CXO

PowerPoint users - don't be afraid of rich media

PowerPoint isn't for the shy or faint of heart. You've got a point to make, and you need to be creative if you want your audience to remember you and your message.

Last fall, my nine-year-old granddaughter asked if I had PowerPoint and then proceeded to create a presentation for Social Studies, mostly on her own. I hovered and made suggestions, but she really didn't need my help. She added a few pictures and a recording of Kentucky's state song, "My Old Kentucky Home." She got an A!

The thing is, everybody knows how to use PowerPoint these days, and that can be problematic for the professional. It's like an amusement park — the more rides you ride, the more thrilling a ride has to be to get your attention. In other words, you now have to work harder than ever to impress your audience. The ordinary just won't do anymore.

That's where rich media can make a difference. Rich media is anything other than text: pictures, graphics, video, audio, animated clips, and so on. A little creative power can go a long way. Remember the old saying about a picture's worth a thousand words? Well, I won't bore you further with a lot of extraneous verbalization when I can prove what I'm saying with just two slides.

september2008blog1fig1r.jpg

There's nothing wrong with the above slide, but it's ordinary and unfortunately rather typical of the average presentation. Your audience won't remember it. Why should they; there's nothing memorable about it.

On the other hand, they'll remember the slide below. Not only will they remember it, they'll want to know who the child is and where you took the picture. Most important, the slide will implant a pleasant association with you. Now that, they'll remember.

september2008blog2fig2r.jpg

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox