Avoiding chalk and talk

With text-heavy presentations, borrow a page from Edward Tufte, who said, "People read four or five times faster than you talk. Rather than reading your audience the text of your PowerPoint, write a paper, print it, hand it out, and say, 'Take a few minutes, read this, then we'll have a discussion.'"


That transmits information much more quickly. It holds attention better than a briefing. It prevents people from asking premature questions that would have been answered later in the deck. And it gives space to people who want to expand and reflect on certain points time to do so (after the reading.)


The first time you do it, the silence may feel awkward, but that evaporates quick when people get into the reading.


One thing I do is to ask people to simply make eye contact with me once they're done reading so I know they're finished.