Patti Sanchez is from Duarte, and works as Senior Vice President of Strategic Services. Her keynote on Wednesday morning at the Presentation Summit was on the topic of “Memos, Memes, and Movements.”
She began by saying that “the biggest changes have nothing to do with technology, but with people. Our attention is shrinking. And retaining attention is becoming a challenge since media and smartphones give us information in smaller and smaller bytes.”
She then provided TED Talks as an example and said that “one of the reasons for this change is probably TED, where in a few minutes, presenters express so much — imagine that in 20 minutes, Sir Ken Robinson looked at the whole concept of education. And in three and a half minutes, Richard St. John gave us the 8 secrets of success in life.”
No wonder Patti has found that requests are increasing for creating keynotes that are shorter! An hour long keynote has sometimes become as small as 15 minutes! She then humorously hoped that hopefully the pay for these smaller keynotes will not get as small!
Hans Rosling gave the shortest TED talk ever in just 51 seconds.
On channels like Vine, Patti has found even smaller presentations — like 6 seconds long! One Vine from Virgin America shows how someone can fold boarding passes! Another Vine is about Oreo Popcorn! There’s also a 6 second Vine on making Cuba Libre.
All these media trends are changing the ways people want to consume information — calling them “atomic” presentations — they are getting smaller and smaller.
Patti then explained the forces behind these changes. She said that these changes are happening because “audiences are rebelling.” And they rebel in different ways. For example, when some speaker is rambling, Twitter streams explode with tweets such as “I survived the #theweb09 keynote”! Someone even made a T-Shirt using this tweet!
Patti then provided quotes from Sir Richard Branson (Founder and Chairman, Virgin Group), Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon) and Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn) that illustrate negative attitudes about presentations. Patti went on to say that we’ve all heard the jokes about “death by PowerPoint” but the fact is people still use it, in more ways than ever.
For instance, Patti said, “Hubspot created their graphics in PowerPoint using just basic shapes — non-designers love to create graphics. In addition, many people are using PowerPoint to create memes.”
Patti also shared many more thoughts, and these are all listed here in no particular order:
- Slides are becoming a platform for content marketing because it’s easy for people to open and start creating graphics.
- PowerPoint is probably installed on maybe a billion computers and is useful for lots of things since presentation software is where ideas begin and stay. For instance, slides are used to spread ideas across organizations, from the CEO to everyone else, including sales, R&D, marketing, analysts, investors, etc. By the time these messages have moved, the CEO has a new idea and this process repeats again.
- Slides are visual — and the ratio of text to visuals can be manipulated so that visuals take more place.
- Slides are compact — if you follow best practices, slides force you to be concise — one idea on a slide that people can easily absorb.
- Slides are readable — it’s easy to share slides, and they are naturally modular.
- Spread slides online — as email attachments, web pages, and videos that can be shared.
- Slides are central to marketing and communication strategy and are becoming a platform for strategic communication.
Patti then spoke about her experiences with presentations at Duarte, where she has seen their slides used by clients as a strategic communication platform:
- A healthcare services company came to Duarte and asked them to help launch a new product. They asked Duarte to help tell their story with a presentation because they had no ad agency. They also used Duarte’s slides as booth graphics in a trade show and the same models, core graphics and icons showed up as infographics and handouts for sales teams.
- Mary Meeker can pack more information in slides than anyone else — she had very dense slides. She came to Duarte with a massive deck of 400 such slides, and she wanted to publish these slides so that people could take graphics from these slides and drop them in their own presentations. And using Slidedocs, her slides were used to create a book that’s available on Amazon — and then her slides were also saved to video and uploaded to YouTube. Bill Gates also tweeted about her thereafter.
Patti then spoke more about Slidedocs. She said that presentations are content with less text whereas documents are content with much more text. Duarte felt that there was something in the middle that was missing — and thus the concept of Slidedocs was born.
At the slide level, a reader can get the idea from the heading. At the macro level, they can further go to Slide Sorter view and get a deeper idea.
Slidedocs are holistic, succinct, editable, and spreadable. But Slidedocs should not be used everywhere — they are more meant to be read than projected. Slidedocs perform many roles:
- Pre-Read: Best as a pre-read before the meeting — more like what Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos said.
- Emissary: They represent you and earn you the right to be in the room. They help you put your best foot forward even when you are not in-the-door.
- Reference: Works great as a reference tool — such as handouts. These act as a supplement to the projected slide.
- Follow-up: Slidedocs are also great for sharing content after a presentation — a better way to provide content with more detail than was included within the presented slides.
So how do you decide when to use slides or Slidedocs?
- Who is the audience? If they already know much about the topic you are discussing, you can use slides. But if they need more detail, then send them Slidedocs ahead of time.
- Think about the story. If they need details then use Slidedocs! But what if you want to convey emotion? What if you want to take the audience on a journey that uplifts them? Then use a cinematic presentation.