Apr 25, 2009

Learn to Forget PowerPoint If Required

It makes a lot of sense to stop the projector and just talk.

I attended a presentation this week where the presenter was addressing the business problem; 'Should we change the status quo?'. He was of the view that we should not. When he was almost nearing the end of his slides, the key decision maker intercepted him and started a discussion. Mr. Presenter made his case well and drove home the point as to why we should maintain status quo. As a result his slides which were going to come at the end were not needed any more (because in the discussion which ensued he made those verbally). The key decision maker accepted the argument and shook his head and said "Good, point taken'. This was a cue to Mr. Presenter to move to the next section of the presentation. But he did not catch the cue and kept presenting the last few slides. He just could not resist to skip them. He was just not aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues.

After five minutes the key decision maker very unhappily had to say "Can we move forward now?"

What does this do to the presentation?
It spoils the good job done. After having made his point well (not through slides but through a discussion) the presenter could not pick up the cue to move on. He kept presenting the slides in the order they were made originally. He was a captive of his slides and forgot that the objective of the presentation had been met (read more on objective here). His inattentive style irked the audience. He almost spoiled the good work.

Moral of the story: "Keep your eyes and ears open. If your talking without the slides can do the job then why do you need the slides?"

What is your job? To present the slides or to prove your argument?