How To Be a More Creative Presenter? Walk Away From Your Desk

February 23, 2015

powerpoint professional tips blogWhen I started my company back in 2006, I lived in coffee shops and got a lot of stuff done. I was also able to create great presentations.

These days, though, I have little to no creative output. What changed?

Coffee shops are loud. They are busy. And there is a ton of coming and going. These “distractions,” however, were exactly what allowed me to get things done. Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson, author of Your Creative Brain, has gone on record stating that interruptions and diversions are actually a good thing because they produce a creative incubation period.

Fast forward nine years and I find myself sitting in a quiet office, at a nice desk with a comfortable chair, a big monitor, and a fancy phone. The idea well is empty though.


I’m pushing paper.

I’m managing others.

I’m putting out fires.

It’s productive work but it’s not the radical and creative productivity that makes a difference.

So, if you find yourself needing to work on a presentation, I have one piece of advice:

Walk away from your desk and let the distractions happen.

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- J.K. Rowling got her idea for Harry Potter while on a train

- Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity while at his family’s estate sitting near a tree

- Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the tune for “Yesterday” in his head

Great ideas don’t happen at your desk. They happen away from it.

And not only do they happen away from your desk -- the Top 10 Eureka moments happen in the oddest of places, according to this article by Gijs van Wulfen:

1. Showering 11.2%
2. Sleeping 9.2%
3. Driving 8.6%
4. Walking 8.0%
5. Working out & running 7.2%
6. Before sleeping 6.6%
7. Waking up 6.6%
8. Talking to others 3.7%
9. Alone 3.2%
10. Always 3.2%

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According to the above, only 0.6% of all eureka-moments happen while at a desk or at work. So, if you think your presentation is going to be amazing when it was produced at your desk, you need to reconsider.

I have a big presentation next week. Therefore, I decided to pick up my bags and leave today. I hope you will do the same.

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

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