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Zen presentations: focus on individual

While talking with a colleague about minimalistic presentations (~ Presentation zen style) I noticed something I didn’t pay attention before: how dropping everything, including corporate templates, focuses attention on the presenter, not the organisation he represents.

And then I keep wondering if those corporate templates actually do anything – when I hear a good talk I remember the speaker, not the company. May be it’s one more illusion of corporate communication departments…

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Norman Dragt October 31, 2008, 17:54

    I do not think that communication departments really expect anything to come from the use of a corporate template.
    The first reason to make employees use the template is ownership. The ideas in a presentation made during working hours are property of the organization.
    The second reason is to make it clear, that if you want to invite the speaker to give his presentation again, you are free to do so. But you should expect the possibility that the organization sends someone else. The reason for that could off course be that the original presenter left.

    And although it would be difficult to prove, that someone is using information in a presentation, that is property of his previous employer, the prove becomes easier if he is using the original presentation.

    I must admit, that most presentations are better without the company template, as most templates are over the top and there to draw attention.
    And you are absolutely write, that I would sooner remember the presenter than the company. I would also sooner contact the presenter than the company, because I would expect him to know more about the subject, than anyone else in his company. Why would they have sent him, if someone else would have been better suited?

  • Gabriele October 31, 2008, 19:11

    Hi Lilia, I would like to share a though about this issue.

    I question that an audience will remember the affiliation of the speaker because of the company template. I also do not completely agree that a minimalist approach moves the attention to the speaker. I would rather say, it moves the attention to the speech, how it should be.

    I have assisted many time to presentations where the logo of the company was repeated in every slide (or where the “outlook” of the slides was related somehow with the company’s colors) but still it do not help me in remember the company’s name. What I remember is an annoying sensation, like a pebble in my shoe .. instead I remember the speaker.

    And, if I try to visualize something (of the presentation), I barely remember the first slides where the (still obscure) name of the company is blurred because of name of the speaker, the title, emails etc.

    On the contrary, I remember very well the affiliation of the first “zen-like” presentation I saw. One slide, with the Big, HUGE, logo only. Then I also enjoyed the “show”.

    I think that the “habit” of putting a logo, a background image, whatever, is because the slides are pre-prepared to be left as hand-notes; and it is a bad habit, which I recognized I have done many time.

    Slides are not hand-notes nor lecture notes.
    The patch, consisting of overfilling them with text to “get close” to the hand-notes style, makes them worse and heavily affect the quality of the presentation.

    Being aware of this mechanisms, in my opinion, is at least a step forward.

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