Friday, August 20, 2010

Talking with Technology

Most speakers these days use technology to enhance their presentations. There's an important word in that sentence - enhance..The reason for using technology is to add something to your message, not to overwhelm it. Alas, some people use technology as a life-support (or actually a speech-support) system, fearing that their words alone will not be enough to enlighten and entertain their audience.

You should never allow technology to become the focus of your presentation, unless you are actually speaking about technology. I advise developing the speech first, then looking for places where technology, whether images, videos, audios or props, can add something to your words. Don't forget that you still should be able to deliver your speech if the technology fails.

The most powerful speeches are simply words, delivered with skill and passion, directly to an enraptured audience. As soon as you introduce technology, there is a danger that it will become the "takeaway". For example, I remember a brilliant speech from a fellow professional which concluded with a video from a rock band. The video could easily have been what the audience remembered, but due to the skill of the speaker, the message of the speech came through. You can only get away with that when you are very skilled indeed. (OK, it was Graeme Codrington).

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