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Guest Blog: Jon Torrens, Presentations Like Games

I love video games. Hang on, let’s qualify that:

  1. I love a few high quality video games.*
  2. I simply don’t care about the rest.
  3. Despite #2, I will defend this misunderstood genre.

Games Console

Flashy technology can be your undoing in a presentation.

Do What?

A game’s objective is to entertain, while a presentation’s objective is to inform and persuade. A great game will also educate and a good presentation will also entertain (pretty radical, eh?).

Do This

Here’s what great games do; apply these to your presentation:

  • They are orientated around the player’s needs. A presentation that doesn’t consider what the audience wants is like a game that requires no meaningful choices from the player; it doesn’t engage. Ask your audience a non-rhetorical question and then act on their specific answers – this interaction engages people and is very good.
  • They seek to surprise and delight. Do something unexpected: ditch the Powerpoint for a few minutes, react to something in the room, go and stand somewhere unusual, anything that they can’t predict. Use it to successfully illustrate your message and you’ve created a memorable moment – this is very good indeed.
  • They’re easily understood and consumed. Many story-based video games simply don’t get finished**. This might be because they’re boring or too difficult. As soon as either of these thresholds has been met, the player gives up. The same is true for your presentation. Keep things fast-paced and simple so that the audience stays engaged.

Do It Now

Think of one of your favorite games. Whether it’s Angry Birds Transformers,   Carcassonne or Zelda: The Windwaker (I love this), its creators will have worked to fulfill these three criteria to make it as effective as possible. So should you with your presentation!

* ‘Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood’ by Ubisoft is one of my absolute favourites.

** Most Players Don’t Finish Games (IGN, March 17th, 2014)

Related Links

My blog: ‘Video Game Lesson: How to Do Anything Better’

My blog: ‘Games and Jokes’



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