Lots of people think songs without singing is not a song. Tell Beethoven that and he'll kick your @ss. -- Eddie Van HalenI have seen a lot of technical presentations over the years. I have given some, but not recently. I've been thinking that it is time for another, to broaden my horizons.
I have a fantasy to try and pull off a technical presentation without any slides or demos.
I suspect that "lots of people think presentations without slides or demos is not a presentation" (see quote above)....
Is it possible -- no slides? no demos? Consider:
- A truly good speaker just needs a stage and a chalkboard. After all, professors have communicated sophisticated ideas for centuries without PowerPoint.
- I have blogged before that the best takeaways from a presentation are not bullet items nor code snippets. Give me ideas.
- Though I'm no expert, I have taken some acting classes and improv classes. One might say I'm a thespian trapped inside a man's body. The improvisation class in particular was an object lesson for the argument "less is more". A stage and 2 people: go! Hijinx ensues.
Cliff Stoll gave a keynote address that was fantastic. One part Einstein and one part Robin Williams, he ran around the stage frenetically, talking at 90 MPH, with his arms folded over his head. He ran into the audience, with his disheveled hair bouncing all over the place. He waved his arms; he yelled. He showed a home-built radar detector and ran towards it. A lot of running.... And a lot of very interesting points, often punctuated by a pause: the point would be brought home in a quiet voice, with a direct, knowing look into the audience. The subtext was often: "No, I'm not crazy. I'm dynamic." He spoke for 90 minutes, and received a standing ovation. It was truly spectacular.
Now, it is indeed true that the presentation was about abstract ideas, and not, say, the Java 3D API or Guice annotations.
Plus, it was a high-end keynote: I don't see myself building a radar dectector for a local Java SIG meeting, and running around in front of puzzled Java fans as though I'm in a play, talking crazily to unseen characters offstage.
But, still...... Beethoven didn't use PowerPoint.