Thursday, October 12, 2006

Review of the Floyd Landis PowerPoint presentation

The press has been widely reporting the release yesterday of the PowerPoint presentation created to support the claim by Floyd Landis that he did not take banned substances during the Tour de France bike race. I am not commenting on the substance of the claims or counter claims, but want to focus on a few comments on what was done well and what could be improved in the presentation from a PowerPoint perspective. If you want to view the presentation, use the directions at

First, I liked the fact that they posted a PDF of the presentation with the speaking notes instead of just a PowerPoint file. By posting a PDF file, they prevent others from tampering with the presentation and by providing the speaking notes it explains the visuals. Explaining the visuals is good presentation practice and much better than packing the slides with text to replace the presenter's words. Good ideas to keep in mind the next time you post a presentation to an intranet or web site.

Second, I liked the macro structure of the presentation. He starts with the conclusion and then backs it up with facts. This is a good structure to use when giving executive level presentations. What I didn't like about the structure is that slide 2 lists the four areas of proof that will be discussed. But then they don't address the areas in the order they listed. This can cause an audience to be confused and wonder if they missed something. If you are going to make a list of what you will be discussing, then proceed in the order you told them you were going to.

Third, I like the use of the zoom in technique and callouts when showing the documents on the slides. Instead of simply showing the entire document and pointing to a spot that could not be clearly seen, they zoomed in on the spot in question so it could be seen clearly. Then, they added callouts, ovals in this case, to further focus the audience's attention on what was in question (slide 6 is a good example of this). When using a complex diagram or photo, the zoom in technique should be used in order to make things clear to the audience. Also, using a callout, whether it is an oval or a rounded rectangle, is a much better idea than thinking you can use a laser pointer to point out something during your presentation.

The last comment I would make is about the template they used for the presentation. While I like the overall dark background color, it is one of the templates that graduates from a dark color to a light color, making it very hard to select a text color that can be easily seen everywhere on the slide. For example, on slide 25, the letters A-E on the left side of the slide are almost impossible to read because they are medium-dark blue on a navy background. Similarly on slide 9 and 10, the white text is getting harder to see the closer it gets to the lower right corner of the slide since the background gets lighter. I suggest that you select a dark or a light color scheme for the background since it makes selecting a contrasting text color much easier.

Overall, I think the presentation is pretty effective from a design and structure perspective.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a different perspective -- most following the case starte at the content, not the form. I've linked this to my roundup of Landis news at
trust but verify. You will find there posts framing the documents, and providing easy download access to the entire documents and individual pages of use in discussions.


8:42 PM  

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