Over the years I’ve given lots of presentations and attended lots of presentations.
I read about it, study it and do what I can to get better at the art. But here’s the deal, I’ll never be a super entertainer, but I care deeply about people getting practical information and that makes me useful – and useful is good.
Of late I’ve become enamored with the idea of understanding how people learn or perhaps more interestingly, how they teach each other. This notion has led me to start experimenting with and exploring alternative presentation formats.
I was talking with my good friend Pam Slim, author of Escape From Cubicle Nation, recently about this and she suggested that she too had grown weary of the expert behind the microphone presenting their expertise.
She had begun to seek ways to lift the audience up and help them teach each other. I find this notion so compelling I’ve been tinkering with ways to create presentations that break the traditional business mold, kill boredom without gimmicks and get audiences truly engaged.
The following five approaches are works in progress, but represent a new presentation point of view that I intend to investigate deeply over the next few years.
Question me this
Imagine showing up to present to a group and instead huddling the group into five or six subgroups each tasked with quickly creating a list of questions about the proposed topic and then stringing a presentation together based solely on the core questions that come from each pod.
Draw on the right side
I recently attended a presentation on retail displays and the presenter handed out art supplies and had each participant create a model that addressed their greatest challenge.
He then took each challenge and broke down both challenge and solution. It was a fascinating learning experience.
What would happen if you posed five very relevant questions or challenges to a group and then split the group into five groups and asked them to use their collective expertise to suggest, synthesize and present a solution to their respective question?
Break a case
Taking a nod from the traditional business school case study, present your group with a challenge in the form of a case study or multiple case studies for a large group and ask them to present their solutions or recommendations to the group.
Ask the Google
Split your group into small groups and give each group a problem or task and ask them to research online for a period of time and apply the collective wisdom of the online world to a problem in near real-time.
I know that each of these presentation approaches involve their own set of logistics considerations, but imagine how much a group could learn from each while you the presenter facilitated and provided relative insight instead of another slide deck.
So, help me out, what are some other creative approaches you’ve seen that help raise engagement and kill boredom?