A while ago, I sat through two consecutive presentations on related topics, the first was energising, interesting, and memorable, the second was cold, dirty, dishwater.

Thinking about the manner of the presentations, rather than the value of the words,  led to the conclusion that the difference was more than the capacity of the presenters to sell a story, which was markedly different, it was also about the manner the story was presented.

The first used a visual backdrop as a tool to highlight key points, and make them memorable by creating some emotion, and the visuals were very sparse, terriffic. The second used the built in capacity of Powerpoint to drive the agenda of the presentation, demonstrate the speakers mastery of the program, and provide speaker notes to the audience, dishwater.

The reason a presentation is given, whether it be to a few colleagues in an office communicating  a routine matter, or thousands in a auditorium presenting a world changing idea or view, is the same. It exists to get a sale, to create buy-in to an idea, gain agreement, and approval. Whatever the driver, a presentation seeks to communicate and engage.  No chance of doing that by boring people to death.

Seth Godin, one of the best salesmen of an idea around came up with a rant against Powerpoint some years ago, his arguments were thumped into me by the juxtaposition of these two presentations.