Greetings. If you're like most talented people in business or government today, you'll probably be asked to make a presentation at some point in the weeks and months ahead. And you'll probably rely on a PowerPoint "deck" as the way to get your thoughts across. Why not? It has become the industry standard for making presentations. The de facto way that leaders, managers, professionals, financial analysts, scientists, researchers, quality specialists, customer service experts, HR managers, program managers, IT professionals, and almost everyone else conveys information. Through charts, graphs, and perfect bulleted statements designed to capture the essence of what really matters. And designed to suck the life out of any meeting by wearing the audience down until they literally or figuratively surrender to the onslaught of slides masquerading as meaning. Remember the classic song "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack? We could probably come up with a chart-topping PowerPoint version called "Killing Me Slowly" (with your slides).
Sounds like a pretty exciting assignment, doesn't it?
But it doesn't have to be that way if you simply think about the results that you are hoping to achieve from your "presentation." Results like building real energy and enthusiasm, or stirring a more meaningful conversation, or getting everyone on the same page, or inspiring action. Results that are way more likely to happen if you can tell a story and make a powerful connection. So even if you decide to use PowerPoint, begin by thinking about the essential story you have to tell and how it might be conveyed in just a few slides that include pictures, single words or concepts, or even the right embedded film clip. Each one intended to transport the audience to a place filled with ideas, insights, questions, and possibilities. Then make sure to step away from the presentation long enough to really connect with your colleagues as someone who is passionate about making something happen and eager to engage them in a journey of discovery that leads to greater innovation and business success.
We win in business when we bring ideas and opportunities to life. Not when we convey our hopes and dreams in a lifeless presentation.