Seth Godin’s slideathon won’t make a good sales presentation

Seth Godin's slideathon won't make a good sales presentation

Seth Godin’s slideathon won’t make a good sales presentation

I disagree with Seth Godin.

I came across a blog Seth Godin had written suggesting that an effective way to separate yourself as a presenter is to use more power point slides. A lot more slides. In fact he proposes a slideathon with one slide every 12 seconds or so.

To be fair, Seth goes on to say that we don’t need to take his advice to the letter and literally use a slide every 12 seconds. But that he is trying to stretch our imaginations, so to speak, and get us thinking about presenting in a way that is very different. This includes putting one concept or word per slide in order to create much more activity within the presentation.  

I’ve actually seen a few of these kinds of presentations. And, to be honest, I think this method really hurts a presentation. The presenter will have one word or one phrase or maybe one image per slide and the slides are coming at you rapid fire while the speaker delivers his presentation.

In the presentations I’ve seen the audience does seem to enjoy this method of presentation and it certainly seems like it’s easier to get a laugh this way. I think, in part, because of the novelty of the method. People aren’t expecting to have slides flying at them in this hyper speed fast forward kind of way. The unique nature of this presentation method however is its only advantage and, I do believe, that once the novelty wears off what you’re left with is a presentation that is severely lacking in some key areas and would never work as a sales presentation.

This method of delivery makes it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain eye contact with the audience because their gaze is constantly fixed on the screen waiting for the next slide to appear (and they won’t have to wait long). Maintaining eye contact is essential for establishing a connection and credibility with your audience.

Next, there is no opportunity to pause, to take a breath to let your point sink in with audience. The pace is frenetic and in reality there are probably a number of points within your presentation where it is critical to stop and give the audience a moment to process what you’ve said and read their reaction (facial expression) to determine if they’ve understood your message.

In fact, not moving fast enough is usually not an issue for most speakers. The greater struggle is usually slowing down. Once the adrenaline starts pumping many of us start speaking as if it’s a race to the finish line.

It may be cutting edge to deliver this kind of presentation and in the right context it may work perfectly. But at the risk of sounding old fashioned I steer my clients to the more tried and true principles of presentation. My suggestion, with all due respect to Seth Godin, is to use fewer slides, slow down, maintain eye contact and have a conversation with the audience rather than a rapid fire slideathon.

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