In the last twenty years, we have become cyborgs. Our humanity is intersecting into our technology, and the submersion is accelerating.
There are lots of examples of this phenomenon, from our phones constantly in our hands to the intermediary of screens in many areas of our work and personal lives.
But today what is blowing me away is clients who prioritize their slide deck over their own human communication. We were working with a client just this week who didn’t realize that he could refine the delivery of his content without altering his slides. His voice, his energy, his experience and understanding are all vital parts of communicating the presentation, and he had no idea that he could improve those elements, only that he could continue to work on the deck.
In his work culture, PowerPoint has become the norm so completely that the person delivering the slides is secondary (at best).
And people complain that presentations are boring.
And people feel disengaged.
And teams have to discuss the same topics over and over.
And teams complain about the time they spend in meetings.
And companies like Ignite CSP are brought in to coach, only to hear “My slides are what really matters.”
If your slides are all that matters, email them to the people who need to see them and save everyone a lot of time. If your company doesn’t need humans to present the deck, then don’t ask them to do it. Send the slides alone, or have an AI tool record a narration track.
If, on the other hand, a human being’s expertise will elucidate the content, give them what they need to be the most important part of the presentation. Give them coaching so they can present with impact. Choose a set-up, in person or virtually, that gives the privilege of center stage to the person and not the screen. Suggest a switch from data-heavy charts and slides to evocative visuals.
We need to be clear about what all these presentations are for. Shift the culture to slide decks that supplement, rather than supplant, the speaker.