Good morning Modern Presenters,

With the recent Wired article I have been getting a ton of questions about what the Modern Presentation Method is and how people can learn more about it, so I thought I'd pen a quick post to bring everyone up to speed.

What is The Modern Presentation Method?

The Modern Presentation Method or MPM is a simple, lightweight, A to Z methodology that presenters can use to create a powerful presentation and then deliver it well. It is derived from a methodology that I have used in over 1000 presentations as a Microsoft speechwriter over the last few years. It is comprised of five steps (Visualization, Storyboarding, Build, Refine, and Execute).

Whom Is The Modern Presentation Method For?

MPM is really targeted at those presenters who work in fast-paced environments and want an easy to use process, along with some supporting tools, to remove the common presentation barriers that exist today. It is for the everyman or woman who is tired of sitting through long, boring, and unfocused presentation at work and in the classroom and who want to do something about it.

What Problems Does MPM Address?

There are a few very simple barriers that cause today's presentation to go awry. Each of these barriers is addressed by MPM. They are:

The Method Barrier - Most people simply don't have a roadmap of what major work items need to be covered to create a great visual presentation. In fact, most people today when starting a presentation simply sit down, open up PowerPoint, and start tapping away. This is a mistake. To paraphrase John Cleese, "we don't know where we get our best ideas from, but we do know that we don't get them from our computers." MPM pays homage to this simple notion and introduces to you an easy to use workflow that gets you away from the computer for the first few steps, maximizes creativity, minimizes rework, and keeps presentations short and focused.

The Text To Visual Barrier - Most people can put together a credible written story, but the instant they have to take that story into PowerPoint slides they run into all sorts of problems. Slides filled with text and bullets are the usual outcome.
Wrong answer. MPM removes this text to visual barrier with smart templates and a workflow that emphasizes your skills as a writer and minimizes your need to be a great visual design guru.

The Graphics Barrier - How many times have you tried to find a copy of your company's logo? And then it wasn't of very good quality or the logo was surrounded by that unsightly white border. MPM shows you how to find great graphics, how to organize your company's graphics into easy to use graphic libraries, and what to look for when sourcing a wide variety of graphics.

The Storytelling Barrier - Look, great storytellers use tried and true storylines and if needed they can also make up their own story frameworks. For most people, this skill is just not in our tool bag. MPM considers this and helps remove the barrier by giving the average presenter a set of easy to use story lines that work for the most common types of presentations that they will have to give.

What Blog Posts Should I Read To Find Out More?

The Modern Presenter blog was a blog that was written as a stream of consciousness over about four months and there is A LOT of content out there. I will put together a comprehensive guide for you all later in the week but as you read it, keep in mind a few things.

First, MPM is very v1. When I started the blog "I didn't know what I didn't know". And so my thinking has evolved as I got closer the problem and worked with presenters on how to overcome the presentation barriers.

Second, I believe good content is more important than polish.
Many of my posts were written in real-time and without the benefit of an editor. Please excuse the poor grammar and spelling mistakes and instead focus on the meaning and content in each post. I hope the content itself shines through. For those of you who believe that spelling, grammar, and polish are as important as content, I would respectfully disagree and invite you to read the first draft writing of any notable author as a comparison. In my experience, they put content above polish as well and I simply seek to emulate their process in my own writing.

Third, the MPM project is really a story of two projects.
One project is the one that resulted in MPM and is an attempt to take industry best practices and codify them into a cogent methodology that is now called the Modern Presentation Method. The second project is the one in which I have been working with the US Army to take MPM and apply it to their particular difficulties with regards to having productive meetings and presentations. The blog has a certain bipolarity as a result. I apologize for any confusion this may cause.

More To Follow Soon

I'm traveling back to Fort Leavenworth on Monday, so I'll be unavailable most of that day. On Tuesday, I'll do a quick post about what the Military Presentation Project is and how people can take advantage of the exciting work we are doing with the US Army. Later in the week I will include the comprehensive guide.

Thanks for tuning in!

Dave Karle (DK)

mailto:dkarle@microsoft.com