Inspiring inputs for conversation

August 23, 2017 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |


Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Hynek Bures neuNadiaPresentations are more than information delivery. Presentations should inspire conversation. When giving a presentation, we should always remind ourselves that the presentation is about the audience; and that the presenter has a supportive and facilitative role. Let’s flip our presentations and start with a question and a first small conversation. Let the audience talk before we talk.

Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments

The last blog post Do’s and Don’t’s of Power Point Presentations gave an update on how to prepare great visuals to support the delivery of a presentation. This blog post goes a step further: We explore how to embed presentations in the flow of a workshop and encourage meaningful and inspiring conversations.


Let’s assume, you are going to give a presentation soon. So, how can you arrange your presentation in way that your audience is fully engaged and committed?

As presenter, you are also a facilitator

There are many options to go beyond the classical format of “presentation + Q&A + discussion”. As presenter, you always must remind yourself that a) The presentation is not about you, the presenter, but about the audience, the participants; and that b) A presenter has a supportive and facilitative role. You want to inspire and help your audience to develop their own insights.

There is no shortcut to learning. Learners must do their own thinking. We learn through conversation and inquiry by exploring an issue actively, by engaging with others, their experience and viewpoints. Gaps make people think. Don’t tell everything you know. Just give the information needed to put people in conversation mode. Gently push people just a bit past their comfort zone.

In the teacher trance, we all become attached to explanation and answers, and the surprise of discovery becomes a threat. But discovery is what really imprints learning.
Johnnie Moore

Flip your presentation and have people think and talk before you talk

Make your presentation engaging and reflective by starting with a question and let the participants exchange in buzz groups BEFORE you talk. You listen to their thoughts so you can connect to these ideas. You could also integrate some buzz groups (of 3-4 minutes) DURING your input.

Ask participants for questions. Collect them before the coffee break, so, that you have a quiet moment to have a look at them; cluster them and rearrange your presentation accordingly.

Start with a digital story and have a conversation in small groups.

Shorten the time of your presentation to launch a Knowledge Café

You give a 10 minutes’ presentation, a snapshot about the topic. Use only 10 PowerPoint Slides to make your point. Or make a Pecha Kucha style presentation: Use 20 slides, each slide is shown for 20 seconds. The format helps you to focus on the point. Watch this EXAMPLE.

After that, invite participants for a Knowledge Café: participants join small table conversations to digest what they heard, to discuss the questions they have, to share their experiences they bring to the table. Before you jump to a Q&A session, make everyone in the room talk. “Are there any questions?” can wait (see David Gurteen and Nancy Dixon).

One of best ways to make sense of an issue or challenge and ultimately make better decisions is to bring a diversity of people together for a conversation in a Knowledge Café.
David Gurteen

And by the way: If you have more slides to share, the full version of your PowerPoint presentation can be made available on the event page for everyone to download.

Be yourself and inspire through your passion


Inspire and challenge; in what you say, and how you say it. Showing your passion for the topic is the most important tip given by Garr Reynolds, an international recognized presentation guru.

If I had only one tip to give, it would be to be passionate about your topic and let that enthusiasm come out. Yes, you need great content. Yes, you need professional, well designed visuals. But it is all for naught if you do not have a deep, heartfelt belief in your topic. The biggest item that separates mediocre presenters from world class ones is the ability to connect with an audience in an honest and exciting way. Don’t hold back. Be confident. And let your passion for your topic come out for all to see.
Garr Reynolds

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