Big Society in pictures – new #bigsociety from the frontline blog

I’ve been giving a lot of presentations over the last few months, as anyone who reads my blog will know. After 20 odd talks I’d like to think that my presentation has become about as smooth and polished as it’s ever going to get. But I can’t help a niggling feeling at the back of my mind, that the more used to giving the presentation I get, the delivery actually loses something….


Then, a couple of weeks ago Noel Hatch, who is never short of a new idea or interesting thought, shared a presentation on Twitter that was aimed at geography teachers to help them design engaging presentations for their students. The messages from the slideshow weren’t hugely radical, but nonetheless I found them compelling…..good design makes a difference, use images to get your message across, don’t rely on words, and absolutely no bullet points!!!





So I thought perhaps it was a good idea to try it. So out went my standard big society presentation with bullet points of themes and programmes, and in came big images, fewer words and metaphors-a-plenty.


So now I had a new challenge… that would help shake me out of my confident slumber…to find a way of explaining what Big Society was in pictures.


I happened to be speaking at a Big Society event in Dudley the following week (which was a great event by the way and generated a load of social media ch atter). So I thought I’d try the new Big Society in pictures presentation on the good folk of Dudley…minus one particular slide, which was deemed unsuitable by someone who will remain nameless…..what can I say? It’d been okayed by people in my office (on a majority decision!) and various others I’d run it by. See if you can guess which slide was considered too risqué…and I’ll tweet a mention for the first person to get it right (it’s not that hard, so the prize is proportionately modest).


So, here are my two presentations explaining what the Big Society is; one with bullet points and words, the other an attempt to explain the big society in pictures.

my first (standard) Big Society presentation:


my Big Society in pictures presentation:

I should point out that they are just meant to be an explanation of Big Society….and so doesn’t include analysis, comment etc…since I wasn’t doing that in Dudley, I’ve cut it out of the other one to give a fair comparison. The words I delivered were more or less the same in both instances. The only difference was the presentations I used.


What do you think? I’d really like to know which one you think works best? By best I suppose I mean makes you remember its content. I should say that the words don’t change….


I’d also like to know if you think the risqué slide is indecent, a bit of fun or art or a just a distraction from the daily grind!



Toby Blume

Chief Executive

Urban Forum






2 thoughts on “Big Society in pictures – new #bigsociety from the frontline blog

  1. #bigsociety in pictures really works for me. Nick Bird from Urban Forum kindly informed Dudley’s voluntary sector with a version of the first powerpoint in September, and having seen the second presentation in action in front of 150 people last week, it’s definitely the second which sticks in my mind. However it was easier to make a handout from the text in the first one! I think it’s also better to use image driven slides when your audience involves people with visual impairments. The presenter can quickly explain that there is an image of [whatever the image is] and continue to make their point, whereas a slide which is text heavy can lead to a presenter saying ‘well, you can read what’s on there’. I know that at least one member of the audience on Thursday who is visually impaired will have loved the use of images, as he is a really visual thinker. In a similar vein I’m find the use of graphics in delivering training is really helpful, and intend to blog about that soon.Thanks for sharing Toby. (I would also like it noted that it wasn’t me who censored the aforementioned slide!)Lorna

  2. Pictures every time for me – the fewer words on a slide the better and what a challenge to think about appropriate images. A bit of risque can be all to the good if it encourages someone to pay attention to the slide/content and what it is trying to say – not if it is just for the sake of it. Fun and the odd laugh help memories. I have always remembered a presentation given by Melanie Bowles at CDF about the Rural Inclusion Practice Exchange Programme where each slide had one picture on it and that was it – she just talked to the picture – including a hard hat (the ones many of us have to wear when working across sectors) and a bra – the support needed for the programme. That was about 7 years ago and it has stuck – speaks volumes.I guess one of the secrets is to be appropriate for the audience and remember that we all make mistakes. Great to depict Big Society in pictures – anything that helps us all to get a handle on it, thanks for the inspiration!

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