Lights! Camera! Action! PowerPoint Rules from Hollywood

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by Simon Morton

Here’s one for you to ponder – what’s your favourite film? A strange question, but never the less a valid one to illustrate our point.

When you take a look at the never ending lists of “best films ever” there is always a common theme with the front runners – a quality story.

Few chart toppers are CGI packed films with paper thin scripts because whilst they may look good at the time, they very rarely stay in the mind. There may be the odd exception (Die Hard in our opinion) but these exceptions are tend to have something different about them.

It would seem that even in Hollywood, you can’t get ahead on looks alone…

Hollywood - Framed

The same principle applies to business presentations. Slides that are packed full of inventive builds and jaw dropping graphics will certainly get peoples attention but it’s the story behind these that will burn itself into your audience’s mind. Focusing on the story is therefore the most important part of any presentation preparation. Don’t get us wrong – if you can deliver your compelling story in a visually impressive way (and yes, we’re here to help with that as well!) then all to the good. But good looks without depth are simply here today, gone tomorrow.

As we’ve said time and time again – work to make your presentation more effective, not just prettier (we call this process Presentation Optimisation).

A good presentation should not only get you noticed but, more importantly, make sure you’re remembered.

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2 Responses to “Lights! Camera! Action! PowerPoint Rules from Hollywood”

  1. Pam Brossman says:

    Very good point to make but I also think it is important to think of ways that you can optimise not only for the people the presentation has been created for but also the ‘people’ it can be shared with.
    It is important to figure out:
    1. What is the key message you want people to take away from this presentation
    2. What story can I portray visually or with words that will make this presentation memorable and wordofmouth viral?
    3. What call to action do I want to give at the end that makes people take the next step whatever that may be
    4. How can I distribute this presentation to get maximum exposure and ROT (return on time) invested in the message of the presentation

    Answers these questions and then choose the best methodology for getting that message across visually or using keywords, phrases, stories or video throughout the presentation.

    Distribution is the key…share the message and the call to action make it memorable and ROI and ROT will be HUGE!

  2. I have been thinking about this a bit recently too, how we can take slide composition and presentation design lessons from the movies.

    I think for me the rule of thirds is the most important when designing slides http://clearlypresentable.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/the-rule-of-thirds-part-2-how-to-do-it/

    Another thought I read recently was, have you ever seen lists of bullet points in a documentary movie? most presentations should be like documentaries… they tend not to be!

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