Continued from page 1
Perhaps there should be a 12-step program for getting over overhead projectors. While they're unlikely be an addiction, they can be a crutch, one that allows us to make presentations without adequate thought or preparation.
Personally, I like idea of giving up overheads and projectors altogether. A colleague recently asked if we should use overheads when we do some upcoming presentations together. I expressed my opinion firmly. Need I say what that was?
If you're not ready to give them up, use your overheads in a supporting role. Don't ask them to carry a substantial part of message; you should deliver message, and overheads should reinforce what you say.
For example, if your presentation involves numerical information, a simple bar or line graph might help audience get point. Or, if you're talking about a sequence of events and their order is critical, a numbered list might help.
But best bet may be to go without. Before presentation, think hard about message or messages you want to convey. Boil them down into no more than three points, and then look for stories, analogies, metaphors, and anything else that will illustrate and reinforce each point. Try to create mental images with words, like good radio ads.
In summary, overhead projectors put serious communication barriers between speakers and audiences. Get rid of them. You'll be glad you did - and your audience will, too.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com