Fading into Sameness: How Too Many Slides Can Ruin Your PresentationWritten by Debbie Bailey
"I have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. In right hands, it's a great presentation tool. In wrong hands (and unfortunately, most usage falls into this category) we are cloning generations of boring slide shows narrated by speakers we barely notice." - Debbie Bailey
Ah, good old days. For me, those were days before PowerPoint slide shows became norm for virtually every business presentation given in corporate America. I fondly remember days when presenters spoke passionately about a subject near and dear to their heart without having to display every single thought on a slide. I reminisce back to time when 80 slides for a 20 minute presentation was NOT norm, when presenters weren't just slide narrators, when preparing for a presentation meant more than putting together your slide show.
Now don't get me wrong, I know advantages of using slides, however, I also know that too much of a good thing is NOT GOOD. I subscribe to Bill Wheless' philosophy about PowerPoint "It's like alcohol in hands of a drunk. What we need is moderation." Somehow, we must learn to use, but not abuse, positive attributes slides bring to our presentations. If we don't, we risk looking and sounding like every other boring business presenter. Worst of all, we become forgettable.
Think about last presenter who strongly affected you. More than likely that presenter used very few, if any, slides. The most memorable presenters rely on their delivery style to make their point, rather than a well designed slide deck.
When I first began teaching presentation skills more than 20 years ago, I struggled to convince presenters to incorporate use of visual aids. My how world has changed.
Today, I have to work twice as hard to convince presenters to rely less on their slides and more on their dynamic communication skills. It's almost as if presenters believe that all it takes to deliver a successful presentation is a good slide deck. The truth is, when asked to prepare a presentation, presenters spend vast majority of their time working on their slides, rather than their delivery style.
Consider for a moment why political candidates and presidents DON'T use slides… My guess, they don't want to divert any attention away from themselves. They understand what Roger Ailes, author of famous book You Are Message has known for quite some time. "For those who want to succeed, there is only one secret. YOU ARE THE MESSAGE."
The Listening Gap Between Sight and SoundWritten by Catherine Franz
The truth is there is a gap between sight and hearing, between visual and auditory, between seeing and believing. And fact is that this gap creates a billion dollar industry. Improving communication has billions of books on how-tos sitting on shelves and training services galore. And topic keeps on selling.
People push themselves to improve their verbal and writing skills as a prediction to their increased success. How many have asked question that Dr. Stephen Covey continually reminds us to ask, "Is it S.M.A.R.T.?" That is, is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. If you use SMART as a measurement, fact is, it doesn't work. Is great communication achievable and realistic? Is it SMART?
We want to believe so. We want to hope so. We want so badly to stand up in front of millions and say something as wisely as, "I have a dream...." Or simpler, we say something wise to our children or friends. Yet, have you ever asked if this was even possible? Martin Luther King didn't write this speech all by himself and possibly didn't even create phrase first. Yet we assume it to be. Based on our personal growth with sight and sound since nee we assume we can do it all alone, all by ourselves. Has any wise communication ever really been written all by one person? Not usually. There also seems to be at least a spiritual hand.
Did you know that we see things at 1,086 miles per second and we hear at 1,100 feet per second? Our culture is speeding up because it’s crafted a "seeing is best" mindset. Television, Internet, movies, list goes on. If visual world is communication, then is it based on visual alone? It seems to be going in that direction, doesn't it?
The truth is that never two shall meet -- seeing and hearing. They are too far apart in spectrum. In order to hear, truly hear, one must slow down to what seems like a baby crawl in comparison to speed of light and our sight’s reflection.
Yet, it takes two to fully understand communication does it not. Not sure, then that is correct. How would visually impaired or hearing impaired communicate then?
What is speed of feeling? Is it faster or slower than light or faster or slower than hearing? Is it measured by feet or by miles? No one knows, I don't think. Its never been quantitatively tested, at least anywhere I could find. Yet can it be? If you would measure feeling, what would that be? Maybe in nanoseconds. Feeling is instinctive and touch is a sense. Then is feeling a sense as well? Or are they both same? What is different between feeling and hearing? Can we define its difference?
Do you sit and watch television with a sense of touch or smell? Not at least from my blurb tube you can't. Did you ever think of hearing a television program? Of turning your back to box and watching show? Why not? Why not try it and feel this exact disconnect, this gap, that I'm talking about. Strain your ears to hear. Learn again what it means to hear.