"You say to get rid of those NASCAR slides. How do I convince my communications director to agree to that?"
I've written on my public speaking blog, The Eloquent Woman, about slides you should delete from presentations, including NASCAR slides. AF4Q readers, this is my other blog, the one that speaks to communications pros. True confessions? I've been a communications director many times over.
You know what I mean by NASCAR slides: They have logos galore, representing all your partners, funders or sponsors. In some academic settings, the logos get replaced with long lists of the names of the many graduate assistants who worked on a study, but it's the same effect.
I'd much rather have the speaker weave the thanks authentically and in context throughout the presentation, using them to add content and meaning. Here are a few ways to do that with ease:
- "...and it's at this point in the research that Fred Smith, one of our wonderful graduate assistants, identified the change that made this result possible."
- "You may not be aware that very few foundations fund the constructing of a building, so the Anningdale Foundation's willingness to support that work was crucial to the homeless shelter we have today."
- "When Alicia Aebersold invited me to speak to you today, she made sure I understood that you wouldn't want the usual advice on giving presentations. And she was right!"
- "You may have heard that Celcomp is one of our sponsors, but you probably don't realize that its CEO, John Jones, has been a mentor to me since my undergraduate days. It's so special for me to still be working with him, this time on a community-wide food bank."
One final note, for the speakers: You'll see advocates of the NASCAR slide more often in marketing operations than in communications shops, and perhaps the distinction means little to you, but it has to do with brand management. Regardless, you should take charge of this situation. Sit down with your communicators and talk about making thanks a more authentic and interesting part of your presentations, and assure them you'll be assiduous about it. Then follow through. Who knows? Working together, you might be able to shift this ridiculous presentation practice.
Be an Expert on Working with Experts is the workshop I wish I'd had earlier in my communications career. Designed specifically for communications pros who work with subject-matter experts, scientists, policy wonks and other technical professions, this one-day session next takes place on June 19 in Washington, DC. Seats are already filling....so join us!