I forgot to blog this when it happened, but consider it a historical pointer. SlideShare ran the “World’s Best Presentation Contest.” Winners are here. My primary comment is that I hope these are not, in fact, the world’s best presentations. Not to be a downer.

The winners are all extremely strong as examples of graphic design and layout. And that’s great, but that’s not the same thing as a great presentation. In many cases, the stunning visuals aren’t used in the service of a sticky idea. The visuals aren’t used to make ideas concrete, they’re simply adding decoration. For instance, check out the presentation for the Sustainable Food Lab. This is a great example of a feel-good presentation — anyone who watches it will say, “Wow, that was cool.” And a week later, no one will remember anything about it. There’s no focus, there’s no sharp unexpected hook to call us to attention, there’s no story. I wish it were stickier — it’s a great cause.

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