Preparing to Present: Leave PowerPoint & Take Power

Next Wednesday I am giving a presentation to 400 senior communications professionals from around the world. I’ll travel from Shenzhen, China to Miami, Florida to attend a very prestigious summit on public relations. Organised by industry wizard Paul Holmes, The Holmes Report‘s fourth Global Public Relations Summit is THE industry event of the year.

Problem is, I haven’t started writing my speech.

Where to start?

I have a topic. I’m to speak on “Collaboration in Communications.” There’s a lot I can share from my 30 years experience and the first three months in my new role at Huawei.

It’s not because I don’t know the audience. Look at the agenda – it’s a “Who’s Who” of public relations!

The real reason is I don’t fully understand the connection – how my content meets the audience’s needs. What style of presenter works best in that forum? How casual or formal do I need to be? Are people expecting a plethora of slides (hope not) or a storyteller?

I’m fortunate to be a confident speaker. I spoke before a 500+ audience in Beijing, China two years ago. The presenter before me said exactly what I planned to say – slide by slide! So I improvised. I left my title slide up, and told stories that brought my points (and his) to life. It was very well received!

Today we’re inundated with information. Too many messages, sound bites, banner ads, scrolling text, updates, emails and more. So to connect – to truly connect – you sometimes need to go caveman. Think of yourself around a fire with people from the same community. Tell a story. Bring it to life with examples. Paint photographs with words.

When you leave the PowerPoint alone, you suddenly control the power.

I’m looking forward to my storytelling. And if my words don’t spark ideas and conversation, at least my fellow campers will be warmed from the fire!

Keeping warm

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