Everyone hates "zombie presentations": created by zombies, presented by zombies, viewed by zombies. Perhaps the worse aspect of zombie presentations is that they actually create zombies in the process! I think each one of us should take a vow, make a resolution, do whatever it takes to free ourselves and our loved ones from the bonds of bullet points. Each of us should commit ourselves to designing, giving and accepting only great presentations in the coming year.
The title of this post comes from an awesome blog entry that I return to frequently, Stop your presentation before it kills again! from the Creating Passionate Users blog by Kathy Sierra and Dan Russell. READ IT, think about it, bookmark it, share it with everyone you know. And most importantly, use it as a basis for raising your expectations!
My co-conspirator and ace DSpace coder Jim Rutherford and I talk about this a lot. The problem is not simply that creators of presentations are not being creative, are not stretching themselves; it's that audience expectations are so incredibly low!
The Stop your presentation... entry provides many good points, but there are a number of other good sites you can check out. One of the great teachers of evangelistic style is Guy Kawaski; check out Speaking as a Performing Art at his How to Change the World blog. (Be sure to also check out Guy's Art of Innovation talk). Lawrence Lessig, the influential copyright scholar and thought leader for the Creative Commons initiative, is often considered the Zen master of presentation; his style is discussed in The "Lessig Method" of presentation entry at the Presentation Zen blog.
Update: See this compilation of the Top 10 Presentations Ever, which includes Steven Jobs' 1984 introduction of the Macintosh; Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech; Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture talk; and Dick Hardt’s famous Identity 2.0 presentation at OSCON 2005.