Innovating Through Artistry

PR Society of America PRESENTATION – what not to do

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 12, 2009 at 4:17 am

I forgot how much I enjoy doing a presentation.

I had the best time on Wednesday with the Public Relations Society of America.

Just to pass on some highlights – I talked about the similarity between public speaking and acting- and I want to make some comments on what I observed and learned.

I noticed people using microphones when they didn’t need to and improperly at that – too close to their mouths and poping their P’s.  And Power Point. I can’t believe it’s still being used and in such volumes.  Listening to the speaker and reading the power points just put me off, so I left.  The secret to power points is less is more.  I worked with a speaker from Intel and she was going overseas to do an important presentation on a new product and had to preview it for her department before she went.   23 power points had her by the throat until I told her to forget them and write the speech she wanted and then pick 5 to support it. A sigh of relief and work that ended in clarity was the result.

I also watched a speaker rattle off important information with no attention paid to voice, or contact to audience. Everyone was writing down everything on the screen and also trying to write down what was said. What’s the point? Why not just read it in a book or on line and ask questions on line. Why the need to have an actual speaker there? And what will be remembered? All that writing I guess. But do you check all your notes? Well someone asked if they could get the information on line and yes they could so the writing stopped. But the cell phone texting began. I know when I’ve made notes in the past I was writing as quickly as I could and not paying attention and when re-reading my notes at a later date, I only understood about half of them.

No stories where told to help people remember the theme or a particular point. I know some of it was technical. After all it was about digital communication. Still, a word, an anecdote, a gesture, a moment that the audience could have taken away to remember the most important part or parts of what they learned would have helped and broken up the monotony.

A lot of learning happened and I’m glad I can remember some of it. If I wanted more, I guess I could have bought the books on sale.

I was, however, gratified to find that audience members for – Powerful Communication Using Acting Skills – came up to tell me they received a lot of information they could use.  I made certain that if they were writing something down, I stopped and kept up with them.  I made certain that eye communication was happening at all times.  I made certain that I was listening.  I made sure that I was painting striking pictures to take away and think about and use to create a  new way of communicating for each of them.   I made sure I was present, present, present. After all it is all about the audience.

  1. It was great to read these helpful suggestions! Having just given a short speech to high school students and feeling like I did not connect as well as possible, I now know why. It will be great to apply some of these concepts to future talks. Thank you.

  2. BRAVO!!!

  3. I agree with you on power point presentations. I recently walked out on session where it was used. Thanks for stating it once again and reminding folks.

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