(Read time: 1minute, 30 seconds)

Ever listen to someone try and EXPLAIN a complex problem? Halfway through, did your eyes glaze over?

What if they could SHOW you their complex problem? That would be better, right?

Chances are, they’ll show you a PowerPoint and halfway through that, guess what, your eyes glaze over.

What if they could ENGAGE you in a way that would make the problem easier to understand AND keep you riveted to the very end?

Science writer John Bohannon’s TEDx talk Dance vs. PowerPoint: A modest proposal encourages scientists to explain their complex problems through dance. This really works. Because choreographing a dance to illustrate a thesis engages both the right and left sides of the brain, scientists are actually able to work through theories and express ideas more effectively. Dance your PhD blends left-brain logic and analysis with right brain creativity.


Source: UCMAS.ca

This is a great idea worthy of investigation, but not all of us have the conference room space for meeting attendees and dancers. Let’s discuss how to present our ideas more creatively and incorporate our whole brain.

First, we’ll dispel some of the myths surrounding PowerPoint.
Source: Marti Fischer Group, LLC

Source: Marti Fischer Group, LLC



Now, we can think about ways to be more creative in our interactions.

Be audience centric

  • Know your audience. Are they topline or deep dive people?
  • Create an agenda that aligns with their attitude.
  • Supply 3 main conversation points or essential questions on a written agenda. This gives your audience the opportunity to be thoughtful and participate in, rather than being led through, the meeting.

Draw your visuals

  • Use a flipchart and markers to illustrate your main points. Drawing lets your audience become part of the creation process, making them an active participant, not passive observer. Complex charts (with room for notes) can be shared as handouts.

Structure your meeting as a conversation with Q and A throughout

To paraphrase an old fundraising adage  ‘Ask for advice when you are really asking money’ gets to the heart of the matter. People inherently want to be part of the process of discovery and exploration. Making your audience part of the process creates a partnership and increases the likelihood of idea acceptance.

Powerpoint was developed to be a tool and has become an expectation. The next time you are tasked with presenting a concept or running a meeting, take a leap. Use the time to engage your whole brain to explore, argue, discuss and learn. You, and your audience, will be glad you did.


Join me and Don Waisanen
AFP’s Fundraising Day in New York !
Friday, June 12, 2015
Storytelling for Nonprofits workshop – 10:45am
AFP Fundraising Day in NY registration
Come on down!