Jim Confalone is a partner and creative director with ProPoint Graphics and is responsible for production operations. With a background in fine arts, he got his start as a designer leading the graphics department at a boutique management consulting firm in Boston, Massachussetts. Prior to ProPoint, he also worked as a web, Flash, and graphic designer in the New York area. Mr. Confalone holds an MFA with Honors in Painting and Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA Summa Cum Laude in Fine Arts from Amherst College.
In this conversation, Jim talks about ProPoint’s Evolution of Business Presentation Technology graphic.
Geetesh: Your Evolution of Business Presentation Technology infographic goes back 2 centuries – how has presenting been the same during these two hundred years, and how has it been different?
Jim: The purpose of presentations hasn’t changed — they are still intended to inform, educate and persuade. What also hasn’t changed is presenters’ recognition of the importance of visuals to help them deliver powerful, engaging presentation, and also to help them communicate their message effectively.
Full graphic can be seen here.
Whether using a blackboard, magic lantern, or transparency projector, until recently the purpose of the delivery method has generally been to illustrate on large scale the core message of a presentation. What’s really fascinating are the new opportunities afforded by the growth of multimedia, online and interactive tools. Instead of just throwing something on the wall, you can now directly involve your audience on a whole new level with things like supporting video or animation, online links to external sources, or real-time interactive polling. And whenever you can make a direct connection to your audience your job becomes a whole lot easier.
Geetesh: Tell us about this infographic – why you created this, and was it fun creating this graphic?
Jim: Our interest in creating this infographic spawned from our desire to explore how we have arrived to where we are today. Presentations have become such an important business communication tool, we have so many options now, and have easier tools to use and access to them. We wanted to have a look back to see how our predecessors achieved their presentation goals.
Full graphic can be seen here.
We had a great time researching and putting the infographic together, especially for those of us who have actually had experience with some of these technologies that could easily be considered antiques. It’s always fun to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come.
Geetesh: Although presentation technology has evolved to such a large extent, memory retention and concentration from the audience has reduced. What can presenters do to involve their audiences more?
Jim: Use engaging visuals that holds the interest of the audience and helps you communicate your message. Avoid using too much text — if the audience has to read your presentation they will become bored and distracted. Limiting text on your slides will prevent you from using them as your script — reading slides disengages you from the audience. Consider using multimedia to break up your presentation and show the audience something fresh to re-spark interest. Also, consider making your presentation interactive by having asking questions, using props (professional and relevant) and surveys.