I attended a conference for the AIRI (Association of Independent Research Institutes) this week and had the opportunity to present on cloud strategies. I also decided this week that I would never use powerpoint again to present my ideas to an audience. This created a challenge in that I had to figure out how to present reasonable content to a group of very smart IT folks.
The topic was on cloud strategy and my audience was IT people from various independent research organizations that work with investigators and researchers that are trying to solve some of the most complicated problems in life science (such as curing cancer).
I decided to take a big risk and not prepare any slides and instead come up with a method to convey my concepts by telling stories. While going to dinner with my kids one night, they were very enthralled by a kids menu at the restaurant. That gave me the idea of creating a kids menu for my talk, hand out crayons for them to color and walk them through my talk in a fun and interactive fashion.
This did not go as well as I had thought. I walked them through memorizing key concepts from case studies or examples of where clients had challenges or failures in their cloud strategy. For the most part – the concept was articulated ok, it just did not have the dynamic excitement that I was expecting.
I learned something however. I am usually a very good speaker, but I have a need to really prepare valuable content and when you remove a major crutch, like powerpoint. That really puts me to the test, creating meaningful content for presentations. Content that people really want to engage with!