PowerPointless

overhead projector
There is probably one of these gathering dust in a classroom near you. It still has its uses.

PowerPointless. I really like that as the title of a presentation on the use of "slides" (even if it's Apple's Keynote instead of MS PowerPoint). We all know that it can be much abused, and yet it's in the majority of classrooms. You probably ask your students to do presentations. They get graded. What do you do to make their presentations better?

In the past few months, I've seen three mentions of assigning students (grades 7-20) to give a 90-second demo presentation. It doesn't seem tough. A script for one would be about 150 words, about one page of text. How much can you say in 90 seconds?

The point would be to force students to think about focus & polish and cutting out wasted time, words and images (or props).

What can you do in that amount of time? The very briefest of intros. Define the topic, problem or goal. Work through clearly defined steps. Multitask - talk and demo simultaneously, leading into the next step a beat before you actually do it. Do the steps build upon the previous one? Have a definite finish. Leave a slide or graphic up at the end with your name, demo title, etc. - end with the traditional intro.

Something this short can be scripted/storyboarded without it being a huge undertaking.

There is actually an event called Demo held twice a year where executives from 70+ companies get 6 minutes to do a product demo to an audience of venture capitalists, analysts, and journalists.

Check out:

  1. Video archive from previous Demo events
  2. Guy Kawasaki on How To Get A Standing Ovation
  3. Behind The Magic Curtain (demos with Steve Jobs)
  4. Tips for Successful Public Speaking from the Toastmasters.org
  5. Presentation Zen - a good blog to subscribe to

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