Table of Contents

Are You A Selfish Presenter?

In an effort to improve my slide design skills, this week I began reading The Non-Designer’s Presentation Book. And there are lots of good tips for slide design.

This paragraph made me sit up a bit straighter:

I, too, love to jump right in to the software, but I have to admit that by doing so I get bogged down in what the presentation looks like much too soon and end up redesigning the whole thing several times as I add more content. So I’ve learned to control myself and get organized first.

A design expert suggesting that before you open PowerPoint or Keynote, you gather your thoughts – I loved it… and then I read the suggested ways to organize your thoughts. Oy.

Putting together an outline before throwing together your slides is a good idea, but if that’s where you’re starting, I’d call you a very selfish presenter. You’ll certainly have a more coherent and organized presentation, but have you asked what your audience needs to get from your presentation? Here are two questions to ask yourself before outlining your presentation (and before opening PowerPoint or Keynote):

Question #1: What should your audience be able to do better or differently once your session is done?

What happens if you don’t ask this question?

If your audience isn’t able to do something better or differently as a result of your session, then why are you (or they) there in the first place? You may be the foremost expert in your field, but if you simply spout your expertise at the audience, how do you know whether they can do anything better or differently, or whether they were daydreaming of other things as you lectured?

Question #2: How will your audience best learn your content?

What happens if you don’t ask this question?

If your audience isn’t able to absorb your content, then why are you (or they) there? Some people process verbal presentations more easily. Some people need visual aids (like well-crafted slides). Some people could benefit from handouts on which to take detailed notes. Many people find job aids extremely useful once the presentation has ended and they return to their offices.

Yes, thinking about these things takes a little more work. But failure to ask these two questions when you’re mulling over your next presentation can truly lead to a self-centered presentation from which your audience may not gain anything.

Looking for a way to organize your thoughts around your next presentation?  You might like these related blog posts:

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Related Articles

Better PowerPoint

Creating Better PowerPoint Decks, Faster

PowerPoint can be a very powerful visual aid and important tool for training… if it’s done well. Today’s post isn’t so much about pretty images, it’s more about organizing your thoughts before you even open PowerPoint on your computer.

Read More »
airline flying through a sky with palm trees

3 Job Aid Design Lessons from a Beach in Hawaii

An effective job aid might be able to replace the need for actually training someone. At the very least, it can be distributed as part of a training to help people remember a rule or how to do something new. Drawing inspiration from “job aids” we see every day when we walk around can make our job designing effective job aids easier.

Read More »

Join our Mailing list!

Get regular updates from Endurance Learning.

Subscribe for Updates

Get regular updates from Endurance Learning.