Surviving a PowerPoint presentation
I think that most presentations are an untapped cure to insomnia. Except those which have me in them, either as a host or as a recipient. After I get my prize or certificate, I pretty much don’t care who gets what. All I look forward is to make sure that my picture was captured properly, no gaffes such as a closed eye, bending over a little too far etc…
Presentations after the lunch are the worst. It’s like asking Arnab goswami (Times Now) to read you a bed time story while having a migraine.
But let us shift our focus to PowerPoint presentations. It is one of those products of Microsoft which I sincerely loathe. It is because of the way how it is being used rather than hatred for the product itself. People think fancy fonts and tacky animations make a stronger point in presentations. Call me old schooled but I still think it is down to your delivery, on how you present your ideas in your voice and body language. Your words bring more life to your ideas than any animation.
In the following space, I shall enlist a few strategies which I have employed and observed over a few years. I hope it helps
Repeat the last two words
Often if the topic is obscure to you and if you aren’t paying enough attention, the speaker might notice. Now if the speaker happens to be the person who signs on the dotted line it is better to be safe rather than sorry. Repeat the last two words of his/hers sentence silently and with a pausing effect.
Art of nodding
Now being Indians we are not averse to nodding are we? So why not use our gift to our advantage. Now I am not (only) a con man teaching you to feign emotions, I am scientific too. I shall employ Doppler’s theory in this.
The frequency of your nod should be directly proportional to
a. The rate at which their topic flies over your head. Be casual about it you don’t want to sound like you are having a violent fit of silent hiccups.
b. The proximity of the speakers gaze: Again if the speaker is looking out for response and their role is superior to yours increase your nod’s frequency. If not who gives a shit at the first place?
This is one of my favorites. Every speaker has some pattern in their speech or antics. One of our professors who taught (allegedly) computer networks used to swing his hands. It looked like he was bowling to an imaginary batsman. And later he would also wave his hands mimicking the motion of a cover drive. Pretending to take notes we would take the score.
Ask for repetition
It often happens with imbeciles like me who often drift off during the course of presentation. The speaker uses the board to draw some shape to explain a concept. And we start to giggle if it resembles a half boob. And then the train of thought changes tracks which might be uncharitable to discuss in this space.
Requesting to repeat something is quite acceptable and wouldn’t be frowned upon, even if you weren’t interested in their topic in the first place.
This technique is employed by folks of all ages from classrooms to board meetings. This involves drawing random shapes, angular fonts and thinking that they should try their hand at anime or animation.
So if there are any other creative solutions to survive a presentation please do share your thoughts in the comments section