Today was probably my best day at Microsoft to date.
I got up stupidly early (4.20) to get a cab into London to setup Microsoft Surface at the Royal Lancaster Hotel where the Institute of Directors (IOD) were holding "An audience with Bill Gates". I met one of the guys from the Surface team, Greg, who was a great guy and I got to quiz him a bit on the device and what they had in store for future versions which was fun.
More on that (with photos) in a future post.
The thing that interested me – as someone who frequently presents to large groups – is how Bill does his slides. Well, he probably doesn’t do his slides but the way he prefers them to be done for him is interesting. He has one slide deck with two threads of slides running parallel.
One thread is what the audience sees in – a set of minimal slides which are icon and graphic rich. The other thread – which is hidden in Powerpoint is a series of bullets on the main thrust of each slide. The bullets are concise and pull out the main points that he needs to talk about. At the bottom of the hidden slides is the title of the next topic so he knows what’s coming and doesn’t get caught out.
I guess that each monitor is driven off an individual laptop and he controls both presentations simultaneously with his clicker.
Personally, I always try and stay away from slides with a large amount of text, and it’s one of the things they teach you as a presenter. If you can’t explain it without it being written on a screen – you shouldn’t be talking about it.
One of the ways you can do this is to have the details in the presenter notes, then, use something in Powerpoint called "presenter view", where PowerPoint shows the slides to the audience but on your laptop monitor you get the speaker notes and a timer to let you know how long you’ve been talking for.
More on how to use "Presenter View" can be found here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/HA010565471033.aspx