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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Are your slides controlling you ?

Recently I attended a training session conducted by a person whom I respect for his subject matter knowledge and passion. As he was conducting the session, he made a very profound remark. He said, “I personally prefer conducting these sessions without slides because I get a feeling I am being controlled by them”. This struck me as completely true!

In many (if not most) presentations, the speaker often identifies his/her entire talk with the slides. Slides are prepared first without any thought about the logical flow of the message, and then the speaker talks around the slides. This is putting the cart before the horse. I personally prefer to write down the key points of my content in a logical flow and then prepare slides if needed.

Some people use slides to just show the key points (as a memory aid). Although this is relatively harmless, it can distract people including the speaker! A better way would be for the speaker to carry a small card in his/her palm or leave it on a table in front and look at it occasionally. This will make sure that the speaker retains the entire attention of the audience and not the slides.  If you have too many keypoints in your talk to fit into a small card or a sheet of paper, then you should seriously re-think your content. Are you trying to dump too much on your audience ?

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