Murray Pearce couldn’t work out why it always ended in disaster.
Every time he had a presentation to do he spent hours preparing. Every time it ended badly.
After his extensive preparation and practice sessions, Murray was convinced his presentation would go well.
But, the results were never good.
During his preparation sessions Murray ticked all the boxes:
- Sketched a broad outline
- Listed up the key points he wanted to talk about
- Put together his slides
- Practiced, practiced, and practiced some more
- Adjusted his slides
- Practiced a few more times
No one could say that Murray wasn’t thorough.
But his presentations always fell flat.
Despite the wonderful news contained in his speech and slides, the audience didn’t respond. His listeners spent most of their time day-dreaming or responding to text messages on their smart phones.
After a few failed deliveries, Murray even tried to spice his presentations up with rhetorical questions and other impact elements.
What was Murray doing wrong?
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Why were his presentations always falling flat?
If I had never seen Murray’s presentations, I would guess that his presentations were failing due to the disease: Slide-itis.
Murray has done almost everything right…
…He’s created an outline. He’s worked out the key points he needs to talk about in his presentation. He’s created his slides. He’s practiced a LOT!
The reliance on the slides to drive a presentation. And a presentation driven by the slides is a boring presentation. A presentation where the speaker is unable to build any kind of relationship with the audience.
You see, it doesn’t matter how much practice Murray does, by creating his slides before he practices he locks himself in to delivering “to” the slides.
When you deliver “to” the slides; When the slides drive your presentation; When you’re almost reading the slides to your audience… You cannot engage the audience. It’s very difficult to build any kind of rapport with them.
So, how do I prepare a presentation?
I do ALL of my planning and practice before creating the slides.
I make sure I know exactly what I’m going to say before I create the slides.
The slides are the last thing I do before I deliver.
Creating the slides last helps me to:
- Add impact to my delivery
- Create the right amount of slides for my delivery
- Keep the audience engaged, but not distracted
- Avoid creating slides that I have to read to the audience
- Talk naturally to the audience and not be pushed along by slides
What’s your experience with slides?