Why you should NEVER rely on powerpoint!

UCL Bright Club looking like a Star Trek cast

UCL Bright Club looking like a Star Trek cast

When I give advice to academics it is always to NOT USE SLIDES.

It sounds counter intuitive: lots of people are visual learners and sometimes information is very complicated and hard to get across.

But there are three main reasons why I would tell you to avoid using them.

  • Are you trying to explain too much? If Assuming you are NOT talking to experts... If the information is THAT complicated should you really be trying to explain it in a talk in the first place? It is often better to present the problems and broader themes and offer further reading or follow ups. OR Can you work out methods of making your content more easy to digest?
  • People should learn from YOU not a screen. If you want to be seen as a go to person in your industry or be associated with the subject you are talking about. Then you need to make sure attention is paid primarily to YOU and what you are SAYING. 

The human mind has evolved to understand body language and verbal commands above all other things. Your passion and drive will come through a lot more just through your stage presence than any slide you care to flash up. I promise you the most interesting thing about what you are saying is YOU. 

I however, like all good tutors... do not take my own advice.

The main reason why you should NEVER rely on Powerpoint is that often something will go wrong. Even if it just you holding the button down too hard. You have to be quick footed to come up with something on the spot!

What I hope you notice about this video is: 
1) I am actually not being overly funny and still getting laughs - YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE VERY FUNNY.
2) I remain calm and talk to the audience. By being calm they are reassured I am still in control and stay onside. 

Of the 8 participants in my last class only three decided to use slides. Only 1 did a full slide show and two others just chose to display one slide to help them explain a specific point to the audience.

Building interesting and clear slideshows is a skill in and of itself. I shall blog about that at a future date!


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