I read this today and I agreed 100% with the writer:
Over time, I identified a single factor that makes the biggest difference between a great meeting and a poor one: PowerPoint. The best meetings don’t go near it. (Peter Bregman: Harvard Review Article)
It drives me crazy when someone stands up in a meeting, especially when leaders of an organization are present, and open a powerpoint and go into a monologue as they read each slide. The disengagement that happens to the people in the room destroys any potential of accomplishing the purpose of the meeting.
A lot of presenters fall prey to the “media sin” where they feel they have to have a clever youtube clip, picture, or cartoon for each point. Presenters try to harness the impression of media to persuade the audience.
The power of the presentation is not in Power Point, it’s in the story and narrative of the presenter. Great presenters can take information and inspire the audience with it in a narrative instead of putting “lipstick on a pig” and glitzing up the screen.
The truth is, most presenters use Power Point as a crutch. We will use media to make up for our lack of preparation on our presentation. I believe, if we took the time to own (memorize) our content and think of creative transitions to take the audience from one section to another our presentations would be more compelling.
Instead, most people use their time to “bling out” their information into a Power Point presentation which they will end up reading on a screen. The end result of this approach will create a boring presentation where the people in the room wish they would have just had this emailed to them.
Take the Challenge
So if you fit the Power Point Profile, try creating your next presentation without it. Use the time you would put into creating a power point and work on making your presentation fit the people in the room and inspire them to a call to action that has a mutual benefit to you and them.
Obviously, this is a soap box of mine. I’d love to hear what you think are meeting killers. Leave them by commenting to this post.