I don’t want to tell you how to do your presentations. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I’d love to tell you how to do your presentations, especially if I might have to listen to one of them. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s not the design, it’s the lack of thought behind the slide that bothers me. Which is why I’m very fond of Indexed, a blog run by Jessica Hagy that publishes a graph or diagram drawn on an index card once a day, every day.
Indexed isn’t a secret – it even has its own book and range of T-shirts, and has clever graphs about anything from chewing gum to virginity to dog breeding:
None of her thoughts took longer than 30 seconds to draw (I’m guessing), but it probably much longer to think about the point they’re making – the opposite of most presentation slides I see. And five minutes of browsing at Indexed is more stimulating than most one-hour presentations. Try it. After a couple of minutes you’ll be chuckling to yourself and clicking on the little envelope that emails the picture of the index card to your mates.
This might not seem very relevant if you’ve got 30 slides to deliver on process optimisation at 9am tomorrow, but you’re so wrong. Nagy’s talent is to make us work out the point she’s making by using our imagination and making our own connections. You’re much more likely to understand and to remember it afterwards.
Of course, to do this, you do need to have a point - but that’s another post.
Even if you sneak just one Indexed-inspired thought into your presentation, you’re waking your audience’s brain from its bullet-point-induced slumber. Delete your corporate SnoozePoint, go to the pub for inspiration, draw your slides with a biro on index cards for tomorrow’s process optimisation presentation when you get home at 1am, and get ready to cause a sensation. Imagine your excitement when you wake up at 8.35 on the morning of the presentation thinking, “Why is there a pile of index cards where my laptop should be?” While you might be unemployed by the end of the day, you’ll be a hero of Talknormalism.