Ditch the jargon and back away from those tired slides

Nancy Duarte on the art of engaging an audience.

There’s nothing worse than sitting through a dry presentation about a new business product or concept. And there’s nothing worse for a presenter than seeing negative reactions to his or her dry presentation broadcast in realtime Twitter streams. But the good news is that presenters and audiences both are realizing there’s an art to presenting, and when it’s done right, even the driest topic can engage an audience.

Nancy DuarteIn a recent interview, Nancy Duarte, author of “slide:ology” and CEO of Duarte Design, talked about bad speaker habits, great presentations, and the importance of storytelling.

People approach their presentations the same way they do a research paper, and they shouldn’t. Presentations should really be about story and about human-to-human connection.

There’s almost this otherworldly ability for a human to connect to another human, and yet that’s all left on the table. We use our slides as a barrier to protect ourselves from having to connect at a human level.

There’s a lost opportunity to connect deeply to people. People hide not only behind their slides, but behind their jargon — people stay in their industries for years, and there’s this other weird language that develops around their own subject matter, and that makes them unaccessible and not human. They have to break that down. People won’t be able to identify if they don’t.

For more on business presenting — what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong — and how not to get banished from the presentation stage, you can view Duarte’s entire interview in the following video:

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  • http://blog.3dbloke.com Thomas Costick

    “…Physics. You know, something that you would think is not that interesting…”

    Shame!

  • Alex Tolley

    It seems like every generation has to learn this anew. *sigh* BTW, there are many companies out there that will teach you these skills, and have been doing so for a very long time.