New theory on presentations: No PowerPoint!

I was not particularly happy with my PDC presentation.  We were asked to rehearse them, review the slide decks and practice, practice, practice.  So I did.  And over time, the presentation got worse and worse, so that a few days before I was to give it, I was ready to chuck the whole thing.  I gave it, felt awkward and self-conscious, read from my slides too much and got very low scores in my presenter feedback.

When I got back from LA, I was asked to talk to some internal teams at Microsoft.  I decided to wing these presentations...and they went great.  My talk on performance ended within the hour, but almost the entire audience stayed for 30 minutes afterwards asking questions.  

So when I was asked to repeat my PDC talk at TechReady (an internal event for our field staff), I said I would, on condition I did not have to use PowerPoint and could do something more interactive.  I expected to be refused, but to my surprise Karsten was excited about the idea.  The day before my talk I spent an hour writing notes, then condensed them to a single sheet of paper.  I took my laptop, but showed Expression and things created with Expression.  I introduced myself with the remark "I think you've all seen PowerPoint, so I'm not going to use it" and got a round of applause (always a good way to start...).  I asked people to NOT hold their questions until the end, and basically followed the audience where they wanted to go. 

My talk was one of the highest rated at TechReady.