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Thinking outside the box for presentations

Looking for ways to make a presentation pop?
Looking for ways to make a presentation pop?
Photo by Rick Diamond

The business world is full of power point style presentations. Who hasn't secretly groaned in a meeting when spying the page count at the bottom of the first slide and seeing three digits? It seems that business pc's hard drives are full of slide decks from years of meetings, conference calls and webinars.

The meeting speaker looking back at a screen with a laser pointer and a changer has become not only iconic in business but a tired cliché as well.

In an urge to jazz up the presentation, most speakers rely on the software to reveal, move and sound effect the message. A little humor with a picture of their dog or something has been used so often as to not even create a murmur in the audience. And the time honored mistake of having a person's pc home screen displayed with its puppy pictures and icons happens hundreds of times every day.

Another favorite is the presenter during a webinar leaving their e-mail notification on so the participants see all of the person's e-mail, maybe even a couple making comments about the audience!

Want to make your presentation pop?

Let me tell you about one of the best presentations I ever saw. It was a speaker, a clothesline and art work on the line, each with a number in the corner. (The speaker was a talented cartoonist.) The speaker informed the audience that he would not be using a tired linear approach to his presentation and invited the audience to call out a number.

Once a number was called, he would walk to the paper, unpin it, and hold it in front of him while he discussed the subject it represented. Then the audience would call out another number and he would repeat the process again until the artwork was exhausted.

What a breath of fresh air this was at a conference where every other presentation (there were over 100) was a power point presentations.

In the usual fashion of large conferences, exit surveys gave the above presentation the highest rank of all the presentation.

You may want to try this out for your next presentation. If you have been reading this series for very long, you will know that my caveat for knowing your audience is important. I doubt a clothesline and art work would go over well in a Fortune 500 stockholders meeting!

Having said that, think on the ways that you might occasionally step away from the slide deck and the laser pointer. Come up with some other creative way to get your point across and watch the delight (and relief) in the eyes of your audience!