Monthly Archives: August 2009

Don Hewitt knew!

tell me a storyThe famous producer of 60-Minutes Don Hewitt passed away yesterday. The reason his show was so successful was because he knew what every children knew and wanted: Tell me a story!

He delivered. He told stories. Thank you!

Presentations are just that – telling a story. And we certainly do not tell stories by using bullet points!

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Talking points without a talker is pointless

risk IDHere is a slide on a fairly esoteric topic – risk identification. The author posted it on slideshare for all to see. That’s fine.

The problem is that the slide contains talking points presented as bulletpoints. Without the author standing next to the slide to ELABORATE on his talking points, the reader is left with trying to decipher what is behind those cryptic talking points.  

A much better way for the author to communicate his ideas is to hand out his report – with complete sentences and paragraphs – in PDF format so that the reader can understand it.

I wrote about this problem awhile back. Corporate America has replaced written reports that contain complete sentences with PowerPoint slides with cryptic bullet points. The readers are forced to read between the points!

Talking points without a talker is useless.

Use wheelbarrow words in your presentations

iStock_bricks in wheel barrowWhen making a presentation, try to use as many wheelbarrow words as possible. What are wheelbarrow words? These are words that you can put inside a wheelbarrow. Here is an example:

Instead of saying that your construction firm is the “largest” in the neighborhood, you tell the audience you have 5 bulldozers and 3 cranes. People have different perception of what the word “largest” means based on their own experience. But everyone can visualize the bulldozers and construction cranes. They can all fit in a wheelbarrow – albeit a pretty big one. when they can “see” your words, they understand you.

Wheelbarrow words help minimize misunderstanding.