The aim of a good presenter should be to minimise the importance of p2, the supportive media. The most important part of a presentation is the message. That must then be effectively delivered. The supportive media if it is anything more than supportive, distracts from the message and the overall value of the presentation will then be directly affected. Minimise the importance of p2 to maximise the value of the presentation.
The purpose of supportive media is multiple but it must remain only supportive. It cannot be a script, a handout or distraction for either presenter or audience. A p2 that is a script will be read out. This impairs the value of the presentation due to lack of engagement of the audience and their ability to read faster than the speaker can deliver. The desire to produce “the perfect handout” is laudable but this must be within a download, not the supportive media despite the utility of allowing both to be the same. The p2 cannot be distracting due to complexity or even obscurity as this will distract from concentration on the message. The supportive media must only support the message.
A good presenter should be able to present without their supportive media if circumstances dictate. Some presenters even disregard their p2, believing it is purely for the audience. The media should only add to the message by making it more memorable or explaining isolated, complex issues but the point at which the p2 becomes essential to delivery suggests, for the majority of presentations, that the message has not been effectively constructed for the specific audience. Rather than use the p2 to explain complexity, considering improving the structure of the message and minimise the importance of p2.
A great presentation is affected by the supportive media. It should add value in memorability and design but not be such an integral part that neither the speaker can deliver nor the audience understands the message without it. Striving to minimise the importance of p2 will allow the presenter to focus on the key elements of a great presentation; message and delivery.
I agree with the spirit of this post but I’d rephrase the premise “Minimise the importance of p2 to maximise the value of the presentation”. Given 65% of people are visual learners and people retain content from pictures significantly better than they do verbal descriptions, I’d propose presenters should maximize the value from p2 to maximize the value of the presentation – using many of the highly-visual and complementary principles you outline. In a conference setting, visuals play an enhanced role since audience sizes are larger and most people won’t be as intimately experiencing the presenter’s delivery the way they would in a small group setting. And if we can keep pushing people to stop thinking of their presentation slides as the same resource as their handouts, the world will be a much better place!
Thank you for your comment. Learning styles were debunked over 30 years ago but yes, visuals have a big input. Let’s keep pushing people to make their presentation more than simply an handout.