“Could you give us a talk, about 30 minutes?” “Sure,” you reply, “no problem.” The facts are clear. The nature of the audience will affect the precise message to be delivered but, let’s fire up Powerpoint, drop in a pile of text and tell ’em who is important. It’s like painting by numbers. Same as last time.
We have all been there. Many of you are about to be there again and are looking for inspiration or direction. The big questions is will your presentation fulfill the request? Of course it will, you’ve done it many times before. The challenge is to make it worthwhile, to engage, to stimulate, to be memorable. And that takes creativity.
I think we are all creative, we’re just not aware that we are. We don’t see what we do and how we do it as creative. And importantly we usually limit our creativity. Perhaps we don’t think we are allowed to, because it may cause us to stand out or because we’ve been told before, “you can’t do that.” All of which is wrong. If you have been asked to give a presentation then you are going to create something. You will create it to achieve your purpose. Being asked is being given permission to be creative, to put your personal stamp upon the information and the nature of its delivery, its reception and retention. Constructing the arc of your talk, the supportive media and the nature of your delivery is creative and all of this will leave the audience with something that wasn’t there before, something that only you have made.
The option is to make a poor, colour by numbers copy of every other presentation you have seen with no personal or emotional input, a presentation that will be forgotten as the lights come up. Or, to share your passion, your opinion, your views and some of yourself so that the audience has something more to take away than just the facts. That’s creativity.
Seeing a face and painting it. Be yourself, not someone copying Michaelangelo. Seriously. This is your permission to express yourself a little, actually a lot. If this picture is entitled “Mummy,” it completely changes how you feel about it and you stop comparing it to Mona Lisa. Your presentation should be personal too. Tell us how you feel, tell us what is important to you, tell us what interests you, tell us what excites you and in a way that we will feel the same. Your honesty and your passion are of value to your audience. You can do anything you want. That’s creativity.