West Pointer, former Harvard team quarterback, and investor with an impressive track record, Mr. Very Cool pointed his charm my way for “a little presentation feedback” at a recent event. As he explained his project, I had to restrain myself from tsk, tsk-ing and maintain an even-keeled expression. This is not going where you might think, so bear with me a minute.

People wanting free advice from doctors, travel advisors, and consultants is nothing new. True, I’m a presentation and meetings strategist who helps professionals be more influential. Giving advice is how I pay the bills, and he was being slightly presumptuous. But Mr. Very Cool’s desire for free advice is not what had me shaking my head. It’s this:

Like many others, Mr. Very Cool believes his “presentation” is his PowerPoint deck. That’s what he wanted me to critique.

“I’ll send it over for any tips you might have,” he said, handing me his card.

Send away, keeping in mind that I don’t comment on PowerPoints any more than my doctor or travel agent hand out random advice without getting a complete picture. But that’s STILL not the most important thing here.

It’s this: A PowerPoint is not a presentation. It’s a bunch of notes for a presentation. It’s a tool which sometimes helps you and sometimes hurts you.

A presentation is a speech where you talk to a group of people. It’s talking to connect and influence. Talking. Not reading.

Anyone who thinks a bunch of notes can create the kind of rapport, influence, and connection that a person-to-person talk can, is not thinking straight.

In this blog and on my website SpeakingCenterStage.com, I provide gobs of free advice on speaking to get results, build trust, and advance your professional goals. I’m always more than happy to help sincere, respectful folks in many different ways. I have a fantastic two-day program called Center Stage: Speaking with Influence that produces amazing, exciting, life-changing results. It provides all the skills you need to be terrific, influential speakers. There’s an upcoming open-to-the-public program on March 21-22, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. How to effectively use PowerPoint is part of the package. It’s just NOT the presentation.

Oh, the stories I could tell ─ where PowerPoint ruined a speech!

Some of which will be in my upcoming book on the subject called Center Stage, where I have more time and space to elaborate.

In the meantime, remember, a “speech” is a “presentation,” they are verbal. PowerPoint is a graphic medium, not talking and not your notes, either. ‘Nuff said.