I’m presenting tomorrow morning to an audience of which I’ve been advised that one of the main people “doesn’t like Powerpoint”. The theme of the presentation is disruption.

In a spirit of self-disruption I’ve decided to present without slides. I might do an odd bit of the old flip chart, but no pictures. I don’t regard myself as a “bad Powerpoint” person. I tend to use big images and the decks I produce are usually visual aides that make little or no sense without me talking. Some might say they make little or no sense with me talking…

Preparing to present without them, though, has made me realise how much they have become part of my schtick. Visual metaphors. Puns. Pictures of the children to win over parts of the audience. Tomorrow morning I fly without any of that.

It’s been interesting, because it’s made me really think about the narrative of what I’m going to be talking about. With few if any visual clues or prompts, for either me or the audience, the story needs to be absolutely clear. To tell and to receive. And there is nothing for me to hide behind.

A recent theme of conversation provoked by Euan Semple has been around the vulnerability that he, I and others feel in working in the ways in which we do. Showing our working, revealing something of ourselves. But actually standing up in front of people can be itself a series of masks and props that aren’t about honesty. Going sans slides makes me feel properly vulnerable in a way that expressing my thoughts here on my blog maybe doesn’t any more.

Feeling vulnerable is something we should do once in a while. Some people throw themselves of mountains in controlled ways. I stand up in front of people and talk…

2 thoughts on “Flying without slides…

  1. Good luck. I have found it a nerve-wracking, but liberating experience. You put yourself and your knowledge on the line. The point is, if you don’t know your story by now, it’s time you did. Great poem by Apollinaire: “Come to the edge.’ ‘We can’t. We’re afraid.’ ‘Come to the edge.’ ‘We can’t. We will fall!’ ‘Come to the edge.’ And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.” One of the most valuable pieces of advice someone once gave me: only you know what you are going to say! i am sure you will fly!

  2. Reblogged this on Systems Savvy and commented:
    After a great, useful conversation with Euan Semple yesterday, I am ramping up my efforts at “Working Out Loud” again. I came across this short post via a tweet on Euan’s website. It touches on several themes I find of great interest, not the least of which is the necessity of accepting – perhaps embracing – one’s vulnerability. There’s also some sage advice here in the comment by guy1067.

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