

14 comments

  1. Ana says:

    I so agree, Danny.

    I just watched a course that’s being offered for $497, where the guy read his own slides the entire time.

  2. Robert Pinto-Fernandes says:

    What a pertinent post Danny! You always have your “finger on the pulse” when it comes to business and marketing! PowerPoint is such a heavily used business tool, but a tool that is regularly used in the wrong manner. I think it’s laziness and lack of time for preparation in most cases. The speaker/presenter and the slideshow have to be interdependent and work together, where the slideshow can just be used to drive the main points home and to summarise in an interesting, entertaining and engaging manner.

    Keep the amazing posts coming buddy! Have a nice weekend off!

    Robert

    1. Peter Vogopoulos ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      So true, Robert. The problem is that many use their slides as a crutch. Many a time, I’ve wanted to shake a bad presenter and say “it’s not meant to help *you* present easier, fool, it’s meant to enhance your presentation for *us*!” Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Robert Pinto-Fernandes says:

        Haha for sure! One of the biggest “crimes of Powerpoint” is reading from the same screen that the audience is seeing! It’s like “Do people really still do that!?”

      2. Robert Pinto-Fernandes says:

        Haha for sure! One of the biggest “crimes of Powerpoint” is reading from the same screen that the audience is seeing! It’s like “Do people really still do that!?”

    1. Peter Vogopoulos ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      It’s a tool, right? A hammer can drive a nail, or it can break your thumb — depends on the competence of the user. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Marcus.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Danny, great post! I have to create these monsters all the time for my day job in IT. Powerpoint use to be scary, but once your able to create a nice template, its just a matter of plugging in pertinent information that actually matters. When we have seminars, I can see people rolling their eyes because PPT it’s so played out.

    What I find that works good too, is just a marker, board and you talking. I think that is where video plays a pivotal role in really grabbing someone’s attention and being able to keep it. Powerpoint works if you know how to use it, but I find that people want you to just talk rather then rely on something you created before hand.

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Yup, you’re right, the real problem with PowerPoint is that people use it as an excuse to avoid actually engaging their audience. To bad…

  4. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Danny

    Finally got round to checking the post and some of the links out – but you already know my thoughts on a lot of this.

    Firstly here’s a link for you to a presentation only – it’s on Slideshare – that I came across today. This is a pretty cool use of images/graphics, etc. (Very influenced by Presentation Zen).

    http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/its-time-to-transform-your-marketing

    Secondly there’s two areas we’re talking about here. The kind of presentation being used as a back up to a live presentation HAS TO BE different than a presentation that you’re using to create an online video.

    Most online video advice is in this kind of form (and I’m quoting from a pretty highly respected Internet Marketer – no names though): Paste your text to a rich text editor. Put a space between each line. Select and copy. And paste it into Powerpoint. The space will tell Powerpoint to create a new slide.

    And I’ve seen wayyyyyy too many videos created that way. Only I wouldn’t use the name video for those kind of presentations. Online Video is evolving, and the big boys are starting to enter the online video arena. For the little guy to hold on we have to create more captivating and compelling video presentations.

    I believe they can be done with Powerpoint or Keynote. Just not many people are doing them. Viewer engagment is a direct function of compelling narrative underscored and reinforced by a visual narrative – adn the combination of these two are then underscored and reinforced by music and/or sound effects.

    Get it right and the rewards are potentially stratospheric (in my view. I’m hoping to test this theory very, very soon!)

    Paul

    1. Danny Iny says:

      Very cool presentation, Paul – thank you for sharing it!

      I agree with you that it can be done with Keynote or PowerPoint, and that not many people are doing them very well. I disagree that a backup to a live presentation has to be different than a presentation that you’re using to create an online video, though – why shouldn’t they be the same?

      1. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Hey Danny

        We might have to agree to disagree!

        Let me expand the thought a moment. When you’re presenting live your presentation doesn’t need to be dynamic because it’s there to back you up. YOU are the focus of a live presentation. Too much extraneous movement distracts from that.

        When you’re using a slide show for an online video then you might be present via your voice – but not in person. In which case the slide show has got to have more movement built into to keep the visual attention of the viewer.

        For that reason slide shows designed for these different roles have to be different IMO.
        Thoughts?

        Paul

        1. Danny Iny says:

          Hey Paul, we can definitely agree to disagree, but I’d rather meet in the middle, if there’s a comfortable place there for both of us. 😉

          I hear what you’re saying, and you’re right – if it’s just the video, with no person, then the video needs to be more dynamic and engaging, to keep and hold attention; having the presentation that “active” can even be distracting when there’s a human presenter. So you’re right about that, and I agree with you.

          That being said, I think that in terms of content, they are roughly equivalent; in either case, the slideshow goes along with either a human presenter or a human voice narration, and it isn’t appropriate or effective to cram all of the content into the video (you don’t need text for everything that is being said, for example); the video’s job is to hold interest and reinforce points that are being made in the audio.

          What do you think – does that make sense?

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