Preparing For a Powerful Delivery
Please Donít Ever Do ThisÖ
Bob is a real estate lawyer, and
a member of the same group as Katrina and me (from the
A few weeks after Katrinaís
presentation, it was Bobís turn to present.
Bob chose to use PowerPoint
slides for his presentation, and on each slide were
bullet points supporting his talk.
In addition to bullet points, Bob
included a small cartoon on every slide. These cartoons
were very amusing, and everyone laughed at each one. We
were all very interested to see what clever and funny
cartoon Bob had on his next slide.
Bob went through his
presentation, and he managed to keep his focus on his
material, never once commenting or referencing the
cartoons on his slides, much like the way Katrina never
commented or referenced the garment bag on the table
until the end of her presentation. It was really an
interesting process to watch Bob remain focused on his
material, while the rest of us laughed at the cartoons
on his slides.
Everyone highly enjoyed Bobís
presentation, and when it was over, we all gave him
tremendous words of praise and congratulated him on his
entertaining approach. We did this quite sincerely,
because Bobís presentation was truly entertaining and
A few days after Bobís
presentation, I ran into someone else who had been part
of Bobís audience. She commented on how much she had
enjoyed Bobís presentation, and she said, ďI
particularly liked the cartoon about the cat.Ē
I responded, ďYes, that was
funny! Let me ask you this, do you recall what Bob was
talking about during that slide?Ē
She had no clue, nor, In fact,
did I! To this day, I canít recall one single point that
Bob made in his presentation. I have no idea what Bobís
presentation was about, and I canít recall a single
Bobís presentation was
entertaining, and maybe that was his purpose. But as an
audience member in that presentation, I still know
nothing more about Bobís business than I did before he
presented. In my judgment, even though all the
information was there, that presentation did not fulfill
In Chapter Two, we explored the
concept of intermittent incongruity. This would be a
good time to gauge if that concept was applied correctly
Bob used a PowerPoint
presentation in the traditional manner, filling page
after page with bullet points. The difference was that
he added a cartoon on each slide. Why did he do this?
Was it because he felt his information might not have
been interesting enough to hold our attention? Or maybe
he felt that we, as an audience, just wouldnít care
about his information. So, he likely added the cartoons
to provide some entertainment value and something of
After Bobís first few slides, my
brain spotted a number of patterns:
When Bob changed the slide, a new set of
bullet points appeared.
Each slide contained a cartoon.
There was no correlation between the
cartoons and the information on the slides.
Each cartoon was funny.
Each slide was boring.
John Medina explains that the
brain will not pay attention to boring things. In
addition, he states that the more attention the brain
pays to a given stimulus, the more that information will
be retained. So, how does this apply to Bobís
The bullet points on the slides
were boring, so my brain paid no attention to them. The
cartoons were funny, so my brain did pay attention to
them. In the end, no attention was paid to the
information in the presentation, because all the
attention was paid to the cartoons. All I remember are
the cartoons, and only one or two of those.
Bob may have been hoping that
adding the cartoons (incongruities) would create
interest in the information. In actual fact, the
opposite happened. The bullet points were boring, but
the cartoons were interesting, so the incongruity
between the information and the cartoons caused an
attention diversion from the presentation to the
cartoons. And since the cartoons never proved to be
relevant to the information, no attention was ever paid
to the information, only the cartoons.
So, whatís the lesson? Donít put
anything in your presentation thatís going to distract
your audience, unless itís relevant to the presentation.