Coming Attractions

When we start asking more interesting questions about PowerPoint, we’re going to start seeing more interesting answers.

cinematicFor example, a Beyond Bullets reader recently wrote to say he was inspired by a recent post, and decided to try it out himself. When he created a self-promotional piece for his blog, he changed the appearance of the PowerPoint screen’s aspect ratio to resemble a film screen. I thought his introductory slide was particularly clever — he was nice enough to share it with all of us here, so we could see how he crafted it. You can view Effern’s complete PowerPoint "film" at his blog The Vision Thing .

Today, we have only have a single, monolithic genre of PowerPoint — cookie-cutter backgrounds and bullet points — that is boring, stifling, unaccountable and unjustified. It’s only together that we’ll be able to break out of this tiny box and create much more interesting and effective communications. Effern created a new genre overnight – "cinematic PowerPoint". When we all start putting the PowerPoint pedal to the meaningful metal, we’ll create a hundred new genres, and probably more. If we’re smart when we start, we’ll keep track of metrics that show us which genres get the job done best for our specific situation.

Effern suggested I set up a reader showcase so we can share with one another our communication innovations — there’s now a new link to one from the right column of the blog. I’m sure we’ll adjust and refine the page setup as we go along.

Since our primary focus is on communication effectiveness, not just nice-looking graphics, there are 7 categories of innovation, beginning with probably the most important — metrics:

1. Metrics. How can we measure how well we’re doing?

2. Thinking. What are effective ways to capture and distill our ideas?

3. Structure. How can we structure a message in a way that makes it relevant to our audiences?

4. Interaction. What techniques can open up dialogue and understanding?

5. Visuals. How can we communicate an idea with a visual on an individual slide?

6. Genres. What thematic styles can help us keep a message coherent across a sequence of visuals?

7. Inter-media. What are some ways we can use PowerPoint, projectors, video, paper, voices and other media to produce a measurably effective experience?

8. Culture change. How have you been able to change your PowerPoint culture? What worked for you, what didn’t, and how can we help one another across organizations? Share your stories with us.

Feel free to send your ideas, PDFs and slides to (please keep filesizes to less than 1MB, or send a link to your presentation). I’ll select representatives of the various categories that are high on the innovation and inspiration meters.

We’re all looking forward to seeing previews of your innovative coming attractions.

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5 Responses to “Coming Attractions”

  1. Effern says:

    Cool thanks! Hopefully I can think of something for one of the other genre categories. Either way, I am looking forward to see what else turns up in the Showcase.

  2. John Beeler says:

    What’s the due date Cliff?

  3. Steve says:

    I like the idea of a reader showcase.

    What’s more, I think that this community could lead to ideas and ways to bring your concepts into corporate america. You have already provided some tips to ease the transition to beyond bullets.

    Are there stories that would influence executives to move to a visual approach? What other techniques can be used to get people to try this approach.

    I get the feeling you are already moving in this direction. Many management gurus havent figured this out.

  4. Cliff says:

    John, I’ll run them as I get them, but if a deadline is helpful (I know it is for me), let’s say the 1st and the 15th of every month.

  5. Cliff says:

    Great idea Steve! I’ve added a 8th category above:

    8. Culture change. How have you been able to change your PowerPoint culture? What worked for you, what didn’t, and how can we help one another across organizations? Share your stories with us.

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