Q and A after my webinar

I did a webinar last week and about 130 people from all over the world attended. The topic was on How to Make a Great  PowerPoint presentation. At the end of the webinar, a number of questions (20 to be exact) were posed.

I have included the questions (unedited) and my corresponding answers to each one below:

Oues.1: Norman I use 3 to 4 bullet points in an slide, however when the slide is first shown the audience dose not see all the bullet points until I’m ready to discuss the next bullet point, I then click again (on the same slide) to reveal the next bullet and discuss it. This seems to work for me, what are your thoughts on this system reguarding bullet points.

Answer: That is better than showing all the bullet points at once. You don’t want the audience to get ahead of your talk.

Oues.2: While I agree with the basic points he made, (image with few words) his own slides were not particularly polished. (Blobs of blue with some text next to a picture). This webinar is good for presenters with little experience, but I was hoping for something more. He spent way too much time showing bad slides. (That case could have been made with 3 examples instead of 10 or more).

Answer: I showed 10 or more bad slides because there are so many bad slides out there. Not sure what you were hoping for. More bells and whistles?

Oues.3: I’m going to try Mr. Wei’s ideas in my next presentation. That said, the repetition in his slides and banter is crazy-making for me. That goes for the excessive examples of bad slides, to the excessive examples of 5 slides idea, and so on.

Answer: Glad you are willing to try out my ideas.

Oues.4: What about a slide with 3 bullets and one picture…is that bad?

Answer: Yes..that’s bad. Remember this: billet points are YOUR speaking notes. Why do you have to show the audience your speaking notes?

Oues.5: You’re repeating the slides many times. Is this done to help the audience remember the key points?

Answer: Yes..tell them what you are going to show, show them and tell them what you have shown. You remember them, don’t you?

Oues.6: Does using visuals for abstract ideas work even if the visual has no real basis in reality? Showing Rodin’s Thinker for example to demonstrate comtemplation?

Answer: If the topic is too abstract, show a picture and talk about it. If it is too abstract to show, do a handout.

Oues.7: I know you don’t like bullet points, but what do you think about the 6×6 rule?

Answer: Don’t believe in 6 X 6 rule. Six bullet points is 6 too many.

Oues.8: What are some good sources (preferrably free) for good pictures and visuals?

Answer: Take your own pictures if possible. Or go to istock. They are not free but very reasonable.

Oues.9: do you do web conferences?

Answer: Yes I do.

Oues.10: Norman, how many slides was this presentation?

Answer: I used 111 slides and they were all FREE!

Oues. 11: What are your thoughts about handouts of the presentation? My bosses believe that you should have the least amount of slides as possible because they always do handouts of the presentation.

Answer: Always handout the material at the END of your presentation. You do not want your audience to be reading your handout while you talk.

Oues.12: one question what if we include animation or excel sheet

Answer: Do not use animation unless you are presenting a cartoon show. Imbedded videos are fine. No excel sheet! Audience can’t read and analyze the numbers while you are talking!!

Oues.13: What about audience expecation tho? Some people expect to see many words, and if they don’t, they believe you haven’t delivered!

Answer: Audience wants many words on the screen? I don’t think so. Just becasue th audience is used to crap (bullet points) is no reason to give them crap. You deliver by TALKING about your ideas – not reading them off the screen.

Oues.14: how about calculations and formulae? is there a place for pics?

Answer: Use simple pics for formulae. If it take 5 pages to explain your calculation, give them a handout. There are presentation tools out there that allow you to do sketching and draw out your formulae.

Oues.15: What is your feeling of using fade in and out of points on a single slide using a representative, meaningful graphic.

Answer: A bit of fade in and out is OK. You do NOT want your audience to be distracted by the fancy animation unless you are doing a cartoon show.

Oues.16: should we include refrences in the presentation?

Answer: NO.  Give them a list of references in your handout at the END of the presentation.

Oues.17: The problem with having 100 slides is that you will, by default, spend 30 seconds on each slide.  That means you will have a 50 minute presentation which is too long in most cases.

Answer: There is no law that requires you to spend 30 seconds on each slide. You spend more time on some and less on others. If you only have 30 minutes, reduce the number of points in your presentation. You can’t tell the entire history of the western civilization in 50 minutes.

Oues.18: Does this apply in preparing for teaching university classes?

Answer: Absolutely….talk to the class and give handout at the end of a particular discussion.

Oues.19: do i have rehease the slide before presentation?

Answer: Rehearse the content and timing of the presentation. Do NOT memorize your talk. You don’t want to sound like a robot. Show passion! Not dullness.

Oues.20: A bit crude, but a boss once told me the infomation on a slide should be like a mini-skirt: long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.

Answer: Yes..a bit crude but true nonetheless.

16 responses to “Q and A after my webinar

  1. About question 8 (getting free pictures), just a few weeks ago I wrote a post on that subject: http://remotepossibilities.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/how-to-find-1000s-of-great-free-photos/

    (Over the last couple of years, I’ve downloaded 2500 free, high-quality photos for use in PowerPoint.)

    Also, tomorrow night I’m presenting an Ignite talk about doing Q&A, so this and other recent posts on your site are very topical – thanks!

    (For people who don’t know, Ignite is a 5-minute presentation format. See http://www.ignitesydney.com/speakers/ for the very varied line-up.)

  2. This Q&A session reminded me of my technique… useful even in an iPad age!
    When I am creating a new presentation I often use old printed A4 sheets of paper that I guilotine in half… I can then sketch and scribble about what each slide might communicate… but the point of this is to tell you what I have read on the back of two sheets that must be several years old:
    Can you give an effective presentation? A good presentation goes beyond knowing your subject matter inside and out. Of course it’s important to fully understand your topic of discussion – but if you cannot successfully convey that information to another person, then what does it matter? How succesful are your presentations? Is your audience riveted, hanging on every word? Or are they glancing at their watches, drumming their fingers on the desk or – worse yet – dozing off?
    …establish a confident connection at the moment you begin to speak and never lose it…. take a look at the audience-walk in with a spring in your step-and then pause-take a step forward and then start talking…. most people have a tendency to lean back and even step back when they are speaking…they should do the opposite, “Everything about presenting is moving forward. You want to be moving forward because moving forward is being more connected.”
    Then at the bottom of the next sheet:
    3 major fundementals: connecting with your audience, framing your message and practice….. and also…
    I wonder where the other half sheets are?

  3. Jim…great points. Many speakers stand behind the lectern and hold on to the edges with dear life. It is as if they are using the lectern as a shield from the audience. It is much better to stand beside the lectern or move forward towards the audience. But the speaker also has to respect the audience’s personal space and not get too close. I wrote about this speaker who literally came within a foot of someone (a stranger) in the audience. That made that person very uncomfortable. I thought he was going to kiss her.

    • Yes… I was thinking after I had commented that ‘in your face’ delivery could be a little frightening and fear makes you forget which is the wrong outcome!

  4. Norm, I’d like to read Jim’s blog but the blogroll link seems to be broken. What’s the URL these days? Thanks.

  5. Craig….maybe Jim took his blog down. Jim…if you are reading this, can you provide us with a new link – if you have one.

  6. This should work…
    I haven’t posted since the credit crunch made me look at all costs and revenues.. typepad lost out but discussion sites won.. but if you find something of interest then we can discuss in a presentational manner!
    Brenda McClean of McClean Communications put it this way..
    “Let me describe what excellent speakers have in common. They have something of value to say to me – and they mean it… whether it’s to persuade, inform or entertain.”

  7. JIm…did you just send us a link? I don’t see it.

  8. Ernestine Small

    Norman, I did a presentation using your recommendations on Monday, March 19th. I used the first five slides as recommended and a slide to make each of my points. At first I was intimidated, overwhelmed and almost abandoned the notion of changing my ways. I stuck with it and I experienced the positive rewards. i received outstanding evaluations, I was confident and I knew my content in a way that promoted conversation and stories with the audience. Your method works!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. i will be monitoring your blog for more ideas

    • Thank you for your feedback. It takes a bit of work and the payoff is immediate. Many people throw a bunch of words on the screen because it is much easier than thinking through the presentation process.

    • The ‘father of general semantics’ Alfred Korzybski inspired communicators with the idea that language and language structure have an impact on perception and action …. he said if only we would change the way we talk, we could change the way we think and perceive…… which is precisely what you did by sticking with your innovative way of presenting [innovation changes the world of the receiver of that innovation i. e. you made an impact].

  9. Pingback: Norman leaves a mark with his webinar on creating and delivering GREAT presentation! – authorSTREAM

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