Deliver With Impact, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking

Ditch The Slides: Deliver Great Presentations Without Powerpoint

man presenting with paper board
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Have you ever sat through a boring presentation? I’m going to guess your answer is “yes”. Invariably, when we ask this question to our program participants, all hands go up.

Think back to those presentations. I’m willing to bet there was a common element: a deck of densely packed PowerPoint slides behind the speaker.

Now, I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see slides like this in a presentation, my attention immediately starts to wane. You would think that visual information, graphics and graphs would enliven and enrich a presentation. But it’s not the software itself that’s the problem – it’s how it’s being used.

So how can we communicate more effectively – without relying heavily on PowerPoint?

In part one of our two-part video series Presenting Without Slides, I talk about why PowerPoint is such a presentation killer, and how to reframe your approach to using slide deck software in a way that is more engaging to your audience.

How to Present Without Powerpoint

01. Only Use Slides if They Add Value to Your Presentation

For tens of thousands of years, humans have demonstrated effective communication without PowerPoint. Global businesses have been built, wars won and lost, worlds ‘discovered’ and centuries of learning compiled and shared without the use of PowerPoint. Projected imagery itself is, of course, a modern invention.

And while there is value in visual aids, we need to start thinking of ourselves as communicators first.

If the PowerPoint deck communicates the message or is used to simply format content ideas, then hand it out for people to read and follow it with a Q&A. Presenting is foremost a spoken, auditory experience with the visuals providing support and value.

Each slide needs to be rigorously and brutally assessed with this question: “How does this slide enrich, deepen or support the message?”

While stepping away from PowerPoint might seem daunting, numerous engaging visual aids can captivate your audience. Consider utilizing:

  1. Whiteboards or Flip Charts: Engage your audience by sketching diagrams, mind maps, or key points as you speak. This interactive approach allows for real-time interaction and visual learning.

  2. Props and Objects: Incorporate relevant props or physical objects related to your topic. For instance, if discussing teamwork, use a puzzle or rope to illustrate your point visually.

  3. Handouts or Infographics: Prepare concise handouts or visually appealing infographics that complement your verbal presentation. These can be distributed before or after your talk to reinforce key information.

02. Be Confident Presenting Without Props

Imagine you walk into the room – no PowerPoint presentation behind you, no notes, no visual aids, no clicker in hand. You simply stand there in front of your audience and speak with zest and authenticity.

If you do this, you convey to your audience the quality of authority. You’re saying, “I am confident enough to stand before you without the props to help me, because I am enough. What I have to share and say is enough value in and of itself.”

When you own the space, you become the powerful communicator.

Ask yourself, “If the projector exploded, or the whiteboard magically melted, could I still deliver the outcome? Would I have enough confidence in myself to articulate and convey my messages in a manner that engages and enriches my audience – and deepens their ability to apply what I have presented?”

Your answer must be “Yes!” It’s that simple. And that challenging.

Don’t believe me? Well, why not try it for yourself?

If you do get stuck try encouraging audience participation to create an immersive experience and take some the pressure off you.

These could include:

  1. Group Activities or Exercises: Break your presentation into segments where the audience collaborates in small group discussions, activities, or problem-solving exercises. This fosters active engagement and reinforces learning.

  2. Q&A and Discussion: Allocate time for open discussions, allowing attendees to ask questions or share opinions. This promotes dialogue and deeper understanding while keeping the presentation dynamic.

03. See Yourself as a Visual Aid

The third step to avoiding a dreary presentation is to think of yourself as a visual aid. Yes – you are the reference point! The other stuff you bring into the room is just collateral that either supports or distracts from what you have to say.

Your physiology, gestures and voice can create interest, intrigue, imagery and emphasis.

Your presence on stage is a significant visual aid itself. Consider these tips:

  1. Body Language and Delivery: Use expressive gestures, varying tones, and impactful body language to emphasize key points. Your physical presence and energy level play a crucial role in engaging your audience.

  2. Eye Contact and Connection: Establishing eye contact and connecting with your audience builds rapport and ensures their attention remains focused on your message.

Examples of Successful PowerPoint-Free Presentations

  • TED Talks: Many TED speakers deliver powerful presentations without relying heavily on slides. They use storytelling, props, and personal anecdotes to convey their messages effectively.

  • Live Demonstrations: Tech companies often showcase product features or concepts through live demonstrations instead of slides. These real-time examples create an engaging experience for the audience.


Remember, effective presentations rely on your confidence, communication skills, and ability to connect with your audience. PowerPoint is just one tool among many for communication. By exploring alternative methods, you can create impactful presentations that resonate long after the session ends.

Don’t shy away from experimenting with different presentation styles and tools to find what works best for you and your audience. It’s about delivering a memorable experience that leaves a lasting impression!

If you don’t feel quite up to it yet, don’t worry – we’ve got just the thing to help.

Join us at our next Public Speaking Workshop.Break the shackles of nerves and learn how to build and deliver engaging presentations to amplify your audience experience.

No more hiding behind PowerPoint slides – remember, it’s your message (and how you deliver it) that will make you a star!


The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

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