Home > Leadership > Giving a presentation or participating in a discussion?

Giving a presentation or participating in a discussion?

Before I read Made To Stick, I prepared a presentation for a strategic group within my company. I was rather satisfied with content but after having read Made To Stick I realized that I needed to focus on my main objective. Directly, I cut 2/3 of the slides and then I shifted the order so you could really follow the red thread. Yes, I missed out on some important findings but if these were not coming through: what would be the point of spending time on them.

The inspiration for the new flow revolved around a specific concept and I was so happy about this: it really made sense to me. But I wasn’t pleased. I went through the presentation with my husband and he didn’t think the part surrounding the concept made sense.

Giving it some more thought I realized that presenting the actual concept which inspired me to make the presentation was clogging it: since the content now covered the concept it was just unnecessary cosmetics. The message came through anyway. So, I cut my baby loose and there I has one of the shortest presentations I’ve ever made. Few words and few slides.

The result was staggering: we spent 1,5 hours discussing 5 slides. One of the participants said that they were spoiling the presentation. I countered and said I was not giving a presentation, I was participating in a discussion. One of the most giving discussions in my professional career. Simple magic.

So, now I’m going to take the Easter off, thinking about these findings. I’ve even done all my exercise for this week, so the running gear will stay at home for the weekend. The computer will remain turned off and since my phone is still broken, I’ll be really off line.

So, happy Easter, and think about hosting discussions instead of giving presentations…

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