I think it’s high time for speakers and presenters to be disruptive. And here are a few ways to begin …

Do you really need to fill the time allotted to you?

Really? Or can you be brief? Why fill it just because you can? So what if you were told you have 45 minutes? Do you like to sit and listen to someone talk for 45 minutes straight?

Do you really need your laptop and your PowerPoint?

Really? Or can you do the prep work ahead of time that enables you to engage, connect, and make a point without employing a “deck”? So what if that’s how you and your colleagues have always done it? Do you like waiting for someone to power up and plod through a series of slides? You’re not that special, no one likes waiting for you either.

Do you really need text slides for visual reinforcement?

Really? Or can you use images that illustrate your points? Who’s the text for anyway? You or them? Do you like to read paragraphs on a screen while someone is talking? Are you impressed with presenters whose slides are dense with text? Do you remember what the slides said and what the speaker said? Doubtful.

Do you really need to open with niceties and housekeeping?

Really? Or can you open with your point, your desired outcome, your call to action, and save the display of manners and protocol for the end? Wouldn’t you rather capture and focus Audience attention right away? You know how your own attention drifts when other speakers start with the usual, expected, mundane stuff … And guess what? People drift when you speak too.

Do you really need to show how smart and experienced you are?

Really? Or do you need to show how smart you are about your Audience? Disruption rule #1: Get over yourself. Literally. Think about your Audience. Really, I mean it, think about them. Deliver something in length, style, and content that will connect with and be beneficial to your Audience!

Be disruptive. Question authority. Question norms. Make it about your Audience.

Beth Levine