Cliff Atkinson is an acclaimed writer, a popular keynote speaker, and an independent communications consultant to leading attorneys and Fortune 500 companies. He crafted the presentation that persuaded a jury to award a $253 million verdict to the plaintiff in the nation’s first Vioxx trial in 2005, which Fortune magazine called “frighteningly powerful.”
Cliff’s bestselling book, Beyond Bullet Points (published by Microsoft Press) was named a Best Book of 2007 by the editors of Amazon and has been published in four editions and translated into a dozen languages including Chinese, Korean, and Russian. Cliff’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News.
In this conversation, Cliff talks about the 4th edition of his book, Beyond Bullet Points.
Cliff: This is the version of the book that I wish would have been available for readers in its first edition way back in 2005 – it’s finally in full-color and is packed with new examples, tips and techniques for readers.
PowerPoint is always in color and I’ve always wanted the book to show color examples and am so glad we’ve finally been able to provide that.
Geetesh: We spoke about what’s in this book for those who’ve read the older versions. But, approaching this book, from the perspective of a new user—how will they benefit, will they have to unlearn, and what will be their takeaways?
Cliff: The book offers a different way to approach PowerPoint, where you focus first on the story, structure and strategy, and only after having that in place do you begin to work on slides. By having the message in place first, you bypass the frustration of having to revise overloaded and confusing slides. Some of the most important takeaways are:
- Write an outline in complete thoughts to ensure your message flows and holds together
- Distill your message to 3 Key Points and create a slide for each one
- From Slide Sorter you should be able to see the beginning, middle and end of your story; and read the story from one slide to the next