PowerPoint: n. a presentation program that is part of Microsoft Office, which can be used to put an audience to sleep — or can inform and inspire.
Prowess: n. extraordinary ability
Pay off: v. to reward for hard work
I recently taught a two-hour feng shui class for a group of feng shui novices, and if I say so myself, it was RAD!
I had used slides in PowerPoint once before to illustrate a feng shui talk, so I knew how effective pictures could be. However I was still struggling with an A/V inferiority complex that developed in high school watching geeky male classmates run the Rube Goldberg contraption known as a movie projector.
Furthermore, I hadn’t yet read Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen, which is an absolute MUST resource for any would-be presenters.
First, out went any slides with bullet points. Then out went slides with more than a few words, unless it was a succinct quotation. That left me with….
I started over. This was my process (h/t to Garr Reynolds):
- Get a stack of Post-It sticky notes and a big white board.
- List all the points you want to get across – one per sticky note, and then figure out what visual images would convey them even more effectively than words.
- Gather lots and lots and lots of pictures – from your own camera, scanned from magazines, found on Google Images and Flickr. Note each one on a sticky.
- Look also for images that are extreme examples (what not to do, before & after, stumbling blocks, etc.) to emphasize your point or defuse fears.
- Shuffle the notes on the white board till they make some sense.
- Import the pictures into PowerPoint using the totally blank slide as your template, so the pictures are full-screen (means your pix must be in landscape format).
- Shuffle them around in the Slide Sorter View until they tell the story in a way that flows most naturally.
- Now you can add some text floating in front of some of the pictures or on transition slides.
Here are a few examples of images I found:
To illustrate what a feng shui consultant does when she/he comes to your house – conveying both the fresh eyes which can see your home more clearly AND addressing the fear many potential clients have that she’ll be some sort of critical witch:
Or these three slides, which illustrate the dilemma of clutter. First the extreme possibility that you could be buried alive by it:
Then, the inertia we feel when viewing the clutter-clearing task ahead:
My audience laughed hysterically at this boulder – recognizing themselves.
And then I encouraged them with the concept of momentum… what happens once you get started tossing crap:
I’d say it took a solid 40 hours to put together 150 slides for a two-hour talk, and a lot of creative thought while I was half-asleep. But it was totally worth it.