(In)Decision 2004

Is there ever a time you might want to decide to surprise your audience with some unexpected meaning?

There’s a TV show on Comedy Central that has a regular segment titled “Indecision 2004”, which is a satire on the news and events from the U.S. presidential campaign leading up to the November elections.

“Indecision 2004” is an intriguing title because it’s a clever play on words. Where we normally would think of a “Decision 2004”, adding the prefix “In-” places an interesting spin on the word, adding new meaning with a mere 2 letters of the alphabet.

Let’s give this interesting spin a try, and let you (in)decide whether it could work for you.

decisionOpen up a blank PowerPoint slide, and add a simple text box with the word “decision”. Then place a second box with only the letters “in”, and place it in front. Animate the “in” to Fade in, and then to Fade out again — a sample slide is here.

Here’s how you might decide to use it during a presentation:

Show slide, “decision” fades in: “We’re obviously here today to make a decision about the next steps forward. The choices are clear, and obvious to everyone in the room.”decision1

The “in” fades in, forming the word “indecision” as you talk: “Or is it really clear after all?” (Insert audience chuckles here.) “I know a number of you still have questions you would like to resolve about the situation, so let’s spend some time talking about them. Who wants to go first?” Then, after your dialogue,

The “in” fades out, returning back to the word “decision”: “Does anyone else have any concerns before we move forward? All right, let’s vote on the decision that’s on the table.” decision

When I’ve used this technique in my own presentations, people tell me that it creates a very interesting dynamic among the audience, the media, and me, because the 3 elements are interdependent upon one another, and as a result people listen very carefully to what I say, what they see, and what they say.

Plus, using a clever graphical technique like the example above can lighten up the tone of an otherwise heavy topic, ease tension, and demonstrate that you are capable of facilitating the meeting in a congenial spirit.

Who wouldn’t want to make a decision in an environment like that?

Tip: The next time you present, try out this simple technique. What are some good candidates for a little wordplay? How about (re)alignment, (mis)understanding, (r)evolution? As you mix and match new meanings for your audiences, you just might make the decision that this is an interesting spin you want to keep on using.

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