frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions are a good way of gaining understanding about a topic. The site was originally a series of blog posts but over time and with discussion it has evolved into a presentation skills resource. Listed below are some of the more frequently asked questions. These are answered briefly here but follow the links for more detailed discussion.

frequently asked questions


What is wrong with the way we currently do presentations? They don’t work! The science behind this is broad but principally the construction is of a text wrongly converted into a powerpoint, the heavily bulletpointed slideument┬áis counterproductive to education and delivery and this stops engagement.

What is p cubed? I believe there are three parts to a presentation; the story (p1), the supportive media (p2) and its delivery (p3). The value of that presentation is the product of those three presentation parts, that is p1 x p2 x p3 = p cubed.

Isn’t it all just about pretty slides? No, it is about a fundamental, but simple, reconstruction of presentations with attention to the needs of the audience and focus on learning rather than teaching. This can then be illustrated, not annotated.

Where do I start to improve presentations? At the very beginning. Don’t be tempted to just work on the slides. Understand the concept and work from there.

I’d like to change but I think my boss wouldn’t like it. How do you know? Our experience is that good educators have been looking for an alternative to standard presentations for a long time. Why not try and see what the response is? Sometimes their resistance is a retrofit of the reasons it fails- “I need something to read”, “Where is all the data” and “It’s not scientific.”

Can’t I just reduce the text on my slides? No, it’s like a drug. If there is text there both you and the audience will read it. It limits your engagement and will cause you to stumble. Once there is recognition that the presentation is not a data download, you are released to share ideas.

Does this work for scientific/serious presentations? Yes. This is not just fluff but itself scientifically based. I have presented at numerous, prestigious and international scientific meetings and received praise and encouragement, not just for the delivery but for the clarity and retention of the message. Examples are available in near future. Science is about persuasion and clarity, not overwhelming the audience with data. Data slides can be improved dramatically.

Why can’t I just reproduce my scientific paper on the screen? Because it is a paper, not a presentation. It is a totally different medium and purpose.

What about branding on the slides? It is naive to believe that such “branding” is of any value. It distracts from the visual and if the audience need to know where you are from, tell them, but not every slide.

Can I take an old presentation and make it better? You can but retro-fitting takes a whole lot of work and actually it is probably best to start fresh.

What about some quick tips? Presentation ninja tips here.

What about templates? Precisely. What about templates? No.

I’m terrified of public speaking, will this help me? Totally. Many of the things we do to overcome our nerves actively make things worse such as following a script verbatim, standing behind a podium and thinking we don’t need to prepare as it is basically reading and anyone can do that. Change to the p cubed approach and you will notice a huge improvement.

So how do you DO a presentation? There are a series of guides about #htdap (how to do a presentation) inc a storify, step by step with worked examples.

If I reduce the text where will my script be? You don’t need a script if you realise that the purpose of a presentation is not a massive data download. That doesn’t work and the audience are looking for a message not a ton of facts. With practise you will understand the steps in your presentation and that you don’t need a script.

What are the biggest mistakes people make in presentations? The seven deadly sins.

1. Starting with the Powerpoint
2. No Message
3.The Slideument
4. Distracting Slides
5. Using a Script
6. Not enough Practise
7. No passion

Where did you get your ideas for all this? I always reference my Sensai, Garr Reynolds and his seminal book Presentation Zen. My journey started with Garr.

Where can I learn more? Invite me to your place of work or come to one of my workshops. I am happy to visit anywhere and share these ideas.

What or who is ffolliet? It is a welsh christian (first) name. My Chief in surgery had a room mate with that name and the same surname as me: ffolliot Fisher. So, as an improvement on my old nickname I was called ffolliet (i spelled it wrongly)

less frequently asked questions

Those are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have others, try the search function (top right). If there isn’t an easy answer, why not ask through twitter or, leave a comment below. I’m trying to make this as valuable as possible, your help is greatly appreciated.