Friday, October 12, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 58 - Organize Powerful Presentations

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog.

We've got three steps to go in our walk through the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers and in this post we are up to Step 58 - Organize powerful presentations.

In this post the authors focus on organizing an effective presentation using PowerPoint. There are a number of ways to give an effective presentation and there are also a number of valid criticisms of PowerPoint. Mostly, it's in how the software is employed as opposed to the medium itself. The reality is, much to the consternation of Edward Tufte, PowerPoint is the standard for giving presentations so it makes sense that the authors gear this chapter to the use of PowerPoint.

The authors start this chapter with this bit:

The main focus of your presentation should be to answer specific questions that will aid decision-making, and it should consist of the following:
  • A set of slides organized around your story.
  • A graphical motif or outline slide to keep your audience focused on the story.
Your presentation should, as we learned in Step 54, tell a clear story. You already know the story, because you have studied the problem, examined a number of possible solutions and and likely come to a conclusion about which one will best handle the problem. Now, you need to guide your audience through the story. A well organized presentation will help keep your audience "focused on the story" and keep them from "getting lost in the details".

There was also this one great little bit of advice from the authors:
Most decision-makers are not as interested as you are in the methods you used to analyze your problem. Therefore, do not spend a great deal of time describing your methods, unless this is the objective of the presentation. Rather, summarize the main elements (see slide 4). You can prepare separate slides about methods, held in reserve, should audience members have questions about your methods.
We've all sat through tedious presentations, whether they are overly technical, overly simplistic or just not well organized. It is important that as a problem solving crime analyst, we have the ability to give an effective presentation. The authors have some graphics and a detailed description of an effective presentation in the chapter, hit the link to read it.

Next time, we'll cover Step 59 - Become an effective presenter.

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