Why Making Your Audience Tense Isn’t A Bug; Its a Feature
New presenters are often confused about how to manage the emotional state of their audience. I suspect this confusion is the ultimate underlying cause for the well known”Death by Bulletpoint” whereby well meaning presenters edge their audience (or victims if you’ve sat through enough of them) toward states of utter boredom by drowning them in a sea of statistics, three letter acronyms (TLA’s for the well experienced) and raw factual information. Particularly if their background is the quantitative sciences, they often underestimate the role of dramatic tension and resolution in the art of presentation for keeping an audience interested and engaged.
In the video excerpt above, Dr. Andrew Abela, author of the Extreme Presentations blog, illustrates the point by spending 2 minutes and 29 seconds (its part of a larger DVD video onpresentations) explaining the concept. His condensation of the concept The Presentation and larger work Advanced Presentations by Design discuss the main concepts and methodology at greater length and highlight the futility of beginning with PowerPoint itself to create an effective presentation. I’m not going to attempt to discuss The Squint Test at any length or try to summarize what you can find for yourself much better in the books or at his Extreme Presentations website. But I did want to draw the contrast with the more popular Beyond Bullet Points methodology and say that I found Dr Abela’s method more intuitive and readily digestible. Have any readers used the two methods long enough to offer comparisons? As if to illustrate the point that its not about PowerPoint itself, here’s a link to a presentation he prepared on Prezi that nicely captures the salient points, without bullets.