Friday, July 19, 2013

A coffee would help...

A little while ago I attended a business presentation at one of my consultant's offices. The presentation was on using i-nexus software to develop and deliver projects that aligned with business goals (now, there's a novel thought).
I left my desk at about 10 to 9am after a busy couple of hours on EOFY work, sped down to the venue and dropped into a seat at the board table.
After a flat out morning, I looked around for a coffee; a couple of other attendees were nursing mugs, so I thought, well, I'm a few minutes late, perhaps coffee was for the early starters; but the start time was 9am, not 8:30, so that was unlikely.
Well, the story was, there was no coffee offered, either before or after. The two with mugs must have just been special.
The presentation, of course, had us doing the tennis swivel as we swung our gaze between the mostly pointless images projected onto the screen at one end of the room, and the speaker, sitting at his laptop computer at the other. Good neither for neck nor comprehension!
Then, we got to the actual software on screen. It was great, except that it loaded slowly, endured continuous band-width apologies, and the colours were such and the images so small that it was barely visible and made little sense!
If you are going to use Powerpoint, at least use it with a semblance of professional capability.

I might blog about the software another time, but here are some lessons:
  1. If people are giving you their time, at least provide a coffee and some light snacks; it's dirt-cheap and for the money is a great investment in a convivial atmosphere. The hospitality shows that you care about your guests' experience.
  2. If the 'presentation' (I mean, the talk) has no graphic content, don't bore or distract us with Powerpoint slides. Keep them for what's important and learn how to blank the screen between times: press the W for a white blanking, B for a black one! Not hard.
  3. At least check the equipment beforehand and make sure it works. Don't rely on a live connection, especially if you are overseas: have some videos on a DVD, or a sequence of screen shots to show what you need to; but don't ever think you will impress people with excuses for non-performing software.
These are the main ones for doing a presentation; particularly one where you are basically touting for business.

But, there were minor problems as well.

One that sticks to mind is the presentation of graphs showing proportions of samples doing and not doing things. The almost inevitable, and almost unreadable pie-charts; '3D' pie charts at that were flung onto the screen. Not good. Not only are the area relativities almost impossible to grasp by inspection, it is impossible to build the chart to further comparsions. A simple and elegantly done column chart would have been far better. I recommend Charlie Kyd's or Juice Analytics' work on this.

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