This month, I had the privilege of giving a presentation at the IEDC Leadership Summit in New Orleans.  This annual event is designed for the leaders of economic development organizations in North America.

My presentation focused on how we are all gamblers, and in order to improve our odds of winning, we can use data and predictive analytics to increase our probability of success by focusing on those companies most likely to locate or expand using a predictive analytic model.  We discussed how to build a predictive analytic model and the results of our research in which we now can improve the odds from 1 in 17,000 (number of locations per year/number of companies in Hoovers D&B) to 1 in 4 using our predictive analytic algorithm.

In preparing for my presentation, I re-read Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, determined to avoid “death by PowerPoint” and use visuals as support to my comments rather than a bullet-pointed PowerPoint. To a degree, I think I succeeded.  To see the results you may check it out on our website.

2dean2The author, Garr Reynolds, advocated turning off your computer and using Post-It notes to collect and organize your thoughts.   He strongly recommends simplicity in the design of the slides to focus the audience’s attention using simple images and few words.

While I was a bit anxious at giving up my security blanket of traditional bullet point slides, I was pleased with the minimalist approach that I took.  It did require more preparation time, thoughtful reflection, revision, and rehearsal.  I felt that I made a better connection with the audience, held their attention, and was more fun to deliver.  Give it a try.  Your audiences will appreciate avoiding “death by PowerPoint,” and you will have more fun.