How To Open A Speech #91: The PowerPoint Open
This is an excerpt from my new book, 101 Ways to Open a Speech, now available at Amazon.
Little tells an audience that the talk they’re about to see is going to be boring more than seeing the speaker begin by clicking to a cluttered slide. PowerPoint (and other similar programs) is overused and, when it is used, tends to be used badly.
The recommended PowerPoint open dispenses with the hackneyed and sleep-inducing agenda slide and begins with a powerful visual that creates curiosity instead.
For example, a presentation about inefficient design might begin with a sharp full-screen image of a home coffee machine.
“This is a coffeemaker. Like many of the newer coffeemakers, it has an interesting feature. As soon as it finishes brewing a pot of coffee, it lets out a beeping noise to let the owner know the coffee is ready. This is intended to be helpful.
But think about that for a moment. Many people share small apartments or homes, and it’s not unusual for one person to wake up before roommates, a partner, or children do. Moments after that bleary-eyed person puts up their morning pot of coffee, that loud ‘BEEP! BEEP!’ might very well rouse the entire household. And no, these coffeemakers don’t have a mute option.
How did such a poorly designed product make it to market? What type of real-life testing should we manufacturers do to avoid such mistakes? And how can we avoid designing features intended to help (‘Your coffee is ready!’) but that actually make life more difficult?”
Used in such a manner, the image of the coffeemaker becomes a powerful symbol of design ineptitude. The slide supports your point without becoming a distraction for the audience.