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Types of PowerPoint Presentations – Part 3: Conference Presentations

Woo, boy.  You are a presenting machine now.  It will not be long before someone asks you to present at a conference.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am assuming you are not being asked to explain how you cured cancer to one hundred cancer scientists.  Or “black-hat secrets of SEO” for the top one hundred SEO geeks on earth.  I assume those presentations will consist largely of dense gibberish on a page.  I am assuming instead that you have been asked to give a broader discussion to a more generalized audience.    Even in the above situations, one should seriously consider using the approach I describe below.

I don’t know how many of my readers have read Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”.  If you haven’t, go read it!  It is considered one of the seminal books on how to start companies and has core ideas there that will be critical to your thinking in the future.  One thing he talks about is how, as a company goes through various stages of its lifecycle, the way you manage the business changes.

The same is true of presentations.  When you are called on to do a conference presentation, it is a completely different kind of animal from all the rest of your presentations.  In fact, a good conference presentation requires you break the rules.  Here, people want a memorable story.  People want twists and turns.  People want the UNEXPECTED.  If you bite the head off a bat on stage, they will pay more attention to you than they have paid to any other speaker all day.  Think about it.

Your average conference presentation bores to tears.  To have a great presentation, the most important thing, in my opinion, is to entertain.  If you entertain, you have the chance to educate.  If you bore, you cannot possibly educate.  With that in mind, here are the new rules:

  • Slides should not have more than 6 words on them.
  • Slides should be dominated by an image that explains the point.

Here is a presentation I did for Ignite Baltimore.  Remember the Ignite rules, these slides are auto-advancing every 15 seconds.

No lie, many people thought it was the best presentation of the evening.

Flickr is a great place to find graphics for these kinds of presentations.

One Response to “Types of PowerPoint Presentations – Part 3: Conference Presentations”

  1. Google Revs Regulation Engine; TARGUSinfo and AdMeld Bring The Data; The Performance Rocket Says:

    [...] PowerPoint presentations in a trilogy of blog posts on "Deliverables", "Sales Presentations" and "Conferences." For his "Conference" post, Halliburton suggests presentation slides should not have more than 6 [...]