Page 66 of DAMDI’s publication “Presentation for Architecture”

DAMDI: What makes a successful PPT?
Bernd Upmeyer: As I actually never use PowerPoint and have used it only very rarely in the past when I was a student, I will answer your questions in relation to presentations in a more general way. It seems to me that a presentation is successful if it communicates the things that you want to present in a convincing and clear way, something that is not particularly dependent on the presentation programme used, but on what you say and how you say it.

DAMDI: What is the most important element in a PPT?
BU: I think that apart from clarity, the narrative and the structure of a presentation are very important. But any presentation is only as good as good as what is presented. Thus, content is very important too.

DAMDI: Do you have any know-how in making your PPT?
BU: I do all my presentations myself and with the support of my Rotterdam-based architecture office BOARD. We usually use publishing application software that can manage, integrate, and organize different files easily into a sequence of pages.

DAMDI: What is different between PANEL and PPT?
BU: I think that the difference is very much related to the number of pages. Because the panels we create are usually either meant for competitions or for exhibitions where typically the number of pages is limited. Due to this limitation we are forced to place a lot more information on one single panel than we have to place, for example, on a page for a lecture, where the number of pages is usually not limited, but time is.

DAMDI: How do you get ideas for PPT?
BU: Ideas for a presentation mostly stem from the context and the theme of the presentation, but also from the content that will be shown.

DAMDI: What is important to you when you have a presentation?
BU: For me it is always important that I have enough time before a presentation. I don’t like to find out about a presentation only a day or even a couple of hours beforehand. I believe that a good presentation needs to be prepared well. I also appreciate it when the presentation takes place in a quiet and focused environment. During one of my recent presentations there were people running around and talking in the background, which made it very difficult to concentrate.

DAMDI: During the presentation, do you use any gesture or word when you want to get attention from clients?
BU: Not particularly. You can certainly raise your hand or something like that. But I believe that if you have something interesting to say and show, people will pay attention naturally. Attention that is forced upon people usually does not last very long anyway.

DAMDI: Any episodes or memories related to a presentation?
BU: Recently, I had to present my journal MONU – Magazine on Urbanism on a symposium in Montenegro, where a translator was present translating my English words simultaneously into Montenegrin. That was a very special experience for me, which showed me that the rhythm of a presentation is quite important too. At another presentation in the city of Den Haag I spoke to an audience about my new book “Binational Urbanism – On the Road to Paradise”. The presentation took place in a rather small room, but the images of my presentation, which were placed full-page, were projected quite large, around 3-4m wide. This made them appear very powerful and proved to me that images, if they are good, work best in presentations when they appear as large as possible and ideally cover an entire page.

DAMDI: Do you consider your appearance when you prepare a presentation? (ex. Dressing, make-up..)
BU: Not much. Usually I wear what I always wear during my normal daily office routine. However, suiting-up can certainly be an advantage if it fits the presentation and occasion. But it should not be overrated as it can be a disadvantage as well when you are over- or inappropriately dressed, distracting the audience. Everything has to fit the occasion and you have to feel comfortable, which is most important.

DAMDI: Anything to say to those making their PPT? If you were in the shoes of a client, what would you look for and why?
BU: What is most important is that the content of your presentation reaches your audience. Everything else – whether this be your graphics or what you wear – should serve that purpose only. When I am on the other side – which I am sometimes actually, while curating my magazine, for example – I always appreciate it when people make a point and use clear and convincing arguments.

Title: Presentation for Architecture Interview
Author: Bernd Upmeyer
Date: January 2017
Type: Commissioned interview
Publications: Presentation for Architecture
Publisher: DAMDI Publishing
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Pages: 66 – 67