Honey? Honey is sweet and sticky. A breakfast without honey is not complete; on my last slice of bread comes always a layer of honey. And the best is this honey pot I have received from a friend, honey produced by her fathers’ bee colony in Pradaschier, in the mountains of Graubünden, Switzerland.

In one of my early morning reflections the honey pot was catching my attention and triggering my reflection. I was thinking about presentations.

So what was the honey pot telling me?
A lot of presentations, inputs and talks are for my taste not sweet and sticky enough. The messages slide away. Opportunities for in-depth reflection and learning are not taken.

The last presentation – yet again a PowerPoint presentation – I endured was a waterfall of slides, a non stop talking presenter trying to fit in as much content as possible; not to mention the endless bullet points… The presentation took again too long. There was only time for a few questions. The spirit in the audience was rather low.

Too often I observe the participants sit and watch and listen. And I really wonder and bother how much learning is taking place. I am sure the one who prepared the presentation has the biggest learning effect. Is that what we want?

We have to make presentations sweet and sticky!
I want to see presentations

  • that inspire, that catch my intention, my interest, that talk to my brain and also to my heart; that are sweet (or spicy if you prefer);
  • that stick in my mind, that resonate, that challenge my thinking and trigger new and deeper questions.

How can we make them sweet and sticky?

Get it out of the honey pot…

… and sweeten your presentation
Surprise, challenge and inspire the audience. If we use PowerPoint we do it good (there are many tips on the Internet). Let’s try different formats and experiment, there are many ways of presenting: write and draw key words on flip chart paper, organise a fish bowl inviting the audience to get in conversation with the expert, conduct an interview with the key note speaker, just be the presenter and tell your story.

…on the buttered bread of your audience
Make time for discussions and exchange during and after a presentation. Because listening and quietly thinking are not enough for learning. Participants need to talk (or write) as well; to each other, with the person(s) sitting next to them for example; they should deliberate, reason, ask new questions and most importantly be invited to translate what has been said back to their work context. Why not send them for a 10′ walk in pairs (before the coffee break) to come back with some concrete ideas what this all means to them; in their projects or programmes, in their work reality.

What’s the honey pot telling you? How do you make presentations sweet and sticky?

Related post: making presentations an experience involving the spectator