A friend recently told me that all he hears from his daughter in college is that her professors read to her from their PowerPoint slides and they call it a lecture. She didn’t feel like she needed to be in class because she could just read his slides and get the information she needed. He told me that his daughter complains that it is very difficult to stay awake in class!
“Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.”
― Albert Camus
I thought of this quote by Camus and shared it with him. He responded by saying that all of his daughter’s professors should read this! If they would, he said, then maybe they would actually teach instead of reading. He would feel like he was getting his money’s worth out of his daughter’s “higher education”.
Too many times presenters treat PowerPoint as a document instead of a visual aid. I’ve heard audience members ask a presenter many times if they can get a copy of the slides after they’ve seen 4 or 5 slides. That, my friends, is code for “I don’t need to listen to you because you are just reading the slides to me.” Being a presenter means that we bring a value to an audience above and beyond reading text from a projected slide. I remember my Mom reading bedtime stories to me. It is one of my earliest memories. No wonder I fall asleep in a presentation where the presenter reads to me.
When asked to present, remember that your job is to add value to the presentation. If your presentation consists of mostly text with cheesy clip art for decoration, you aren’t needed. If you are asked in the middle of your presentation for your slides, you aren’t needed. Become a “needed” presenter by creating a set of PowerPoint slides that enhance your message, not repeat it.