You go round to your friend’s house Saturday evening.
You grab a beer and gather in the living room.
Your friend turns off the lights and flicks on a projector screen.
You all look at the screen and your friend begins:
“This is us standing in front of blah blah blah monument.”
“This is us hiking up Mount Blah Blah Blah.”
That’s right! You’re spending a Saturday evening in your friend’s living room being walked, image by image, through their last vacation.
Exciting stuff, right?
But, before you laugh, there is something you should remember. This used to happen.
In the days before smartphones and digital cameras it was somewhat “normal” to have slide viewing parties like this.
Your friend took lots of pictures on their vacation. Had those pictures developed into slides. And invited all their friends around to watch, slide by slide, as they talked about every step of their vacation.
“This is me standing in front of the hotel.”
You didn’t care to see all of Bob’s 200 vacation snaps. There was a million other places you’d rather be. But you tolerated sitting in the dark living room for the chance to have a beer with Bob.
Change the topic, and take out the beer, and Bob’s darkened living room could be any meeting room across the globe, any day of the week.
We do business presentations in the same way we used to bore each other to death with vacation slides.
“Let me read and expand on this bullet point.”
“Let me read this heading.”
“Look at this chart. As you can see…”
If your audience would be bored and disengaged sitting in your living room looking at vacation snaps sans beer, they’re most likely bored and disengaged sitting in the meeting room looking at your bullet points.
It was boring in 1980. It’s boring now.
Something has to change.
The change is amazingly simple to make and Bob’s vacation snaps hold the key.
Why are Bob’s slides so boring?
Simple. Because Bob took a load of pictures and is now walking us through them one by one.
Why is Barry from Accounting’s presentation so boring?
Simple. Because he created a whole swag of slides and is now walking us through them one by one.
The key to making your presentation more engaging is to cut out the walking through slides one by one.
Walking through slides, makes the slides the driver of the presentation.
When the slides are driving the audience starts to think, “Why am I sitting here? I could have gone through these on my own.”
Remember, your business presentation doesn’t come with the benefit of beer to engage the audience, so you have a responsibility to engage them.
To engage, turn your preparation on its head. Here’s how:
- Plan your talk
- Practice your talk
- Create slides that will support your talk (not drive it)
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below.