Friday, December 5, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Okay, here's the deal - I've been really fortunate to be selected for presentations at national events the past few years. This year alone I have spoken at 8 conferences, giving a total of 13 presentations. The topics ranged from Creation Care Audits to leadership development. The topics were all submitted in advance, and chosen by the conference team. All were designed to give a lot of information to an audience (supposedly) interested in learning. And so I dutifully did the PowerPoint thing, with anywhere from 30-85 slides for talks ranging from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. They were deemed successful by the surveys and the conference team, and everybody seemed happy as they headed off to their next seminar.

What's wrong with this picture?

I have come to the conclusion that I am going about the right thing in the wrong way. I have had suspicions of this for many months, but it was brought home to me at the Catalyst Conference in October when I heard Seth Godin rip through well over 100 slides in less than 45 minutes. The kicker - it seemed like 5 minutes, and I was captivated by his presentation. Godin wasn't giving information out - he was telling a story. He issued a call to action through the story, and by the end everyone in the 12,000 + audience seemed ready to take him up on it. Oh, and by the way - the "information" was given out as his latest book - to all the audience - as he left the stage.

If you want to give out information, put it in writing.

If you want action, speak in stories.

So here it is the end of 2008, and I'm prepping for presentations coming up in January and February of 2009, with the likelihood of more coming throughout the year. And I'm pretty much starting with a blank page - or in this case, a blank white board. Using the ideas I've posted about recently, I'm crafting a new presentation that will be highly visual. The audience I will be speaking to will be expecting "information" - and the conference requires it - but it will come in written form after the presentation.

Here's my first attempt at white boarding on a big scale - as in a 4 x 8 whiteboard in my office. It's not a great picture, but maybe you can get the idea. What you can't get is the feeling of creativity, flow, and grasp by having the major points of what I am trying to communicate in front of me all at once.

This is going to be really fun.

1 comment:

g-force said...

Bob, thanks- your blogs are of great help to me as I reflect on how to tackle the prep work for my dissertation proposal next year. It's amazing how readily this approach transfers from consulting to academia. You may have gained another whiteboard convert...

Blessings & peace
Genise (Bronx, NY)