speaking infront

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powerpoint-less

I got some really nice feedback today about last week’s course on re-thinking presentations
“What I liked best was that you exceeded my expectations yet again and proved to us that WE are the presentation and that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, rather than hiding behind a PowerPoint presentation, gives the talk more power and really engages the audience”
Of course it’s lovely to get such feedback but this blog is not about showing off. I really want to pick up on Petronella’s point that it’s the person not the PowerPoint that matters in a presentation.
When presenters start to really engage the audience (which surely is the point of a presentation) they tend to use less and less technology. Or even no slides at all!
I’m not totally against PowerPoint but having too many slides can get hugely in the way of your relationship to your audience. And standard slide presentations often constrain a speaker to a fixed path rather than being able to respond to what the audience wants.
My wife was in an audience as one nervous presenter  said “As the previous person has run over and taken nearly all my time, I will have to show you my 120 slides in 20 minutes rather than 45 minutes” And off he went at high speed, showing the audience his slides in record time. In the process he completely lost his audience. He had delivered his slides but he didn’t get his ideas across to the audience. He hadn’t communicated.
Presenters should really serve their audiences rather than being subservient to their slides. Of course it takes confidence and a bit of creativity to think differently about presentations but for the audience’s sake it’s really worth it.
When presenters have the courage to allow themselves to be fully seen and to bring their authentic selves to the presentation then very powerful things can happen.
It’s not the polished presenters that audiences really want, it's real human beings that they can trust.
We have to stop thinking that all presentations just equals slideware
And start thinking that our job as a presenter is to make our ideas really stand out and to really connect with our audience.