Happy Mothering Sunday

Baby's hand holding a mother's hand
Photography by lifan from stock.xchng

She

She is the one who fills my soul
With grace and dignity so rare
A jewel that shines upon her child
And lifts me to a higher place – a higher place

She sang to me before I breathed
Alive inside she gave me life

I felt her heartbeat as if touching mine
The rhythm stays and never leaves
She smiles and warms the coldest of the days
Her soft caress brings peace and hope

And when I’m gone she’s always there
To carry me through troubled times
She held me to her simple truth
That all I need is what she gives

In dreamland where the child still lives
Forever pure in arms of love

In dreamland where the child still lives
Forever pure in arms of love

This virtue leaves tranquility
As ever radiant it’s always light
Her laughter drifts across a thousand miles
And takes me back to innocence

Copyright © 2002 Rob Halford
Taken from the album Crucible by Halford.

Bullet-point-free PowerPoint

Identity 2.0

I’m always open to new and dynamic ways to use Microsoft PowerPoint* (*other presentation software applications are also available). I’ve found Cliff Atkinson’s book Beyond Bullet Points really helpful for encouraging users to drag themselves away from the bullet-point-heavy templates that they immediately open the application up to.

Bullet-points can kill

Presentations do not have to be packed full of bullet points. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that much of the time bullet points actually hinder your presentation. Why? Because if you flash up a screen-full of words people will start reading the words and stop listening to you. You will immediately lose most of your audience.

Unless you are also juggling with fire while talking. Assuming that you’re not, you might as well just sit down and let the audience read the content for themselves. And if that is the total content of your presentation you might as well save your time and your audience’s time by sending it to them beforehand so that at least they can read it in the comfort of their homes or offices.

Observe

Be aware of yourself the next time you are sitting through a presentation riddled with bullet-points. Try looking away from the screen and just listening. Try focusing on the presenter and not on the words on the screen. It’s hard, isn’t it. You feel like you have to read it. I mean, what if you miss something?

What I like about Cliff Atkinson’s approach is that he focuses on story telling. He encourages the use of large images to help deliver your message. And the only text he uses are brief headings that help to give shape to the presentation.

One of the most effective uses of presentation software I have ever experienced is watching Dave Gorman. His slides add to the story, they don’t distract.

Another way

My friend Mike Arthur pointed me towards a presentation about Identity 2.0 by Dick Hardt at the OSCON 2005 conference . He uses a presentation style influenced by Lawrence Lessig.

If you ever give presentations, I urge you watch this presentation and absorb something of how Dick Hardt engages with the audience through words, images, humour, repetition of themes. Quite inspirational, even if you have no interest in the subject.