On the map not much resembling the territory
Just a quick rehash of my basic stance on sharing my presentation slides, for those of you that have asked:
I’m always flattered that, having seen me talk, you find something in the presentation worth capturing a little more permanently. And, yes, I am aware that uploading my slide decks would appear to be an efficient, low-friction way of getting my message across to people who weren’t able to make it, or who live in a place I haven’t yet visited.
But here’s the thing: perhaps more so than most presenters, my slides really aren’t what I have to say. They tend to consist of a very few words, maybe accompanied by an evocative image, and their primary function is to remind me what I want to riff about on any given topic – which stories to haul out, which pieces, products and services serve as persuasive illustrations of my argument, and so on. Whatever content the talk may have resides almost entirely in that riffing.
As with anything and anybody else, I have good days and bad days as a presenter. Sometimes I hit my mark, find the groove, connect with the audience, and maybe even remember all the citations, cases, factoids and anecdotes I rely upon to drive my case home. Other times I fail on one or (hopefully very rarely) all of these axes, and those days suck. You’d never be able to tell the difference, though, by looking at the decks, which may well be identical.
I have my set pieces, inevitably – my go-to quotations and argumentative safe harbors – but the meat of any given talk is largely improvisational. The slides themselves are nothing more than skeletons on which to hang stories. Hopefully you’ll understand why I feel there’s nothing much to be gained from uploading any such framework, and forgive me for not sharing them.
An additional bit of housekeeping: After a talk, I invariably receive a flurry of requests to follow me on my private Twitter account. Again, I’m flattered, but trust me: this really is the what-I-had-for-lunch stuff, of interest to nobody but my close friends (and probably not even them). You want my public Twitter account. Thanks again for your interest.