Hanisha Vaswani, an Ex-Pinstormer was recently awarded her Masters in Information Technology from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy. While working on her final thesis, she used the Pinstorm presentation style to create her presentation – with great results. Here is what she has to say about her thought process and the Pinstorm presentation style…
I was last in line to present my final thesis, and the audience (my professors) would likely be dead by then. After a dozen cluttered presentations, they’d only want to quickly get over with the whole business, and I needed them to hear me out, pay attention, laugh at the right places, and grade me well :). I’m hardly alone. You’ve been there too, and for you, the stakesÂ are higher than getting better grades on a mark sheet.
When we speak, we want to be heard and understood, even remembered. (If not, why speak at all?). But we also know our audience today is busy, and have tiny attention spans as a result. So how do we get across to them?
Focus: Pick one thing you want your audience to remember at the end. Build the presentation around it.
Simplicity: PowerPoint is a tool. Your idea is the star. Remove the fancy crass that doesn’t help present your idea better.
Wit: Get them interested. And when they want to hear more, make your spiel. ( albeit, briefly.)
Smarts: Be Different. Do you need PowerPoint at all? Will a demo do better?
In short — use the Pinstorm style!
Does it work? I’ll give you two examplesÂ and let you judge:
My first example is myÂ pseudo-famous thesis,Â part ofÂ whichÂ spoke ofÂ a part-of-speech tagger, I built.Â Its differentiation is that it is actually composed of two completely different taggers. The presentation said ‘A Tale of Two Taggers’. Sad, perhaps!Â But it worked.Â Everyone still remembers my tagger’s USP.Â My professorsÂ heard me out, asked questions, made suggestions, and actually had an impromptu discussionÂ about my approach.Â There come the marks :)
My other example is a presentation I heard at an IT jobs seminar in late 2001 –not a happy time for IT job seekers.Â While most speakersÂ were reading off sad-yet-fake-hopeful presentations,Â this one speakerÂ was scribbling on a paper onstage. And when he spoke, sans his PowerPoint presentation, it was to spout Seven ‘Laws’ for building a career (note: career, not job); eachÂ wittily named. Some examples include Law of Aamir and Sunny, Law of Zig and Zag, Law of Schumacher and Schumacher. Any doubts whose presentation I still remember seven years later?
Simply put: Don’t say much, so there isn’t much to forget. And say it so well that it is absolutely impossible to forget.
Make your point, there’s a reasonÂ that the tool isÂ called PowerPoint after all :)
Here is wishing Hanisha a very hearty congratulations from all of us here at Pinstorm.