This is the print version of this page. All content is copyright Indezine.com 2000- .



The Presentation: A Story About Communicating Successfully With Very Few Slides: Conversation with Andrew Abela

Monday, October 11, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 4:01 PM IST





Andrew AbelaAndrew Abela is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Chairman of the Department of Business & Economics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and author of The Presentation: A Story About Communicating Successfully With Very Few Slides.

His consulting clients include Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Motorola, Burger King, eBay, and Kimberly-Clark. Prior to academia, he ran the Marketing Leadership Council, was a consultant with McKinsey & Co., and a brand manager at Procter & Gamble. He lives with his wife and their six children in Great Falls, Virginia, and was born and raised on the island of Malta.

Geetesh: Tell us about your new book, The Presentation: A Story About Communicating Successfully With Very Few Slides – it is a long title with a very short and interesting story. Also, what motivated you to write this book?

Andrew AbelaAndrew: The title is long because I wanted to emphasize the critical difference of this book: “Communicating Successfully With Very Few Slides.” The managers at the companies I work with on presentation design (Microsoft, Volkswagen, Wrigleys, HJ Heinz, Starbucks, and others) really value, almost above everything else – brevity. “Be brief, be bright, be gone” is what the senior executives they present to are telling them.

That’s what I tried to reflect in the book itself: how to develop presentations that are powerful and brief, often four, three, maybe even just one slide long. That’s why the book is so short (though the title isn’t!) I wanted readers to be able to sit down and complete the book in one sitting.

The motivation in writing the book was that, while I received lots of really positive feedback on my first book, Advanced Presentations by Design, the one negative comment I received was that it is too “academic.” I wanted to be sure that it was solidly based on scientific research, and it was, which made it not necessarily the lightest read. Since one of the topics I cover in that book is the role of storytelling in presentation, it occurred to me that I should try to capture the same principles, but in story form. Hence this new book, The Presentation.

Geetesh: You bundle all the existing presentations that include more visuals and less text into a category called ballroom style. And then you go ahead and explain what a conference room style presentation is. Is there really a distinct dividing line between both of them, can the line never be blurred?

Andrew: I believe that there are actually many different types of presentation style. And that’s the key point: you have to choose the right style for your particular presentation goal. So Ballroom style—visuals with minimal text, the kind promoted by Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds, for example—is for presenting big ideas to large audiences. Conference room style presentations: printed, lots of detail, but very visually attractive—the sort of thing that Edward Tufte advocates for—are more appropriate for when you’re trying to persuade a specific audience to do a particular thing or make a particular decision.

So if you’re selling a product, seeking approval for your project, raising funds, etc., then Conference room style is the way to go. That’s because if you’re asking someone to agree to or approve your proposal, then you need to provide them with all the details they need to make the decision. And that is done best through a paper handout, as Tufte argues.

I don’t claim that these are the only two styles. The Lessig method, for example, is another style, although it’s clearly related to Ballroom.

But there is a bright line between Ballroom and Conference room style presentations, and it’s specifically around the treatment of details. Details are for printed slides, not for projected slides. If you try to project details (thereby blurring both Ballroom and Conference room styles), that’s when you get “Death by PowerPoint.”

More information:

The Presentation: A Story About Communicating Successfully With Very Few Slides is available on Amazon.com for US$ 7.50.

It’s also available as a free ebook to anyone who signs up for my email list

Some additional details about Ballroom vs. Conference room style are also available in a “Change This” manifesto I wrote, called Presenting to Small Audiences: Turn Off the Projector!

Categories: books, interviews, powerpoint

Labels: , ,

Comments





Archives

April 2003  |   May 2003  |   December 2003  |   January 2004  |   February 2004  |   March 2004  |   April 2004  |   May 2004  |   June 2004  |   July 2004  |   August 2004  |   September 2004  |   October 2004  |   November 2004  |   December 2004  |   January 2005  |   February 2005  |   March 2005  |   April 2005  |   May 2005  |   June 2005  |   July 2005  |   August 2005  |   September 2005  |   October 2005  |   November 2005  |   December 2005  |   January 2006  |   February 2006  |   March 2006  |   April 2006  |   May 2006  |   June 2006  |   July 2006  |   August 2006  |   September 2006  |   October 2006  |   November 2006  |   December 2006  |   January 2007  |   February 2007  |   March 2007  |   April 2007  |   May 2007  |   June 2007  |   July 2007  |   August 2007  |   September 2007  |   October 2007  |   November 2007  |   December 2007  |   January 2008  |   February 2008  |   March 2008  |   April 2008  |   May 2008  |   June 2008  |   July 2008  |   August 2008  |   September 2008  |   October 2008  |   November 2008  |   December 2008  |   January 2009  |   February 2009  |   March 2009  |   April 2009  |   May 2009  |   June 2009  |   July 2009  |   August 2009  |   September 2009  |   October 2009  |   November 2009  |   December 2009  |   January 2010  |   February 2010  |   March 2010  |   April 2010  |   May 2010  |   June 2010  |   July 2010  |   August 2010  |   September 2010  |   October 2010  |   November 2010  |   December 2010  |   January 2011  |   February 2011  |   March 2011  |   April 2011  |   May 2011  |   June 2011  |   July 2011  |   August 2011  |   September 2011  |   October 2011  |   November 2011  |   December 2011  |   January 2012  |   February 2012  |   March 2012  |   April 2012  |   May 2012  |   June 2012  |   July 2012  |   August 2012  |   September 2012  |   October 2012  |   November 2012  |   December 2012  |   January 2013  |   February 2013  |   March 2013  |   April 2013  |   May 2013  |   June 2013  |   July 2013  |   August 2013  |   September 2013  |   October 2013  |   November 2013  |   December 2013  |   January 2014  |   February 2014  |   March 2014  |   April 2014  |   May 2014  |   June 2014  |   July 2014  |   August 2014  |   September 2014  |   October 2014  |   November 2014  |   December 2014  |   January 2015  |   February 2015  |   March 2015  |   April 2015  |   May 2015  |   June 2015  |   July 2015  |   August 2015  |   September 2015  |   October 2015  |   November 2015  |   December 2015  |   January 2016  |   February 2016  |   March 2016  |   April 2016  |   May 2016  |   June 2016  |   July 2016  |   August 2016  |   September 2016  |   October 2016  |   November 2016  |   December 2016  |   January 2017  |   February 2017  |   March 2017  |  




Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Home | PowerPoint | Photoshop | PowerPoint Templates | PowerPoint Tutorials | Blog | Notes | Ezine | Advertise | Feedback | Site Map | About Us | Contact Us

Link to Us | Privacy | Testimonials

PowerPoint Backgrounds | Christian PowerPoint Backgrounds | Business PowerPoint Presentation Templates

Plagiarism will be detected by Copyscape

©2000-2016, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000