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Powerful Communication:  Giving Your Words Impact


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Column #4:  To PowerPoint or Not To PowerPoint!

  Q:  My admin took me aside and confided that my
       PowerPoint usage is worse than having no PowerPoint
       at all because all I'm doing is reading to people. 

       I realized that she is right. 
      Should I just skip PowerPoint then? 

                                                - R.G., San Diego

 

This is a common problem.  As the speaker, you feel that the written words back up your speaking and provide support if an audience member’s mind wanders.  You may feel engaged, but you are probably boring them because they can read faster than you can talk and after they’ve read, your voice becomes superfluous.

The answer to your question isn’t a simple Yes or No.  The complete answer is that PowerPoint done well is generally better than no PowerPoint at all.  Having something visual helps those audience members who are visual learners (estimated at 60%!) stay with you during the time you speak between changes in visual stimulus.

Think in terms of bullet points and let your PowerPoint be your guide through the program instead of an exact reflection of it.  If you are going to be speaking first about the quarterly imports from China, display a map of China when you get to that topic.  If your three bullet points are going to be the importing of (1) candles, (2) popsicles, and (3) telephones, that’s three more screens.  The first has a smaller picture of China (to remind us that we’re still discussing their imports) and another picture emphasizing candles.  It could be anything from a company image of the candles you import to a child blowing out a birthday cake.  But that’s all you get to put on that screen.  If you have less than about three minutes of information about the Chinese candles, you just talk…and they will listen.  Nothing else goes up there until the birthday cake is replaced by the second bullet’s picture:  a child eating a popsicle.

If you had too much to say about candles to go that long without more slides, then (on slide three) the candle picture gets made smaller next to (or instead of) the China map and the rest of the screen is for the bullet point pictures under candles. 

Notice how none of this fills your screen with words. Instead, it introduces a topic in an appealing way so that your audience wants to hear what you have to say about it.

Is this time consuming to produce?  Yes.  So you have to decide how important this presentation is to you.  Going back to my “complete answer”, you’re better off with no PowerPoint than doing it poorly.  At least they aren’t reading ahead then.

A final tip on not showing PowerPoint:  You can still use it for yourself.  No one forces you to project it on the screen…so long as it’s bullet points and key phrases so that you’re not just reading to them!

 

Milo Shapiro, interactive motivational speaker and
speaking coach/trainer, is the author of
“Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!”  

More on Milo’s coaching & training
at www.PublicDynamics.com
and as a speaker/teambuilder at www.IMPROVentures.com

Click to see a free preview and/or buy a copy of
“Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!”

 

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A favorite coaching testimonial:

 

Testimonial from Dr. John Jenrette,
CEO, Sharp Community Medical Group

        "I’ve participated in many programs on speaking skills over the years, but this was my first time trying individual executive coaching on the topic − and what a difference!  Your working directly with me advanced my knowledge and abilities to a level that group lessons never could.

         "The one-on-one approach allowed you to focus solely in areas where I needed development as a CEO speaking to my organization.  Together, we determined areas in which growth would benefit me and you tailored exercises directly relevant to programs that I give, setting that growth in motion.

        "The most definitive moments of payoff were after you worked with me on specific upcoming programs.  Your ability to help me find more powerful words, streamline my ideas more effectively, build stories with strong imagery, and communicate the final speech in a dynamic style is making an impact on my audiences.  After my presentation this week, I had two doctors came up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation.  Doctors!  A tough bunch to impress! 

         "I had confided in a colleague that I'd hired a coach.  The day after the presentation, he approached me to say he’s seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of both my material and performance.  He also said he could see that audience’s attention was decidedly stronger than in the past. "

         (Please click to see the whole letter from Mr. Jenrette)

 


Here's an email from Dr. Jenrette six months later:

 

Milo,

I am getting great feedback at my most recent talks and lots of questions on how I did this.

Today I presented at the Sharp Leadership conference to tell people how I was a “Learning Leader".  I told the story of how I wanted to improve my presentation skills and how I hired a speaking coach with improv skills and demonstrated some of what I learned and gave a hugely successful presentation.

Mike Murphy, the CEO of Sharp HealthCare, told me there are going to be lots of people who want to find out who I worked with and there were lots of congratulations afterward.

Our Director of the Six Sigma team here at Sharp HealthCare texted me (during the meeting!) and he has been looking for a way to improve his team of black belts on presentation skills, facilitating their work groups, etc., but he had not found anything very innovative. He and I talked after the meeting and you'll be hearing from him soon!

Thanks again, Milo and I have a feeling there will be more interest coming from Sharp.   Happy to let you know that we're already working on bringing you in to give your keynote "Public Speaking: Get A's, Not Zzzzzz's!" for a larger group so we can gauge interest in more coaching around Sharp.  Hope you have time in December for that.

John E. Jenrette MD

John E. Jenrette MD

Chief Executive & Medical Officer

Sharp Community Medical Group

 

 

 
 

 

Coaching Praised by:

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San Diego
Gas & Electric

           

US Navy's
information dominance systems command for
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warfare systems

         

Big Blue
Bus of
Santa
Monica

            

Roberta's
Exotic Gardens

(as seen
on QVC)

Int'l Association of Admin. Professionals

Universal Spirit Center
(The Rev. Kevin Bucy)


Also, coaching to other professional speakers like:

Vilis Ozols
Sarita Maybin
Liz Goodgold
Jennifer Sedlock
Kara Sadler
Colette Carlson
Barbara Sanfillippo
 

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