Changing the presentation culture

If you are reading this blog, you are probably already part of the tribe of people that want to change the way the world present ideas to each other. The problem is how to convert the other 99% of your co-workers. I see two routes.

Robust PowerPoint templates. Leaving aside the discussion of what is a beautiful PowerPoint template, and what is not (you know my preference for the white page), and assume that the design has been agreed. Usually, people stop here, but there is important programming work to do afterwards. Setting the fonts and the colors to the right default, removing the standard bullet point opening framework from the slide master, etc. This is a computer programming, not a design job that should make the PowerPoint template “idiot-proof”. This is the technical route.

Low-risk events. It is hard to experiment with a new way of presenting in a high-stakes external presentation (i.e, your next earnings announcement). Instead, pick an internal presentation. Maybe the annual sales conference? Have an employee who is converted to the tribe give his presentation in a new and unusual way. Give unusual restrictions for the slide decks to be used in the internal conference: instead of telling people not to exceed 5 slides, tell them that they are not allowed to use bullet points in their deck. As people get exposed to a different way of presentation, the confidence might be getting stronger for the next generation of people to join your tribe, and bit by bit, take the new presentation culture to external presentations as well.