7

I am close to graduating and am going to an assessment center for a very large tech company. One thing we need to do is hold a presentation about one of their products.

I want to stand out a bit from the crowd and show that I spent a lot of time on this presentation. So I had the idea of drawing my own characters and using them in slides to help explain my reasoning etc. (A lot like in the youtube-videos you see nowadays where stuff gets drawn while a person talks).

I find this type of presentation fun to listen to, but is it unprofessional? It is my first time at a global giant like this and I'm sure they are fine with more than others since it's in tech, but is this too much? Should I use the normal "boring" slides with one idea/slide etc. ?

  • 2
    Unless you are an artist, the presentation should not be about cartoons. If you spend lots of time making cartoons, rather than preparing the information your audience is expecting, this will show. – Cliff AB Apr 28 '16 at 20:37
  • 1
    I think it can be a better experience, or a worse experience, depending on how good you pull it of. I personally enjoy all types of presentations that are a bit unique - even if it is just a slide or two with a picture of the presenters dog (happens more often than you think). – Per Alexandersson Apr 28 '16 at 20:41
  • 1
    If it makes the presentation more effective, do it. Otherwise, don't. But make sure you understand the difference between making the presentation better and showing that you spent a lot of time on it. – user37208 Apr 28 '16 at 21:04
  • 1
    As this is for a "large tech company", I will say that I have seen (correctly cited) slides with either well-known web-comics, like "little Johnny Tables" or Dilbert, go over-well when they were used to make a good point and were right for the audience (an audience of managers with the PHB would likely not work) - so I would personally recommend using these types of materials first then your own material once you get a "feel for the sense of humor" of the employees. – LinkBerest Apr 29 '16 at 3:51
  • I'd be careful about using cartoons - I attended a workshop once for engineering faculty/students that highlighted how stereotypes are perpetuated, and Dilbert cartoons featured heavily in the presentation. (Not to say Dilbert cartoons are bad - I personally think many of them are funny because they lampoon/exaggerate stereotypes. But there's a time and place.) – tonysdg Apr 29 '16 at 5:20
5

In general, the person talking to your slides should be you, not a cartoon character.

Now, I've seen things like this work for people who are very good presenters and stage performers as well. For example, one of my grad school compatriots was also a serious performing storyteller, and he understood the performance aspect well enough to do all sorts of fun, risky, and showy things in his talks.

If something like this isn't already you, however, then I would advise not trying it for the first time in a potentially high stakes presentation like this. Conservative may be relatively boring, but it's also safer, and it won't be boring, if your material is good.

  • 1
    Good advice (+1). I would say: "... if your material and story line are good". – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 29 '16 at 3:11
  • Why would anyone be talking to the slides? Shouldn't OP be talking to the audience? – JeffE Apr 29 '16 at 4:14
  • 2
    @JeffE It's a turn of phrase. – jakebeal Apr 29 '16 at 4:30
4

Doing something a lot different like this would be similar to performing a circus stunt. If you pull it off right, it could make a great impression. If you mess it up, it can be a big mishap.

If you are really in to this idea, I would suggest balancing both cartoons and technical diagrams. After all, your cartoons would only help in drawing attention and it is your main content of the presentation that would benefit you in the end.

0

More than anything, that would be unnecessary- possibly ineffective.

Instead, you could go with power-point smart art graphics, or even try infographics to visually present your ideas.

  • Could you please expand your answer a bit to show more of the thinking behind this advice? – jakebeal Apr 29 '16 at 15:07
-1

In my experience, it all depends on the seniority of the people in your audience. The more senior they are, the more they'll appreciate a low-level presentation.

Have a look at the sort of presentation McKinseys give to techy middle managers, and the thing they present to the Board. The former might be quite technical. The latter often looks like something out of a frikkin' children's book.

They can do that, because their authority is established (by the eye-watering fees) before they say the first word; you may not have that luxury. And pitching it right, and not being seen to talk down to them, is a very subtle art. So if you don't have someone alongside you, preparing and giving the presentation with you, who knows exactly what they are doing and is an expert in that subtle art, then DO NOT DO THIS.

Instead, play it very very safe and very very straight. So design your cartoon characters, get it out of your system, and then remove EVERY SINGLE ONE from your presentation. Do not yield to the temptation to leave even a single one in. "Murder your darlings". (But do save them as a set of fragments for possible future use.)

And whatever level your audience is, try to ensure that by the end of the presentation, they feel that they are smart, and that you are an authority.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.