I went to a lot of conferences last year, but this keynote presentation by United Nations News and Media Director Stephane Dujarric stood out. I’d been wondering if lessons from a sprawling intergovernmental agency would apply to my world, which is essentially B2B. Well, they do: that’s why it’s my highlight n°2 from 2011.
Stephane Dujarric is a former ABC reporter and currently the director of news and media for one of the most sprawling seas of bureaucratic acronyms you could imagine: the United Nations.
He was at the IABC Europe conference in Turin last April to deliver a keynote talk entitled ‘Bartering for Communications’. It was based on a single premise: that working through partnerships is the only way to have real impact when you have limited resources but something to ‘trade’ (in this case, the organization’s global reach and legitimacy).
While I was curious from a purely intellectual standpoint about what would he would say, I wasn’t sure how much of it would apply to my mostly B2B world. After all, the UN has communication challenges that most of us don’t. (Few of us have as a mandate to promote world peace and security, for example.)
Every once in a while, I’m sent to Slideshare (usually via Twitter) to view a new presentation posted by a thought leader on subjects ranging from content strategy to B2B web marketing to social media and metrics. Once I’m there, I generally spend some time viewing other presentations, either on the same topic, or by the same person, or whatever else catches my fancy.
I can go through most of these presentations and get something out of them; after all, in spite of the buzz created by the NYT article on the evils of PowerPoint in the military a few weeks back, PowerPoint remains the lingua franca of the business world, and most of us are pretty conversant.
What’s becoming evident is that many good presenters are taking to heart some of the most oft-given complaints about presentations. They’re removing the relentless lists of bullets; the text-heavy argumentation; the animated build-up slides and spaghetti charts.
These no-no’s have been replaced by presentations full of zippy, bold and funny images and graphics that illustrate a point rather than explicitly make it. When done well, this works wonders, and has a terrific effect on audiences. PowerPoint really does become a tool that supports a speaker, enhances a message, and gets the point across in a truly complementary way.
Trouble is, some of these presentations can fall really short on SlideShare. Ever wade through 20 slides of cool images wondering, what the hell is this person talking about? Or trying to guess: Hmmm…maybe she means ….this?