Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Kitchen Table Approach To Presenting

As part of one man's effort to stamp out bad PowerPoint, I've obtained some terrific input from the community at Linkedin, who have graciously offer their thoughtful suggestions that include alternatives to using PowerPoint and ways of employing it more effectively.

I look forward to sharing many of those insights later in the week. In the meantime, let me offer what I typically call the kitchen table approach to presenting. Consider all the conversations you've ever had with family and friends sitting across the kitchen table. I would guess that 99% of the time you're neither nervous, nor do you have difficulty succinctly making your point. You don't memorize what you're going to say, your just know what you want to say and you say it, free from worry about whether you forgot a small detail that most often matters more to you than to the effective delivery of the content.

Rehearse your next presentation at the kitchen table over coffee or your favorite beverage. Look the person in the eye, make your case, and do it from your heart. No slides, no memorized bullet points, no laptop on the table. This rehearsal technique works even if you plan to use PowerPoint in the actual presentation. The key is to create slides that bring your kitchen table speak to life, not to make your case in a manner that fits the slides.

Give it a try! My guess is that you'll be less nervous, your audience will be more engaged, and in the future, you may still use PowerPoint; you just won't have to rely on it.


  1. Great post, Leo! We often teeter back and forth about whether a standing presentation works best, or seated around a table using a more conversational style. I think it depends on the chemistry of the playes and on the size of the group, but I've certainly had more intimate and friendly meetings and presentations using the latter style.

  2. Lara, the key here is that whether you're standing or sitting, the manner of speak can and should be very much the same. It's amazing how standing can make many people nervous to the point where it changes who they are. Whether sitting or standing, I think this rehearsal technique, (one thats asks people to speak from their hearts) can be effective regardless of the venue. Thanks for your participation!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin