PowerPoint Provocations

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Recently on the Association of Professional Genealogists’ list my friend, Mary Douglas,the leading authority on Kansas ancestry,( and a fine educator, I might add) , posed an interesting issue. She explained that after a recent lecture she was asked for a copy of her powerpoint presentation. The learner already had the handout. Mary wondered how other lecturers would respond. Most of us who responded felt the speaker should not give awy the powerpoint. The basic reason seems to be that it represents many hours of work and the lecture needs to be sold more times to recover that investment.

Is there a context where it might be to your advantage to give free access to that powerpoint?

The other day I spotted an item by Shep Hyken (shep@hyken.com) on SpeakerNet News (check my favourite links) who wrote, “I saw a speaker criticized for not showing all his slides in hispresentation — instead he flipped through some quickly while we
all watched. His time had not been cut short. The audience felt he hadn’t properly prepared based on his alloted time. He offered everyone a link to download the whole set. So now I’m thinking he showed the undiscussed slides purposefully to get us to his site,
so perhaps he is smarter than we originally thought!”

Say, for example you were the leading authority on Oregon Territory research, and you had a nifty littled resource guide on the topic you were trying to sell. Shep is suggesting you bait your potential buyes with a stray slide or two in your lecture, and lead them to your website where your great masterpiece could be ordered.And, of course there is your powerpoint presentation for them to access either for a fee or free.
What do you think? How could you improve on this idea?

If you like the idea and need a more flexible website to do it, contact my friend Peter Walton and tell him Ken sent you.


One response to “PowerPoint Provocations

  1. Ken,

    I discussed this a bit above, but you ask another question here.

    The only real reason for providing the Powerpoint is if your contract with the organization required you to do it. Or the shelf life is so short that you engender good will by doing so.

    I believe that one of the future types of conferences is online where there are presentations in an e-Symposium that coordinates the voice with the slides. One just happened two weeks ago – Megan and I blogged about it. Heck, there may be video in the future! I’ll be able to watch my favorite speakers in my snugs at home, probably for a price.

    Would you sell your voice and slides for an e-Symposium? We/you sell your presence, knowledge, presentation skills and a section of a syllabus now to conferences for an hour at a time. It’s just a matter of “how much” isn’t it? And then there are royalties if they charge a pay-per-view, eh?

    Someone on the APG list noted that the shelf life of a genealogy presentation is about three years. I would argue that the shelf life is steadily declining for some subjects due to all of the web content available. I have to make extensive changes to the presentation I did in April 2005 in order to include all of the updates on the Census records.

    When the shelf life gets down to 6 months, then what is having it in your files worth to you? You need to be able to quickly modify the content and not incur many costs in doing so – that’s why Powerpoint is so popular, assuming there is access to a laptop and a projector.

    Cheers — Randy

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