Do without PowerPoint?! What? Blasphemy! But… PowerPoint has become the kudzu of visual aids, infesting our presentations with overdone graphics and walls of words. It has literally overtaken our talks. Speakers read from them and become totally reliant on them. The result is a boring presentation, stripped of any humanness, with no audience connection or impact. I see it all the time in my clients’ presentations. And as a result, I am always offering feedback about it: “Could you do without the PowerPoint?”
As a trainer and coach, I believe the focus should always be on the speaker. Presentations are an incredible opportunity for exposure. As perhaps the last relational form of communication left in the business world (think email, text messaging, instant messaging, social media), it has the potential to expose your ideas, your knowledge and your character in a personal, face-to-face way. The more you speak, the more people you speak to, and the more people who are exposed to you, then the more likely you are to be recognized, remembered and rewarded. The more likely you are to impress people and move up the ladder of success. That recognition, that memorability, that positive impression does not, I repeat, does not come from your PowerPoint slides!
Part of my work is to offer suggestions on PowerPoint, for everything from how to improve the quality of slides to how to use them most effectively. I believe there are many things you can do to improve your presentation impact. However, this is my first and foremost—and most common—suggestion: Do without!