Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Well for the most part, that's what it's like when you do a presentation with PowerPoint. Ive been to a number of conferences lately where good speakers with interesting topics were derailed by PowerPoint presentations. They spent half their talks fumbling around with slides. At first the audience is patient and has a little empathy. But after five minutes you want to scream, "Hey, numnuts! They're friggin' bullet points. Who gives a shit?! Just talk!".
PowerPoint and similar programs kill more lectures than they help. Yes, if you need visuals, fine. Let's say you're explaining how Facebook works or just "what is pornography?" Slides would help -- in some cases the bigger, the better.
But now you can easily make graphs and graphics to just underscore the text of your talk. 68% of homeowners have spice racks. "I don't believe you. Oh wait, I'm now looking at a slide of a spice rack and underneath it says 68% of homeowners have these. Okay, you sold me!".
Some people think if they don't arm themselves with PowerPoint that the audience will think they're unprepared. That's bullshit!
As a speaker, your job is to communicate. Talk to us. Share ideas, if it's a topic you're excited about let us see that. You don't have to be the worlds greatest speaker. But your genuine enthusiasm will sell your message. Not a dizzying display of pie charts.
A helpful tip that will mean more than a slide proclaiming "4 warning signs of gum decay" is to start your talk with a story. People love stories and it puts them at ease. People think you have to begin with a joke -- the great woody Allen intro: " I'm reminded of the incestuous farmer's daughter...". No. You don't have to do that. If you got a great joke and you're good at delivering jokes then yeah, kill 'em. But a brief story, preferably personal, will achieve the same goal of disarming your crowd.
Speak with passion. Again, you don't have to be Billy Graham or Zig Zigler. But make us understand why the topic is interesting to you. In this case, a well placed word is worth a thousand pictures.
The Mariners are in Cleveland to begin a brief two-game series against the Sons of the Wigwam. Join Rick Rizzs and me for the call tonight on 710 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners Radio Network, and MLB.COM.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM