April 8


Letting Go: No More Perfectly Prepared Presentations and PowerPoint Decks.

By Sara Canaday

April 8, 2013

engage, PowerPoint, presentations, speakers, visuals

OK, I admit it. Being uber-organized feeds my need to feel somewhat in control of my time, resources, and results. I love the feeling of being over-prepared for a presentation with a solid framework, rocking transitions, and a theme that seems to magically appear with each and every story. However, beyond the selfish and seemingly productive advantages of being highly prepared, I’ve seen some disadvantages that could slowly, but surely impact the overall quality and texture of my presentations, my ability to grow as a speaker and, ultimately, the depth of the connections I can make with my audience members.

We’ve been trained and conditioned to over-prepare for every meeting and every presentation. For many that means Gantt charts, Excel spreadsheets, wordy proposals, and the ever dreaded bulleted PowerPoint decks. For speakers that means detailed presentation outlines, choreographed stories, and perfectly timed humor. Sure, our audience expects the clarity, structure and wit that come from carefully planned presentations.

6a01156f8293a4970c017c385a78e2970bHowever, our audiences also want a fluid experience and a more authentic connection with their presenters. What this means for all of us is that we need to be more responsive to our audience “real-time”. As hard as it will be for some of us (ahem) to let go of our perfectly organized framework and visual models, it will serve us to be much more fluid and in-the-moment. One way to do this is to reconsider the carefully crafted bullets, statistics, and quotes that sometimes plague our PowerPoint slides. We will need to, (brace yourself here), veer from our detailed slides and use visuals that don’t tie us down to what we see on the screen. As presentation strategist and owner of reflectivespark.com, Paul Vorreiter
points out, your visuals should support your stories and inspire your explanations. I for one, am willing to throw out my well-crafted charts and parallel bullet points to enhance my audiences’ experience. Are you?

Sara Canaday

About the author

Sara began her journey working full-time while she earned an MBA. As she climbed the ladder of corporate America, she repeatedly observed a surprising phenomenon: the most successful people weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ or best job skills. She recognized instead that career advancement was much more closely linked with how people applied their knowledge and talents — their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and influence others.

Today, Sara is happily fulfilling that commitment as a keynote speaker, author, and executive coach. These venues have given her the opportunity to mentor and support thousands of people in diverse situations, inspiring many of them to move from insight to action with dramatic career results.

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