Jul 032014
Example of PowerPoint used by Ray Poynter at IIeX in Atlanta, June 2014

Well, to be more precise, if you want to present well, learn to be a good presenter using PowerPoint and then start experimenting with other options.

If you are a good presenter, you can present with PowerPoint, Prezi, without a screen, with a flip chart, or with interactive graphics. If you are not a good presenter, you will not be any better if you use the latest 3D, sound-a-round, animated, virtual presence.

The key to any presentation is the presenter. The reason that so many people give bad presentations with PowerPoint is that the presenter has not mastered the skills of presenting and has not created the right message/story. PowerPoint does not make you put too many words on the screen, it does not make you read every word, and it does not make you use bullet points.

In a standard PowerPoint configuration there are 9 default layouts. Of those 9, only 4 have bullet points as a standard option. When bullet points are a standard option, so are 6 other elements, such as a table or chart. So, out of 33 options in the standard set of layouts, just 4 of them include bullets – so why are so many slides using bullets? I think the answer is lack of imagination, lack of training, and lack of skill – but I don’t think it is because PowerPoint makes people do it.

The presenter needs to be clear about the message, they need to think about what they are going to say and how they are going to say it, and then support that with visual and animated aids that have been chosen (or created) to help them get their message across in the best way possible (usually engaging, informative, stimulating, and energising).

Have a look at Hans Rosling present at TED in the clip below. Yes, he makes great use of animated graphics – but then ask the question, would he still have been great if he had used simple slides? I think the answer is yes, the GapMinder material simply make great better. In fact, Rosling is using PowerPoint (or similar) for sections of his presentation.


Dec 152013

For several years, when teaching presenting, I have been asking people to stand when they present and to adopt ‘high power’ body positions and avoid low power positions, for example not crossing your arms and legs, and not standing sideways on to the audience.

I arrived at this advice based on my own observations, tips from other trainers, and by applying learning from other fields – but there was limited, specific evidence for what I was saying.

However, I no longer need to rely on my homespun theories. Kristin Luck (a great presenter in her own right) has highlighted Amy Cuddy to me. Watch the video below, Amy Cuddy at TED, and you will understand the extent to which how you stand impacts a) how the audience receive your message, and b) the way you feel.

The ‘fake it till you make’ it part has two elements. Firstly, standing in a power position changes the chemicals in your brain to make you more confident, even though you are ‘pretending’ to be confident. Over time, you will change and you won’t be faking it. So faking it till you make it means getting a benefit in the short term and changing yourself in the mid-term.

Nov 242013

To help celebrate the Festival of NewMR we are posting a series of blogs from market research thinkers and leaders from around the globe. These posts will be from some of the most senior figures in the industry to some of the newest entrants into the research world.

A number of people have already agreed to post their thoughts, and the first will be posted later today. But, if you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to submit a post. To submit a post, email a picture, bio, and 300 – 600 words on the theme of “Opportunities and Threats faced by Market Research” to admin@newmr.org.

Posts in this series
The following posts have been received and posted:

Nov 032013

As part of the preparation for the Festival of NewMR (2-6 December), we are running a study looking at the different sources of inspiration that contribute to market research thinking and innovation. The study is being supported, programmed, and fielded by Festival Gold Sponsor Survey Analytics.

Being co-creational by nature, and given that there is no good current research to ‘borrow from’, the draft questions are set out below in this post – or you can downloaded it from here. We’d love to hear your suggestions.

We are aiming to program the study Saturday 9th November, so suggestions before then would be greatly appreciated.

Draft Survey

What are the sources of market research inspiration?
This short survey has been sponsored and programmed by Survey Analytics, a Gold Sponsor of The Festival of NewMR 2013. The study looks into the places where market research draws its ideas and inspiration. The results will be presented at the Main Stage of the Festival and published via the NewMR website.

This study is purely about your opinions, there are no right and wrong answers, which is why there are no ‘don’t know’s. Nobody ‘knows’, we want opinions.

We are going to start the study thinking about books.

1) Recent Books
Which one of these recent books do you think is having the most impact on market research practice and thinking? (Select one)

  1. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
  2. Switch – Chip and Dan Heath
  3. The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
  4. Thinking fast and slow – Daniel Kahneman
  5. To Sell is Human – Daniel H Pink
  6. Other (please specify)

2) Older Books
Which one of these slightly older books do you think has had the biggest impact on market research thinking? (Select one)

  1. Herd – Mark Earls
  2. The Long Tail – Chris Anderson
  3. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki
  5. Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams
  6. Other (please specify)

3) Wider Books
And, which one of these books do you think is having the biggest impact on the way companies are doing business? (Select one)

  1. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
  2. Nudge – Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein
  3. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
  4. The New Digital Age – Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen
  5. To Sell is Human – Daniel H Pink
  6. Other (please specify)

4) Business Thinkers
Which one of these business thinkers, writers, bloggers do think is most relevant to today’s market researcher? (Select one)

  1. Warren Buffet
  2. Guy Kawasaki
  3. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  4. Seth Godin
  5. Tom Peters
  6. Other (please specify)

5) Information Sources
Thinking about how you get your information about new market research, which one of these do you find most useful? (Select one)

  1. Blogs
  2. Company websites
  3. Facebook
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Twitter
  6. Other (please specify)

6) Presentation Thinkers
Which of the following would you most recommend to somebody wanting to improve their presenting? (select one)

  1. David McCandless
  2. Edward Tufte
  3. Presentation Zen
  4. Nancy Duarte
  5. TED Talks
  6. Other (please specify)

7) Key Region
Which region do you think will lead the way in new MR over the next five years? (Select one)

  1. Africa
  2. Asia Pacific
  3. Europe
  4. Middle East
  5. North America
  6. South & Central America
  7. None of them

8) Drivers of Change
Which one of the following is the most likely to improve the research we do over the next ten years? (Select one)

  1. Advances in technology
  2. Changes in the business landscape
  3. New thinking from business
  4. New thinking from mathematics, statistics, analytics & computing
  5. New thinking from psychology and the social sciences
  6. New thinking from market researchers
  7. Left field unknowns

We will also ask four demographics, Age, Sex, Country, and relationship to the research industry (e.g. buyer, seller, academic etc).

HT (hat tip) to Jon Puleston, the idea for this study came from Jon’s 2011 presentation at the Festival of NewMR where he created his own awards for transformative, events, sources, and technologies.