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The best presentation...

Ever since my early warning shot about Powerpoint, I've noticed an increasing tide of writing about:
a. how much people hate giving presentations
b. how bad they are at it

I just came across a super new book on the topic, Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. Even if the content wasn't good (it is) the quality of the printing is so wonderful, it's a pleasure to hold. (found it courtesy of the insight of Richard Pachter).

Part of what Andy points out is that presentations to groups of 50 or more are usually done by people who aren't comfortable doing them, and they're not usually very well received.

Which led to this thought:

The best presentation might be no presentation.

If you're going to bother to do something, you ought to do it very well indeed. Otherwise, don't. Don't show up. Don't waste your time (or mine.)

"But," you say, "I have to." I have to because my boss said I do, or because I can't make the sale without it or, best reason of all, because it's my best chance to be in a position of authority in front of a whole bunch of prospects/influencers/investors/media, etc.

But, if you're going to do a lousy job...

So, here's what I'd like you to consider:

Skip straight to the part that people seem to like the best, and that you're the best at: the Q&A.

Step 1: get a confederate (a helper, not someone from Atlanta) to sit in the audience ready with the first obviously seeded question.

Step 2: Walk onstage. No laptop.

Step 3: "Any questions?"

Step 4: The seeded question is something like: "So, Seth, what have you been up to?"

Answer it. In English. Like the person you are, not the flat, stressed, boring person you become when you have a Powerpoint under your control.

At that point, five minutes into it, you've told me an honest human story about why you came and what you're up to. Now, the audience, sufficiently engaged, will happily pepper you with questions for your entire alloted time.

That's the way the world really works off-stage. Maybe it would work for you on-stage.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The best presentation...:

» the best presentation... from silk and spinach
In the best presentation Seth Godin suggests we give up on trying to "present", and instead engage the audience in a completely unscripted dialogue. I do like this approach, and in an... [Read More]

» We've All Seen Bad Sales Presentations on PowerPoint... from LandingTheDeal
...I still remember a presentation in Dallas I was a part of, done by a business associate. It was beyond bad. It was excrutiating. Just writing about it now gives me a queezy feeling. Seth Godin says it might be... [Read More]

» Seth Godin's Presentation Idea ... Needs Toastmast from Area A4 Toastmasters - Greater Danbury, CT
I'm a big fan of author, Seth Godin but today... Seth really missed the mark! Tricks can help you get through a presentation or two, but presentation skills are needed more and more if you every want to advance your career. That's where Toastmast... [Read More]

» Seth Godin's Idea ... Needs Toastmasters from Area A4 Toastmasters - Greater Danbury, CT
I'm a big fan of author, Seth Godin but today... Seth really missed the mark! Tricks can help you get through a presentation or two, but real speaking skills are needed if you want to advance your career. That's where Toastmasters comes in ... [Read More]

» How to captivate an audience from No Copy
Read a nice post on Seth's blog the other day. He's right: creating a good PowerPoint presentation is not that easy. Making it interactive is one possibility. Taking the 10/20/30 rule into consideration another one. Technorati Tags : powerpoint, [Read More]

» Is Power Point Necessary? from Sands
Seems like most people have an opinion on Power Point. As an IT Manager in my former life, a PPT presentation meant securing a room in advance, locating keys and extension cords, setup, minor troubleshooting, and then breakdown. For all... [Read More]

» Micropresentations from The Integrative Stream
The best presentation may not be much of one at all. Seth Godin points out most presentations are given to large groups of people who arent very good at presentations. Maybe wed all benefit if the people giving those presentations had ac... [Read More]

» Fear of Public Speaking from E-Valuation of Information Systems
When this morning I read the blog entries by Lasse Koskela and Kevin Rutherford about the advice of Seth Godin on better presentations (skip the slides, start directly with QA), I immediately had to remember Paul Grahams's remarks about Powerpoint... [Read More]

» The best presenation... from Career Opportunities: THe High-Tech Career Handbook
Yes, yes, I can't say it more clearly, YES! This is this best advice I have heard in months and something that I was already doing. I have been doing free computer classes at my library for years and this is basically how I started each and every... [Read More]

» Any Questions? from Debanter
If only Seth was a university prof. In high school we did an exercise sort of like this - current events sort of thing but you had to take a news story, broaden the scope of the issue and then [Read More]

» PPT: the root of all evil? from Right-Half Chow
Let me start with a little anecdote from How to move minds and influence people by Ian Carruthers (must read for anyone who ever needs to present and report on anything). The following was an email from a newly installed [Read More]

» The new presentation agenda: Any questions? from The Bell Curve Scar
Seth Godin suggests an interesting alternative to the Powerpoint-centered presentation, especially for those who struggle in front of large groups: The best presentation ... [Read More]

» Spare your audience from think mojo
For those who, like me, have suffered through an indeterminable number of PowerPoint presentations, Seth has a great approach. Youll need two things to pull this off  A thorough knowledge of your subject material and all things related; and Th... [Read More]

» A Really Bad Powerpoint from Search Engine Marketing Blog from Elixir Systems
After reading Seth Godin's eBook - A Really Bad Powerpoint I decided to try something different at the AMA presentation today. As the powerpoints were already written and e [Read More]

» electric slide from Sea Change Strategies Blog
This is the week of the big NTEN jamboree when many of non-profitlands webfolk gather in Seattle to bathe in the hot light of LCD projectors showing PowerPoint after PowerPoint. Lets face it, the fine art of communicating via PowerPoint i... [Read More]

» If you hate giving presentations... from Public Speaking Sucker
Seth Godin proposes a great idea: skip the PowerPoint and go straight to the QA. [Read More]

» Questions that Require Answers from The Company Rocks
The Question Answer (Q A) part of your presentation is either an opportunity for you to really "connect" with your audience or... it is a "trap door" that can make both you and your message quickly disappear. Many inexperienced s... [Read More]

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