Thursday, September 11, 2008

Now Presenting...

Here's an email I sent to my manager about a presentation he had me review. It's snarky, and very blunt. I hope the presentation will be better for it.

I'm reviewing your Green Presentation. I'll attach my thoughts to this email as they occur.

Slides 2 and 3 are busy and very hard to read. The font is too small, not contrasted and enough with the background.

Slide 2: I hope to hear what the average household consumption has to do with how we can help be green at [our company] (if you make the point then the content of this is fine, I guess)

Slide 3: This slide has the worst layout. The text keeps getting smaller. Lose the footnote, make it an endnote or make it a legit part of the slide. People will stop to squint at this instead of listening to you.

Slides 4 & 5: Hooray, graphs! The white pixilated charts look really ugly on this background.

Read this and think about these:

Slide 6: I still worry that this is too risqué. I like the humor. I would leave this up

Slide 7: I like the slide, you missed the 's' in "headquarters"

Slide 8: The slide is fine, at this point I'm just wondering why an IT guy is talking about the building specs.

Slide 11: Not crazy about the slide, text and images all over the place. The title is missing the word "are"

Slide 12: The graph is off center. We don't have ANY clue about the power draw of OUR data center? If we do, you look really lazy when you don't include it. If not, it makes it seem like we don't care. Expect questions about this.

Slide 13: Is that a power bill or your cell phone bill? I can't tell. Consider zooming in and cropping the bill so that a readable section is shown, that section should include the bill total. For better effect, don't crop this as a square...

Slide 14: One of the few legible graphics in this presentation and you put the words in it directly under it as well? Welcome to the department of redundancy department. If you're going to use this then get rid of that ugly copyright notice.

Slide 15: Interest photo. Be prepared to segway into this photo so that the listener knows why you put it there. Why isn't it full screen?

Slide 16: Not so interesting photo. Er, I guess it's interesting. It feels contrived. Still small, the focal point of this presentation has been the background.

Slide 17: The text is okay, I'm not wild about the picture proliferation.

Slide 18: Exclamation points!!!!! Nothing gets me more excited.

Slide 19: Thermostat: boring. Monkeys: adorable. Guess which should be changed and/or which should be bigger?

Slide 20: I like the picture, and sort of like the message. The problem I have is that it seems to condone that sort of excessive waste during Christmas. That says to people: it's okay during this time of year, people do this. That translates to, why bother? I say you make fun of the overdone display. Tell people that it's ridiculous and tell them that if we claim to be green and don't practice simple green habits this is how we'll look to our clients.

Slide 21: I love the picture, and wish it were even bigger to cover up that background. If it had a power button in plain view it would be absolutely perfect.

Slide 22: Use of bold is ineffective at best, obnoxious at worst. It comes off as demanding rather than highlighting. It should be bolder so that it's skimmable or it should be removed.

Slide 23: I don't care for the play on words in the title. By the time I'm reading point one I have to go back and reread the title to figure out what you're doing there.

Slide 24: The comparison between Japan and our company is confusing. You have one Fahrenheit number and one Celsius, then below two Fahrenheit. Keep your slides to a single measurement system, please! Hopefully your talk would make clear how a country compares to our business.

Slide 25: You're not winning any friends telling them to be warm in the summer and cold in the winter. Be prepared for questions about whether any energy savings would be offset by the increased fan and space heater usage these measures would bring.

Slide 26: Don't use money to qualify these changes. Use energy. You can use money as a secondary factor. The people there do not care about saving the company a few dollars. Period.

Slide 27: Another copyright watermark. This presentation makes you look like a cheap infringer.

Oh my. I just actually played the presentation rather than just viewing slides. Don't use cheesy transitions and make text bounce around. That's just annoying.

Slide 29: I'm willing to bet you could make the same point with only 2 of those pictures. If you can't, then it's fine. If you can make the same point with only one picture then that's what you should do. Be prepared to explain the device.

Slide 30: So much information for a single slide. Expect your audience to spend upwards of 30 seconds reading this instead of listening to you.

Slide 31: Good slide, why all the empty space? If you don't want to have the text take up the entire slide it should at least be centered or something.

Slide 32: Shouldn't exist. This is something you should say not have them read.

Repeat this for every slide through 41. What's the point here? Watch Letterman tonight. Copy his top 10 style: visually you should have 2 slides, 5 points on each. The point on the slide should be very short and you should have your talking points expand upon the slide's point. Make each item in the list appear one a time, but the list should be cohesive.

Slide 42: Numbers! Quick: how many numbers can the average human retain at once? Hint: this slide exceeds the answer.

Slide 43: This slide should not exist. It's utterly pointless. No human can read this slide and pay attention to anything you're saying. Anything with this amount of info should be in a handout (read: document on the network) or completely excluded.

Slide 44: See Slide 43.

Slide 45: Computer: Boring. Kid: Cute. Guess which one should be removed?

Slide 46: This chart finally matches your color scheme! What's with the text at the bottom? Get rid of all the white surroundig the chart.

Slide 47 is okay, could be organized better.

Slide 48: 8.6% what?

Slide 49: Green on green action. This will look great on a low contrast projector.

Slide 50: 50 slides? How long do you have for this talk? You realize you lost 98% of your audience 30 slides ago. Oh, lose the picture. Your slide doesn't need it.

Slide 51: Another chart! Otherwise this slide is great.

Slide 52 is okay. The parenthetical statement should be included in your talking, not your slide.

Slide 53: The bullet point on this slide should be said by you, not written on your slide.

Slide 54: Slide 53, take 2. I don't like the layout and Slide 53 had a more interesting image.

Slide 55: Alright, a blank slide so we can see what this presentation is really about, the background!

Slide 57: Car pollutes is not news, it's sarcasm. Cars pollute is a well known fact. Adding exclamation marks beyond one doesn't add emphasis, it reduces your credibility. Love the image.

Slide 57: Did you have to put "Recycling!" there? If nothing else, did it need the exclamation? If you removed all the exclamation marks in this presentation would it make a difference?

Slide 58: The antithesis of how to compose a slide. Too much info. Text is impossible to read. If the image helps this slide, why put text over it? It's more green on green. The header is inconsistent with anything we've seen in the presentation (which has only one consistency anyhow: the background). The layout is still boring even with all of that.

Slide 59: There should be more like this, but there's still a lot of numbers for one slide.

Slide 60: I like the image, but it's too much like the one from slide 53. The font makes me feel like I'm suddenly watching Swiss Family Robinson.

You need to cut this thing in half, focus on the powerful images and points. Cut some of the boring stuff and the numbers out of your presentation. Make the extra stuff into a document (or documents) and distribute it electronically to attendees.

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