So, you’re not “the creative type”?

Maybe you “had it”, but then you “lost it”.

Whatever your excuses may be, if your goal is to put together a powerful, persuasive, presentation, you better get cracking!

While it may be true that some of us are more inclined towards creativity than others, the fact is that even the greatest artists rely on habits and techniques that help them to gain the aid of the muses when they need them most.

Here are a few weapons you can add to your arsenal to insure that your next presentation is a killer.

Seek Widely, Seek Deeply
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but finding that spark of inspiration for your work may mean moving outside of the normal parameters of your everyday tasks. It is common for songwriters to be inspired by novels and films. The famous lamppost shot in The Exorcist film was inspired by a painting by Rene Magritte. Nicholas Cage stole his snake skin jacket in Wild at Heart from the one Marlon Brando wore in The Fugitive Kind. Why not do what artists do? Find inspiration outside your immediate surroundings. Those ideas are easier to steal!

Do Talk to Strangers
Yeah, yeah, I know what your mom said! But a creative block is a desperate time that calls for desperate measures! There is no place for “stranger danger” when you’re stuck smack dab in a dearth of ideas. Despite the anxieties of the politically correct, it is perfectly natural for adults to seek the company of peers and companions who share similar outlooks and ideas. However, if you need a fresh perspective, you need to drink some java with that hippie at the coffee shop or the seek the advice of that lady on my block with the three-legged dog. She loves to talk.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
By definition, creative ideas take us into uncharted territory. Sometimes, we discover A New World. Sometimes, we sail right over the edge. Don’t be afraid the idea that doesn’t work. So what! Try the next one. A Nashville record producer once described the process of adding effects and multiple tracks to a recording this way: “You have to go too far to find just right…” Don’t worry. Unlike perjury or throwing hand grenades, with creativity, you can always go back to the drawing board.

Keep Dreaming
Like a racehorse, creativity hates down time. If you are not working to solve a creative PowerPoint problem at the moment, you better be reading a book about The Zen of Fly Fishing, or screening a DVD series on the life cycle of the Komodo Dragon. Creativity can enhance everything from your career to your marriage to your understanding of yourself. Why turn it off? Think of your creative mind as a water pump. If you keep it primed, that constant trickle will be a torrent when you need it most.

  • I remember how liberating it was when I realized that there was process to creativity; it’s not just a magical gift bestowed on a precious few. Great thoughts!

  • Thanks, Nick. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • There are three things I have to add from my experience.

    1. To blossom, creativity does not need too much time. Under time pressure a lot of creative work can be done.

    2. Creativity does not come by force. You cannot sit and say I want to get creative ideas. It is in you. While you are doing your normal stuff, watching TV, reading, walking back home creative ideas strike. Just keep thinking about your presentation and ideas will come.

    3. Another good way to get creative ideas is to talk about an idea to someone else. You keep talking and discussing about the idea. The other person need not say more than a nod or something. I have found this very useful.

  • Vivek,

    Thanks for the additions. Good stuff!

    Scott

  • Nice post! Great ideas. I especially like not being afraid to fail. Most great successes came from failures, right?

    Helps people to get over the notion that we have to born creative. I’m gonna RT this for sure.

  • Thanks, Carl. Exactly right… you don’t have to be born a “creative.” Definitely ways to get around it.

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