– Rank of Finland among European countries in which children spend the fewest hours in class: 1

– Rank of its students among the best performing in Europe: 1 

[Citation: Eurydice (Brussels)/Republic of Germany (Washington)]

The statistic above (derived from Harper’s Magazine’s Harper’s Index) tells us that children in Finland spend the fewest hours in class, and are the best performing in Europe. So, what does that mean for your next presentation?

It means think outside the box in how your approach your presentation! Don’t present a boring, bullet-ridden PowerPoint to your audience. Those typical Death by PowerPoint presentations are shown thousands of times every day, frequently as lectures to audiences of antsy school children. But notice what the statistic shows: children who aren’t routinely subjected to typical classroom lessons rank as the best performing students.

With that statistic in mind, we’d venture to guess that adults who spend the fewest hours in a classroom-like situation (i.e. listening to bullet-point laden, Death by PowerPoint lectures) would learn the most. 

So, don’t be confined to presenting information in a typical way. Be creative. Be innovative. Think of an unexpected way you can deliver a crucial bit of information without even touching PowerPoint or Keynote. Find ways to make your presentation interactive, or mix it up a little by asking and/or soliciting questions in between presenting slides. Design your presentation like a Choose Your Own Adventure, and let your audience take the reigns.

In short, create an experience for your audience that doesn’t feel like an average, run-of-the-mill presentation. Don’t allow your presentation to mirror that of a classroom lecture. Rather, think of ways to present in an interesting, interactive, out-of-the-box way. Because as we can see, those people who spend the fewest hours in a dull, lecture-based, classroom atmosphere are the most successful. Present your information in a unique, unconventional way, and your audience will remember.

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  • I absolutely agree with you about thinking "outside the box" for presentations. Since so many presentations these days are given virtually (as webinars or even prerecorded slideshows), that means being extra creative about how to get the audience more interactive when the presenter is not really there to interact with them. It can definitely be done, but takes more work than many presenters seem willing to do! Still I think it's important to keep pointing the way to improvement.


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