“It’s a privilege to be here today and read my powerpoint out to you.”
That’s not how it should be! It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to make a presentation, to share insights, inspiration or research, to teach or expound or advise, to counsel or rebuke or challenge. It is a privilege however onerous or challenging or frightening that might feel. The presentation should reflect that privilege. It must be more than someone who has “read from their Powerpoint slides.” Anyone can simply read out notes, what is valued is your presence, your story and your engagement.
All around the world at this precise moment, presenters have been given the privilege of time and an audience and that is being squandered not intentionally but by merely copying what they have seen at conferences before. Virtually everyone recognises that reading out powerpoint is like “conscious sedation” yet those who recognise that repeat it themselves. The privilege is wasted not for lack of care but due to the nature of construction and delivery.
The reasons for continuing to deliver presentations in a manner that “turn the audience to stone” are complex. There are multiple issues that direct opinion and behaviour; conformity, ignorance, arrogance, fear, misunderstanding, unwillingness to change, lack of value of the opportunity and the audience, lack of feedback and even the belief that what is undertaken is effective. None of these is easily overcome but change must come. The opportunity to present is a privilege. We should respect that, tell a story and do more than simply “read from powerpoint slides.”