Killing with PowerPoint

13 May, '09

In business, the quickest way to lose a prospect is to kill them by PowerPoint. Believe me I have seen that happen. Countless times. But presentations are a fact of life and is one of the best ways to impart your knowledge and experience.

Barack is a TERRORIST!The trick; though, is to engage your audience regardless of how sexy your slides are and however many pictures, animations or videos those slides contain. And, if you want to do this – presenting – successfully, then you’d better learn from avowed experts in the field and emulate not their content, but their style and mold it to your own.

TED is probably one of the best sites you can not only learn how to present from – by emulating the excellent people who have been invited to share their thoughts in their various forums – but much more importantly to get inspired in a very wide range of subjects by as well. Believe me, you will be a better person by opening your eyes, heart and mind to almost all the presentations and presenters contained in TED.

Not unsurprisingly, they have a “ten commandments” which successful presenters will want to stick to for any topic (yes, that also translates to sales):

    1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
    2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
    3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
    4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
    5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
    6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
    7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
    8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
    9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
    10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

In order for you to watch how these rules are applied, read the list on Garr Raynold’s Prezentation Zen blog and watch his recommendations. I assure you they are worth your while.

Yeah, I have a bit of free time and I’m almost fed up of being limited by Facebook, so, I’ll blog whenever and wherever my fancy is tickled… just – please – don’t expect miracles. Life does go on.

Happy, DK? 😉

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Comments (12)

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  1. Eyad says:

    He’s back!

    I think is THE best website of all time in terms of design and importantly content, I’m also trying to convince a few guys in heading to India to catch TED India in November.

  2. mahmood says:

    I’m with you. Seriously.

  3. Welcome back!

    TED have an open translation project now, too, if anyone is interested in getting involved:

    More info from Ethan Zuckerman:

  4. Maya Rao says:

    Welcome back! You were missed.

  5. – Thou shalt know thy stuff! (and not try to blag it)

  6. DK says:

    DK is indeed happy …. I knew you wouldn’t last long in the non-blogging world!

  7. mahmood says:

    Well, you were one of the main instigators for this DK, so I blame you. Guess who the next MtvSM is going to be!!

  8. Ann says:

    The Blogfather has spoken! And therefore my presentations will be much improved, now and forevermore. A happy student.

  9. steve the american says:

    The most highbrow critique of PowerPoint comes Edward Tufte’s essay on PowerPoint, “The Cognitive Stye of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within”:

    Tufte makes a convincing argument that the style of PowerPoint dumbs down material, often in dangerous ways.

    As an aside, Tufte has written several well-executed books on presenting information which are applicable to anyone displaying info like web designers, salesmen, technical writers, managers pitching ideas. I recommend “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,” a beautiful and interesting book.

    Just seeing the famous chart of Napoleon’s March into Russia illustrate’s Tufte’s approach of incorporating more dimensions of information in a visual display:

    If you learn this alone, you’ve learned a lot that can help your PowerPoints.

  10. Anonny says:

    The best presentations I ever saw were from a creative director who drew and sketched as he was pitching. Genius.

  11. abhishek says:

    Thanks for posting about TEDIndia. Just a reminder that those who wish to apply for the TEDIndia Fellows the deadline is a week from today June 15, 2009. Information here at

  12. mashtan says:

    Thanks for coming back! We americans missed you!

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