September 26, 2011

Power Point is not a speech writing tool!

Last week, while flying to Orlando, I observed someone writing his speech, using Power Point. 

He explained as we boarded that he had a 'presentation' to make (bad sign), then after we took off, pulled out his laptop and opened several previous presentations and started to cobble together (copy-paste) his presentation.  He's typical, unfortunately, and that's why so many conference presentations suck.  

Watching him, I saw a pattern.  He'd grab three or four slides, move them over and gradually build up a presentation by modules.  But here's the problem: People don't learn at a modular level.  They learn at a linear level, where you lead them to a place of action.  Read Nick Morgan to learn why this is essential to moving an audience to action. 

Here's the way I've been doing it for a few years: 

1.  Do your research about the audience, where they need to be moved to, and how that intersects with your expertise or experiences.  

2. Outline the presentation on paper or in Word.  Figure out your introduction, your call to adventure (eg., we've got to change!) and your calls to action or takeaway points.  Make sure that you are building a premise, making a promise then giving solid prescriptions they can swallow right away. 

3. After your outline is done, then, and only then, you open up Power Point and use slides to illustrate various points (not create your speaker notes!).  Make every slide beg for it's life, and you'll avoid death-by-Power-Point.  You'll find that the end result is a speech that just may change the world. 

Posted at 10:34 AM  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)



great article


Great analysis


Insightful article


I really have to admit it’s quite a novelty to arrive at a relatively ‘different’ blog like this, great job. I expect I’ll be coming back fairly soon and I look forward to reading your next post when I do.


Learning at a linear level is key. You have to captivate your audience and keep them wanting more. Wouldn't it be nice to work in your Pjs?


Clever observation and article. Thank you for sharing.
Aaron Varuolo Management Consultant


Thank you so much for this post, Tim. How many of us have suffered through "Death by PowerPoint" via phoned-in presentations that were better read from a laptop with no travel involved than hearing someone read them to us?

Audience engagement is definitely the key!

Spot on AGAIN, my friend!

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