Pit(ch)fall 6. Playing second fiddle to the charts.

I am not alone in saying beware of ‘death by powerpoint’. It is the seemingly inevitable first port of call for most presentations. It is inexpensive, efficient, easy to create, can be the basis of a leave-behind and, properly used, can aid communication.

For these reasons you find that at rehearsal, assuming one takes place, (mandatory  says pitchcoach!)  people automatically turn up, powerpoint poised. It’s only at the rehearsal, and not always then, that discussion  takes place on what would be the best form of communication to create impact.  And, surprise, powerpoint is not always the answer.

Two stories illustrate this. Some years ago, with a high quality powerpoint presentation, I delivered  a platform speech at a conference.  It seemed to go ok but it was blown away by the next speaker, a famous academic and skilled lecturer. He used a single scruffy acetate on an overhead projector ( remember them?)  and mesmerised the audience. It was the way he said it!  I felt foolish and lost the powerpoint habit.

Recently, I was involved in a pitch workshop.  One excercise called for six teams to take the brief, with 60 minutes to prepare and then deliver a ten minute pitch, using flipcharts or powerpoint. To add challenge, ‘rules’ altered at last second. One team only  was told they could not use any of their prepared visuals. It was this team that scored highest on the “communicated best” measure. They had no charts to ‘vampire ‘ them, and talked directly to their audience.

People buy people, not their charts.



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