Pharma: Say NO To More Bullets! And Presentation Tips.

This week, I came across two presentations that made me stop and refocus my thoughts on writing and delivering effective and engaging presentations. The first was a terrific five minute video interview of author Carmine Gallo (The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience) outlining the 5 points he attributes to Steve Job’s incredible success as one of today’s most engaging speakers. The second was the announcement that “Health Care Napkins”, created by Dan Roam with Tony Jones, was the winner of the “World’s Best Presentation 2009″ by and Business Week.

Click on image to watch video on ABC.


The 5 Techniques that help make Steve Jobs a truly great presenter:
1. Introduce an antagonist. Every presentation is a theatrical experience: “Every great drama has a hero and a villain.” Steve Jobs explains the problem and leads the way for the hero… 
2. Twitter-friendly headlines. Each Apple product has a simple name and a short and concise descriptive headline or sound bite e.g. macbookair-“The World’s Thinnest Notebook”
3. Sell dreams–not computer hardware, or a product. Jobs sells ‘transformative experiences’-what is it about our product that will change someone’s life?
4. Practice Zen like simplicity-‘the elimination of clutter’. You won’t see bullet points. You won’t see many words.
5. Relentless Practice. Practice. And More Practice.

Here’s the winning slide presentation by Dan Roam: Health Reform on the back of the napkin style.

You won’t see traditional bullets or heavy text. You will see a great story unfold with interesting visuals and devices to engage the reader.


View more documents from Dan Roam.


Dan Roam’s lesson to us all:

There is no such thing as boring knowledge.
There are only boring ways to present it.

Two Great Books on Presentations
Having sat through many a ‘boring’ PowerPoint and podium presentation, and having done my own share of, what we at BMS used to fondly refer to as, ‘deck a day’ PowerPoint presentations for Sr. Management, requiring an abundance of time internally-focused vs. externally or customer- focused, I have become a huge fan of Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen and Nancy Duarte ‘s Slide:ology. Both books are excellent sources for kinder, simpler, and more visually pleasing presentations-and did I mention more engaging and effective? Both start with the objective and the story you want to tell; both encourage planning and storyboarding to get it right.

Common themes for better PowerPoint presentations:
1. Start with the end in mind; what is the story that you want to tell?
2. Know your audience-what is important to them?
3. Outline your content; sketch out objectives and ideas in pen and paper. Plan in ‘analog’, with no use of technology-storyboard the presentation
4. Have a sound, clear structure throughout (this is more than an agenda page up front)
5. Be vigilant about clarity of message– only one idea to a slide
6. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask “so what?”…if it’s not relevant, cut…
7. Bring each point to life. This means minimal use of bullets and copy, and heavy use of visuals, photography and color (If you have charts of data, you might consider handing this information out separately at the end of the presentation…)
8. Good presentations include stories. The best presenters illustrate their points with the use of stories, most often personal ones.
9. Keep it simple, but not simplistic
10. The more you are on top of the material- the design, flow and rehearsal, the more success.

Pharma: Just Say No To More Bullets!

Now is the time for Pharma to rethink how we present information to colleagues, partners, physicians, customers, government. By taking a few lessons from these experts, more time thinking about how to craft content and message, Pharma can begin to tell more engaging and effective stories that the audience may actually want to listen to, learn from, and take action.

Won’t you join me in saying NO to more bullets, and YES to initiating a new way to communicate?

Additional Helpful Links:

Presentation I did to FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee: Considering Neuroscience to Improve Communications

Sample Slides By Garr Reynolds

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas On Presentation Design and Delivery

Think Like a Designer

Ten Reasons Presentations Will Make It Big in 2009 -#2 Speakers