Do you want me to bore you?

By Laura Bergells on

Tiger Yawning

“I can bore you to death with a couple hundred PowerPoint slides for the next hour, or we can have a discussion and make this fun and interactive,” said the speaker.

Seriously. Those were the first words out of his mouth. The audience of around 50 just sat there, including me.

After about 5 silent and stunned seconds, I was the first to speak.

“Let’s make it fun and interactive,” I said.

“Oh, good,” said the speaker. “I was hoping someone would say that.”

He flipped off the projection unit that showed the title page of his slide deck. He began interacting with the audience. He held our attention for over an hour. I walked away learning quite a bit and enjoyed the give-and-take between speaker and audience members.

But it left me wondering. Why would he give us a choice? And why would anyone choose the boring option?

 

6 comments

  1. Laura, you had a great speaker that day. But that may not happen all the time — I mean there can be speakers who can be fun even if they show slides, and others who are boring — with or without slides. And about giving you all a choice, it was only you who responded to his question. If no one had responded, the speaker may have made the choice for all of you. And he did get your attention.

  2. Geetesh, you are right on all points. I am so glad I responded to his question, because we all seemed to enjoy his presentation.

    Part of me suspects that people come to presentations expecting to be bored. They are conditioned to be the recipients of an ‘info dump’ where they can mentally check out for an hour or so.

    I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of experience. Maybe by demanding fun and excitement, I wrecked it for everyone else. (I hope not!)

  3. What a way to begin a presentation!!! I want to believe he wanted his audience to feel they had the power and not him. Trying to make them feel important and taking himself off the spotlight. That however, indirectly, brought their attention to him. It’s all TACTICS…

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