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Friday, March 19th, 2010
I was at a conference this last week and it reminded me again how much I hate PowerPoint. I’m sorry, but I really do. It just makes for the most awful, boring, “shoot me now” presentations I’ve ever seen.
There are two big mistakes people make with PowerPoint: 1) They make the slides the star; 2) They have boring, unreadable slides.
Most of the advice for improving PP presentations focuses on the second item. But I think the first is much more important.
Here’s the classic example of making the slides the star, and I’m guessing you’ve seen this too. The screen is front and center, the lights are dimmed (so people can see the screen), and the presenter is off to the side at a podium, reading their notes—which happen to be the same, word for word, as what’s on the screen.
Friends, that’s not a presentation. That’s torture. And in large part because there’s absolutely no personal connection with the speaker.
Think about this for a moment. I was at the National Speakers Association’s national convention last Summer. This is an organization made up of the most professional, experienced, and successful speakers in the world. In other words, it’s a group that knows how to connect with an audience! And you know what? In not one of the general sessions did I see a single slide. Not one. There’s a lesson there for all of us.
Being effective with your audience is about connecting with them. And that’s not about slides, it’s about you. People relate to people. Your best tools for connecting are your voice, your body, your stories, and your expertise.
The message is, if you want to improve your presentations, focus on you first and your slides second. Here’s how. (more…)