Productivity Tips on Presentations: Inform, Inspire and Motivate

19 thoughts on “Productivity Tips on Presentations: Inform, Inspire and Motivate”

  1. By far, the best presentations I gave where all turning into a dialog after a few minutes.

    The slides played a minor role (sort of background and prep material) and where quickly put aside.

    But those presentations were rare.

    Most of the times, the audience was (expecting to be) on the receiving end, not ready or prepared for a true dialog.

    If that doesn’t sounds all too similar for online participation..

    1. Hi Joachim! Thanks much for dropping by and for the wonderful feedback comments! Yes, indeed, those are the really good presentations that I just can’t get enough of! And perhaps you are also highlighting a bit of the issue we may have noticed for far too long with regards to having folks on the receiving audience, which is basically the comfort zone, the easy to go by one, because it requires little thinking, and interaction altogether!

      In fact, your comments reminded me of a blog post put together by Euan Semple a couple of years ago where he anticipated knowledge workers’ reluctance to share because of the inability to do critical thinking, i.e. to share and exchange ideas, to learn from others, to collaborate and innovate together, because that kind of activity fell off out of the ordinary. And somehow I suspect you are correct in our assumption that perhaps we need to shake the ground a bit and get people moving into that critical thinking and participation, showing how things need shift, whether in the social networking world or in face to face events.

      Otherwise, we are showing we haven’t learned much over the course of the last 18 years when the first wikis and blogs came about! Gosh, yes, we need to encourage more of that mindset shift, otherwise, we will be going back to square one! Onwards, onwards, please! 🙂

      PS. Hoping that one day I may get a chance to sit a speaker session from you and enjoy the dialogue, just as much as I keep enjoying it online over the course of the years! Thanks for the inspiration! And keep it going, please!

      1. Thanks for your kind words, Luis, and yes that gets to the heart of the issue! Critical thinking is a key 1.0 skill that’s in desperate need for our 2.0 world.

        1. Agree so much with you Joachim! Critical thinking is so powerful for getting a progress and keep on asking the “why” and “what if”. There is always something behind and for finding benefits and synergies is this very important. Some of the best ideas are never or poorly implemented because of lack of critical thinking and leadership.

          1. Hi Joachim & Christer! Many thanks for dropping by and for the follow-up commentary! Goodness! You both are so spot on! Today’s world is in very much need of critical thinking, and not just for presentations, but for everything that’s happening around us, whether work or personal related. I am finding it fascinating how plenty of people have stopped doing critical thinking just because of “fear of…” something happening to them or those around them, when in reality it’s that very same lack of critical thinking the one that accelerates whatever would be happening. Somehow I sense we may have lost our senses and perspective on where we are heading just because we would want to conform, so that we don’t lose our jobs, our position in society, our friends / family and so forth, when I remember the days where those critical thinking conversations were the glue of every single grouping!

            Indeed, we need to do a lot of work in this area and help free people up from those fears and reluctance to think and participate in whatever the conversations. It’s damaging more than helping out eventually!

      2. Great reply Luis! I have noticed this too and the challenge as I see is how to dare to invite and be open for the passive or negative people without letting them be outside or affecting the “workshop” in a negative way. It’s about leadership where you have to be self confident with the present and unknown. I have used the six thinking hats with success for dealing with some people. If they are wearing a “black hat” I can ask a question what is there biggest hesitation about interaction and if not replied asking someone else and if still quite… I use this to moving forward from and trust my ability to use it and stick to the topic without loosing control. I am rather running workshops and seminars than doing presentations.

        1. I know what you mean, Christer, and I do think that one of the issues we all seem to have when being confronted with this dilemma of doing a presentation or a workshop type of format for the session we all seem to want to be perfect, with no limits, showing our expertise, even the audience, without opening up to the opportunity to learn from the exercise. In my experience, if we break those barriers, and usually humour is a great entry point over here, you would have a much more interactive method of engaging with the audience and the audience with you.

          So, usually, what I end up doing in most cases is making a bit of fun of myself, showing how I, too, have vulnerabilities and limitations within my own domain, and how I have learned to live with them by opening up the window to learn from others, specially, those in the audience and that seems to do the trick quite consistently, time and time again. Perhaps on a follow-up blog post I will share some of the various techniques I use to generate that relaxed atmosphere to get folks in the mood for that learning session by interacting with one another, including yours truly… Will see if I can put it together shortly… Thanks for the heads up!

  2. You are still the leader related to social media and collaboration for me Luis. I am spending a lot of time in social media and also with business networking. I have shared this and Love how you are leading by examples. Yes, I know the difference between talking only from heart. It was a very well written text and I hope people will take their time to read it 😀

    1. Hi Christer! 🙂 hehe Thanks much for those kind comments and for sharing these insights! I greatly appreciated and I am glad to read that these blog posts and other social business ramblings from yours truly are proving to be very helpful to other folks as well, just as much as I benefit myself from others doing the same. This is what it is all about, isn’t it? How we get to interact with one another, share our knowledge, expertise and know-how, learn from others, tackle business problems to find those solutions and do it in an innovative and collaborative manner. The way forward, indeed, and the one we should keep pushing gently for, don’t you think?

      Again, thanks much for the extended feedback and kind commentary and keep up the conversations! 🙂

      1. I am searching for some Great guest bloggers and you are one of the leaders I would love to get some blog posts from on my blog. Please take a look and see if you are interested. I have been quite successful with my social media presence and want to have quality articles as yours 😀

        1. Hi Christer, thanks much for the heads up and for the kind invite. I’d love to to write a guest blog post on your blog, but alas I’m currently travelling for work and won’t be returning till beginning of next week, then have got a bunch of other related work to do and won’t be freeing up myself potentially till end of the month, so if you are ok with that, let me know, and I will put something together… You know where to find me 😉

  3. Hi Luis, I’ve been a presentation designer for the best part of 20 years, and have been gently persuading my clients to use less slides, use less on their slides, or use no slide-ware at all. That might seem counterintuitive for someone that earns their living by making presentations for other people, but the results always speak for themselves!

    Congratulations on making the move away from using slides, I think it’s particularly suitable for live events when you have an audience that you can interact with. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater either! Not all communication can be done without slides. Often we’re trying to explain or show something, perhaps something physical or even an abstract concept, and the use of slides / pictures / diagrams can really help to make these understood. And of course, not everyone is confident enough to give a presentation without at least some kind of slide-ware as a framework to hang their speech on, to give it some structure, and make sure they don’t miss out any important points. This can be done with very simple slides, but it gives the speaker or presenter a massive confidence booster, and a crutch to hold on to. The important thing is to make the presenter the center of the audience’s world, and not the slides or document – we are human after all.

    The interesting thing for me is that we somehow lose this human aspect in our everyday business lives when we share presentations & documents with our clients and colleagues. We stick them in an email or on to Sharepoint and hope they’ll be understood in the way we intended. We can of course write lengthy emails explaining things, but more often than not, we don’t have time. How many times have you looked at a document or slideshow that’s been sent to you and thought ‘that was fascinating & inspirational’? Probably never, because without the person explaining it and giving his or her insights, it’s just information, and information very rarely motivates.

    1. Hi Spencer! Many many thanks for those wonderful comments and thanks for noticing the blog post! Greatly appreciated! Indeed, I think you have hit the nail on the head with your remarks about freeing up ourselves from that obsession with slide-ware and use it accordingly without throwing the baby out in the water. In fact, when talking to my colleagues about this subject we all kind of agreed that slides are still very powerful when conducting demos, or wanting to show something without having to go to a live system. So, there *is* still a purpose for the slides in the right context and for the right purpose, but from that to say that we should have them all over the place, probably not, like you well indicated.

      I loved your remarks about bringing back human back into the center piece of the presentation itself and I could surely agree with that one, along with the context of what the slides try to portray and that only the individual can interpret accordingly. I think at the end of the day it’s all about figuring out and rather well the context of how far slides should be part of that center stage along with the speaker. Very helpful for upcoming presentations I will be doing, for sure!! So thanks much for that feedback, Spencer, greatly appreciated!

      @Christer, you are ON! 😀

      1. I’m delighted to have found your blog – the future of knowledge management and the crossover of social enterprise are right on topic for me as I take my startup on a hopefully long and fruitful journey into this space!

  4. Hiya Luis, glad to hear the no slides initiative is going well. I’ve got a new hash tag for you #lawwppt 😀

    First of all, thanks again for another great post. Really useful + interesting. nice one!

    I can’t say that I’ve done anywhere near as many presentations as you but I did do one last week for my extended team without slides and so I thought I’d share that experience. Personally, I find it liberating rather than exposing without slides as I only have one thing to focus on: the audience! In the past I’ve found myself ploughing through slides come what may, worrying about each bullet point, so in the end the slides are dictating the presentation and not me. With no slides I find more freedom to go with the flow, expand or skip bits depending on the mood.

    During prep I recorded 3-4 practice attempts on a tape recorder and (coincidentally) trimmed it down from about 40 mins to around 20, which does seem more digestible.

    Was fortunate that one of the team video’d it so I’m going to play that back to see if I can learn a bit about my body language etc, which can definitely always improve. I always find it weird hearing your own voice back or watching the video but I guess no pain no gain!

    Interesting too you mentioned making some fun of yourself to open the dialogue. Been mulling over a potential blog post for this. I think the whole subject of humility and taking yourself *off* the pedestal is a fascinating one that could be one of our biggest challenges and opportunities in all forms of coms / working life.

    Thanks again and keep’em coming Luis, leading the way as ever!

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