two years ago this month i joined dekalb area toastmasters. for the past year i have served as our club’s president. today i was able to recreate my “icebreaker” speech the way i would have two years ago if a projector were available. the title of the speech was “powerpoint not required”. i started out by introducing myself, pointing out that besides being in toastmasters i also work for microsoft and that one way to quickly differentiate yourself at microsoft is to either not use powerpoint (demo a solution or have a discussion, whiteboard or use a tablet with onenote, display an agenda or outline) or use it when appropriate. a lot of us (i’m including myself in this) have a tendency to come in with too many slides with too much information and sometimes provide too much for someone to comprehend or digest in a short period of time. toastmasters has been an excellent opportunity to practice short and effective speeches on both work and personal topics. it’s also been a great way to network with many in the community i live and grew up in (dekalb, il).
i continued my speech with one of my favorite powerpoint examples – peter norvig’s gettysburg powerpoint presentation. i had discovered this back in 2001 as a technical trainer (always looking for ways to inject humor or some additional element into technical courses – i came across it while looking for powerpoint pranks http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/making.html) and it’s still one of my favorite examples today that powerpoint isn’t always the best way to communicate. i gave some examples of what makes a great speech or presentation (it’s not all about the slides, but they can play into the content and delivery steps), provided a background on toastmasters. i ended with an example of where a physical prop might be better than a slide (or slides to explain how to peel a banana correctly – like a monkey) and some humorous slides.
i posted the slides i used (with only slight modifications) using office online and docs.com (with facebook integration) – if we’re “friends” on facebook, check it out. you can also access it here with or without a facebook account – http://docs.com/1LKA
tonight marks my third year in toastmasters and my first meeting as vice president of education. one of my themes for this year will undoubtably be “office online from anywhere”.