I recently attended a non-work-related conference outside. (Can you just imagine?) Since the majority of these presenters were artists and not sales people there was a variety of approaches to using slides. Many were the tired-and-true pages of bullets. Others were pretty dynamic. It got me to thinking about my approaches to slides.
I admit freely that I'm not a big fan of slide presentations. I think in many cases the presenter is hidden in the dark while a big glowy screen looms over the audience. There is little connection with the speaker, who basically takes on the role of soundtrack. I would personally rather have a conversation with my audience... but I understand that's not always possible or reasonable.
Some of the best presentations I saw kept things focused on the speaker and the slides acted more as scenery. They set a tone and highlighted the topic, but didn't take focus away from the speaker. Some even used music to help set the mood on some points.
With this in my head I did a little digging and found this interesting blog entry byentitled . It's a good starting place to get your brain going. Presentations are theatre, shown to people who are used to getting their theatre from television and films. The most exciting message can be lost in dreary, predictable packaging. I've not really thought about it from that perspective before. You can bet I'm going to work it into my next presentation opportunity.