We live in a world that is inundated with technology. Everything from our phones to our watches are competing for our attention. That is why more often than not presenters come armed with a PowerPoint full of bullet points and moving text, in a last-ditch effort to maintain our attention. But today I would like to propose a new paradigm.
What if every so often, we as presenters decided to go without a PowerPoint? I know, it’s a crazy idea but when done correctly and in the right setting this strategy can be a powerful one to jumpstart any presentation. This is not a strategy that is designed for every presentation in fact I would argue this should be used sparingly but when done in the right setting and the right way, presentations without PowerPoint can be a great weapon to any presenter.
When & How
You have a small audience. PowerPoints are vital to engaging a crowd. They give people something to look at as the presenter delivers their content. However, in a small and intimate setting a PowerPoint can sometimes come across as overwhelming or distracting. As a presenter with a small audience you have the unique opportunity to connect on a human level with your people. You may even have the chance to interact verbally depending on the topic. Use the size of your audience as an opportunity to dialogue and read the room. Capitalize on this rather than get bogged down on what your next slide says.
You don’t have the right technology. One thing I have learned over the last 10 years of presenting in front of people is that you never fully know what you are walking into from a technology stand point. It is important that as a presenter you don’t try to force something that just doesn’t exist. If you go to present and all they have to offer is an old tv cart from high school don’t fight to make your PowerPoint work. Most likely it will fall flat and look unprofessional regardless of it is your fault or not.
Your PowerPoint is just bad. Let’s face it, we are not all professional designers with a brain wired to make a beautiful PowerPoint. In fact, most of us are probably just getting by with the presets and templates pre-loaded into our machines. If you open your PowerPoint and question whether or not it helps or hinders your brand than it is probably best to steer clear of it. Instead lean in to your personality as the selling point. You can tell the story better than any PowerPoint could, so focus on that. That way you will leave your audience feeling inspired because of your personal story rather than your ability to put words on a screen.
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