The Overhead Projector
post # 350 — April 10, 2007 — a Careers, Client Relations post
I have had some questions about why, in my videocasts, I am shown using an old-fashioned light-bulb overhead projector (OHP), even for presentations to large audiences. Some people ask whether it doesnâ€™t present an unprofessional, out-of-date image.
To this day, in all my presentations, I ask for the overhead projector as a matter of choice, because it is the best technology I know to minimize the barrier between me and the audience.
By writing on blank plastic sheets with the projector, I can create â€œlistsâ€ in front of people, drawing the answers out from them, even if I already know what I want the list to contain. The session thus becomes more Socratic and interactive.
Even if I am not being so interactive, and am making my own points, the act of writing them down in front of people lends some drama and â€œtheaterâ€ to the proceedings, allowing me to keep the presentation lively.
Contrast this with the all-too-common approach of having prepared slides, in a fixed order, and rigidly walking the audience through what you have decided they should listen to. Thatâ€™s no way to â€œconnect.â€
A wise mentor once told me that, in making a presentation (or in teaching) you can focus on one of three things: your material (letâ€™s get through this), yourself (ainâ€™t I great?), or the audience (what do you want to ask about?)
Guess which is most valuable?
Which leads to the final virtue of the old-fashioned OHP: If someone in the audience asks â€œBut what about this other perspective?â€, you can quickly throw on to the OHP any prepared slides you have on the topic. You donâ€™t need to scroll through tens (or hundreds) of computer based-Powerpoint slides to find the one you need.
An OHP and a collection of prepared plastic sheets allow you â€œrandom accessâ€ to your material, thereby enabling you to truly customize your remarks (and your performance) to the specific people in front of you.
Stephen Ruben said:
Please enter your comment
Here’s the problem. Like the highly qualified job candidate who shows up at the interview in a pair of jeans and a Grateful Dead, T shirt…impressions matter.
What impression what judgments are made about someone who appears at a talk with 1970’s technology?
Yes black & white movies can be rivetting but black and white TV is not.
Someone of David Maister’s prestige, skill and reputation may get away with appearing married to the 70’s but presenters like myself better be able to show up and create the best impression possible within the first thirty seconds or the audience is already on to thinking about what’s for lunch.
Not fair…but that’s show biz
posted on April 10, 2007