Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mark Lanier and Cliff Atkinson

Life is never-ending discovery. Even at the age of 74. It happened to me yesterday. Just as it does nearly every day that I put out my “bucket.”

Soon after Cliff Atkinson’s book, Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007 to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire came out, I’ve known about his star case study, attorney Mark Lanier and his 253 million dollar wrongful death settlement with Merck.

You see, this case study fits into my visual aid research pattern. To look at Lanier’s PowerPoint opening statement (well over 200 slides and two and one half hours long) is an investigation into excellence and several note worthy lessons.

And, I only study the very best.

This guy just won 253 million from one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, that had just spent a billion dollars on lawyers and expert witnesses in it’s defense.

Lanier (and his consultant, Cliff Atkinson) must have done something right.

And what ever that was, all we like PowerPoint users should take note and learn. (The heck with what the crazy dude in the cubical next to you says about using PowerPoint.) Lanier’s stuff works!

We should (study and) follow suit!

Back to my discovery! It was a series of 9 videos on YouTube.com. These videos were of Lanier speaking (I think, to group of Harvard law students) about that blockbuster trial, , , the one where his client won a settlement of 253 million dollars.

In it he shows some of the slides he used in his opening statement. Fellow PPT user, , , here is real value! His opening arguments were a two and one half hour speech, , , supported by well over 200 PowerPoint slides.

My observation is that such a presentation is a tasty recipe for a nap.

Not so here! Observers at this trail said that the jury of 12 were on the edge of their seats for the entire time. (Which is cool, in and of it self.)

But the results they delivered, , , 253 million bucks, , , is what really counts.

I have drawn several conclusions after watching all nine videos through twice. And I’ll discuss them with you in part two of this article.

For now, if you are a serious presenter in any field, I highly recommend that you watch this series through, at least twice. Here in this post is Part One of the series.  Then you can watch the rest of them one by one.

After you have watched this string of videos, then I’ll get back to you and we can see what we have learned.



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