SpeechCraft: Showing my work

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I’m speaking in a couple of college classes this week about presentation excellence. It’s a favorite topic, but it’s also especially challenging when the audience is expecting excellence by virtue of the topic alone. If you’re giving a talk about how to give talks, you better be good.

I’ve tweaked my slides on this over time. The screenshot above is of my final “light table” view when I shipped off the presentation to the grad student who will load my slides tomorrow.

I was asked to send a Powerpoint version for use in the class. I haven’t used Powerpoint actively in years. When I converted my Keynote to Powerpoint today, I had to go back and clean up format and animation errors due to the conversion. And I was reminded how poor an app Powerpoint is compared to Keynote. Powerpoint just seems like a mess. The design looks amateurish and cluttered. It certainly made me appreciate just how much I enjoy working in Keynote which is simple and clean yet filled with thoughtful, smart touches like its grid system and gorgeous animations.

I rarely say “No” to an invitation to speak. Having a speaking gig out there forces me to engage my creative mind on the search for what to say and how to say it. Few things lead me to regular flow states like getting immersed in preparation to stand in front of an audience. Even if the audience gets nothing from me, I certainly have grown a little from my attempt to engage with them.