Next time, skip the power point

Yesterday I had a speaking engagement for a leading Toronto based financial services company. The event was running a little behind schedule, normal for a conference. There was going to be a break at 11:00 and I would take the stage at 11:15 for 45 minutes. As the morning started to run behind, the decision was made to skip the 11:00 bio break and motor through. By the time 11:30 rolled around, I took the stage and stood between a tired and hungry audience and their lunch.

I had a fifteen slide deck ready to go, but instead ditched my clicker, asked the A/V engineers to turn up the house lights and waded out into the audience with my handheld microphone like Tom Peters meets Phil Donahue. I comprised the talk of the basic premise (You grow relationships by sharing intangibles and you can’t do that until you overcome scarcity thinking) and three stories. I must say, when you don’t use power points, you have much more flow and will be more advice and story oriented.

Over the next few speaking engagements, I’m going to see how few slides I can use. As a rule, I make each slide beg for its life — meaning that if it doesn’t illustrate something beyond words, it gets deleted. That would be a good rule to follow for any presenter in almost any situation.

If you haven’t noticed, power points have lost their sheen among conference audiences. If you start out your talk by promising to skip it altogether, you’ll get a lively round of applause.

Bring me in to speak to your group or at your event and I’ll try to go power point free!